My grandmother's motto was "A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand." My mother's motto is slightly different: "Carrot cake is a complete food." I have to agree with my mom, here (although my grandma makes perfect sense...); carrot cake has everything you could possibly need, especially the way we make it. We subscribe to the "more is better" attitude when it comes to carrot cake. First of all, it should have so many carrots in it that it hardly holds together. Then, it's not proper carrot cake without raisins and nuts, and possibly coconut and pineapple as well. Slather it with a thick layer of cream cheese icing. And now you can eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner: protein, fruit, veggies, grains...
My mom hadn't had a proper carrot cake in awhile, and I've been meaning to find a good recipe. My friend Isabelle pointed me in the direction of King Arthur Flour's recipes (I actually have one of their cookbooks, and I've been ordering stuff from them for years, but never noticed the "guaranteed recipes" that they have on their web site.) Well, her birthday was last week, and we had just the opportunity we needed!
We started with this lovely recipe. Of course, we had to fiddle with it a bit (I had to get that habit from somewhere...). In this case, we used drained canned pineapple instead of dried, 1/2 a cup of golden raisins that had been soaking in rum (I believe my mom put the raisins to soak as we were assembling, and then drained them and added them to the carrot mixture, but I have to defer to her on this one - mom?), and a handful of crystallized ginger, chopped, also added to the carrot mixture.
Oh, yum! This cake is beautiful. And yummy. I could seriously live on this cake alone. And so could my mom. After all, it has everything you need! Picky, of course, liked the frosting the best, and could have done without the nuts. She still ate it, I noticed (although she kept asking for more frosting, but who could blame her?).
I always loved to cook - until I had to do it every day, and for a child who doesn't always appreciate my efforts. I'm trying to find simple and healthy recipes that I can make and share with my family, and to keep my love of cooking and my sanity in the process!