Saturday, the 6th, was a special day. It was my mom’s birthday. And it was my aunt Kathy’s birthday as well. To celebrate such wonderful women, I made a monster of a carrot cake and slathered it in cream cheese frosting — which was promptly devoured by my parents, grandfather, brother, sister-in-law, and 3 ravenous nephews.
This cake is dense, moist, and incredibly flavorful. And with the addition of cream cheese frosting? Over. The. Top.
Kathy and her family live in southwest Florida, so we made sure to keep in contact all day via phone calls, many rounds of “Happy Birthday,” and hysterical laughter.
Growing up with a mom who’s an identical twin is a huge blessing — and so much fun. One is the disciplinarian, while the other spoils you with fun trips, afternoons spent singing in the car, long lunches, and even longer talks. And when “the moms” get together, complete and total hilarity ensues — it’s always the best time.
So many of my fondest childhood memories revolve around my mom and aunt Kathy. They always made sure my cousins, brother, and I had extra special holidays, birthdays, and family vacations. They’d plan the best car games, scavenger hunts, theme parties, sleepovers, and food — *sigh* the food. I cite my mom and aunt Kathy as two of my biggest influences in the kitchen.
Some of my earliest memories are being with them in the kitchen — and they taught me so much in regards to cooking and baking.
So, here’s to you moms. Happy birthday! Eat cake and be merry. I love you both more than words can ever say!
Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe adapted from My Recipes
For the cake, you will need:
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
2 c. sugar
3/4 c. canola oil
3/4 c. apple cider
2 t. vanilla
2 c. grated carrots
One 11 oz. bag of flaked, sweetened coconut
1 c. pecan chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9″ round cake pans and set aside.
2. Line baking sheet with foil and place pecan chips on foil in an even layer. Bake for about 6 minutes. Once you start to smell them, they are done. Remove baking sheet from oven and let pecan chips cool.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
4. In a large bowl (or the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment), beat eggs, sugar, oil, apple cider, and vanilla.
5. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined. Using a spatula, fold ingredients together until no flour bits remain.
6. Fold in carrots, coconut, and 3/4 c. of pecan chips.
7. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Let cakes cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting, you will need:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
4 c. powdered sugar
2 t. vanilla
1. In the bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese together until pale and fluffy.
2. Scrape down bowl with a spatula and add in powdered sugar, one cup at a time.
3. Add in vanilla.
4. Flip one 9″ carrot cake onto a cake plate or serving platter, top side down. Frost completely with half of cream cheese frosting. Flip other cake on top of other, top side up. Use remaining frosting to evenly cover cake.
5. Decorate top of cake with remaining 1/4 c. pecan chips.