I. Wanted. To cry. Or, at the very least, throw the blasted thing in the lake. Wait. No, couldn’t do that. Might hit a duck. Although I should have considered the possibility of failure when taking risks (isn’t that what our whole economic system is based on? Taking risks? For without risks, there is no growth! There is no change! There is no delicious carrot cake!), I was still (and apparently misguidedly) reasonably certain that the cake would turn out well. I mean who would publish a bad recipe in a newspaper? A depraved and cruel-minded hooligan, that’s who. Someone who delights in the anguish and damaged taste buds of the innocent. Yeah. It was that awful. Like soot and poo.
It lacked salt (the 1/4 teaspoon for an entire 9×13′ pan really should have been a tip-off. I trust too willingly), it was dry and gummy at the same time (how does that happen?!), and the syrup reached only about 3 millimeters into the cake. The icing was fantastic. But that was because it was my recipe. Ugh. And the family ate it up. Now, I love my family but I don’t know what scares me the most: that they actually liked it, or that they were too polite to tell me the terrible truth.
I’m the kind of person that must rectify things immediately. It kept me up at night. It prevented me from focusing on things during the day. I need to see a therapist. Regardless of potential psychological help, I went the very next day to buy more ingredients. My goal? J. Alexander’s carrot cake. After looking at recipes, I noticed that the more carrots, oil and sugar, the more like pudding (English-style) the “cake” will be. Tentatively, I crafted a recipe.
SUCCESS!! And, REDEMPTION! The pastry gods rewarded my doggedness (hmm, those goat sacrifices must be working…). The cake was more carrot than “cake”, it was syrupy-sweet but balanced with the actual addition of salt. It melted in the mouth while maintaining a pleasant chew from the pineapple, coconut and raisins. And the frosting. Oh. The frosting. Its tangy, creamy adjective-that-means-awesome-but-way-better-ness provided the perfect balance that caused hedonistic revelry in the mouth.
1 3/4 cups Flour
1 3/4 cups Brown sugar
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 teaspoon SALT…salt!! Saaaaalt. *sigh*
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Mace
1/8 teaspoon Cloves
1 cup + 2 tablespoons Oil
2 tablespoons Orange juice
1 teaspoon Vanilla
4 cups Shredded carrot
1/2 cup Chopped walnuts
1/2 cup Coconut
1 cup Diced dried Pineapple
1 cup Golden Raisins (rehydrated in rum, if you please)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray, butter, oil, or otherwise lube up a 9″ x 13″ casserole pan.
2. Combine all dry ingredients in a big, ole’ bowl (well it need not be “ole”…just big) and whisk to break up the lumps.
3. Combine the eggs, oil, vanilla and orange juice in another bowl or measuring cup and whisk to combine.
4. Add the walnuts, raisins, coconut and pineapple to the dry and toss to coat.
5. Add the wet ingredients and shredded carrot to the dry and fold to combine.
6. Transfer that carroty, sticky, sweet, cinnamony glob of goodiosity to the casserole pan, smooth the top and heave it in the oven to bake for 45-50 minutes, or more importantly, until it’s done (oven temperatures, altitude and a host of other factors contribute to baking times, so always best to check it when it begins to fill your house with the scent of the gods, and poke it–does it spring back?–, and finally to tooth-pick-test it).
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Dash of salt
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1. Combine everything in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring often.
2. Turn heat down to medium and continue to boil-ish for 5 minutes.
3. Pour over the cake immediately.
4. Allow to cool completely and then…
FROSTING!!!!!!!1!!!! (the 1 was intentional. Memebase, people. Memebase.)
2 8-ounce packages Cream Cheese, at room temperature (full fat. Don’t be a pansy.)
1 stick of Butter, at room temperature
1 1/2-2 cups Powdered sugar (I usually add a cup, taste, and then add more as my mouth desires)
2 tablespoons Orange juice, Grand Marnier, or a tablespoon of each
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1. Shlop that goodness on as soon as it’s done.
2. Take the bowl into your room, lock the door, and lick it clean. Mmmmm….froooosting.