A Favorite Childhood Dessert From Guest Photographer, Sibling #9

by Sharon Stirling

Except for January, my monstrous family celebrates a birthday every month. That means a whole lot of birthday cake. Before Vanessa came around, all the older sisters dabbled with the world of careful measurements, timing and temperatures. We had a few successes, but many more failures. I can recall two crowning moments of my own. Once I forgot to add baking powder to a cake—you can imagine the outcome. Another time I added liquid dish soap instead of oil to a recipe. Now before you get all judgy, you should know that our dish soap and vegetable oil came in identical 18-liter aluminum cans. Once the labels identifying the products got wet and peeled off, chances were pretty high that you would at best have to rewash all the dishes, or at worst be serving a diarrhea-inducing dessert.

I could make numerous excuses for my less-than-stellar baking skills, but the truth is I simply sucked. Vanessa however, does not. Methodical, precise and patient—she has all the traits baking demands. In addition to being a fabulous baker, my ridiculously talented 14 year old sister dabbles in photography. Naturally, I was thrilled when she agreed to photograph and pass along the recipe for her popular carrot cake so that I could post it on this blog. Vanessa started making this cake regularly after deciphering the scribble on a tattered old recipe card—which she believes was originally adapted from the Joy of Baking (if anyone recognizes it let me know. I’d love to know its origins).

This moist carrot cake is often the star of our birthday celebrations and a happy reminder of childhood.

Ingredients:
2 cup white flour
2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups grated carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 cup of cream cheese
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

• Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease and flour one 9×13 inch pan or two 9 inch round cake pans.

• In a large bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix until blended.

• Add the oil and the eggs. Mix well. Finally add the carrots. Stir to incorporate throughout. Pour the batter into prepared pan(s).

• Bake at 350° for 25 to 35 minutes. Test the doneness by inserting a toothpick or skewer into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready.

• For the frosting… cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth, add the sugar and vanilla. Beat until fluffy.

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