My mother instilled in me the belief that food, especially dessert, can cure anything. Over the years I have developed a true love of baking and cake decorating. My sister would always challenge my decorating abilities by requesting different cakes for nieces' birthday parties. Adults would request certain flavors that would force me to play around with various recipes until I found the right consistency or taste.
My online triplet group has Photo Friday with a different theme each week. Last week it was to make a collage of your favorite hobby or something that expresses you as an individual (besides being a mother). I made a montage of some of my favorite cakes:
I guess people took pity on me while being pregnant and a new mom of triplets because nobody seems to want me to bake anything these days! After inviting myself (and 4 children) over to my oldest sister's house for dinner, I told her I would make a dessert of their choice. My brother-in-law's request was carrot cake.
I never haphazardly pick a recipe. I spend a good hour scrutinizing different recipes online and reading each review. I finally decided on this Paula Deen recipe and made a few modifications. I used the classic cream cheese icing that I always make (8 oz cream cheese, 8 oz butter/shortening, vanilla, and enough powdered sugar 'til it looks right).
To start, let me tell you what a pain in the ass it is to grate a whole bag of carrots. The carrots are so thin and wet they just slide around. It's a miracle I didn't cut myself. Here are the numerous nubs that remained:
I had planned to bake the cake the night before, once all the kids were in bed. My own desire to sleep won over. This led to a baking experience the following morning that took twice as long and was full of constant distractions. Jackson had to go to time out twice; once for continuously opening and swinging on the oven door while it was preheating and once for repeatedly trying to cut the ends of the carrots off with a sharp knife. Amelia supervised on the counter. Maddie was either held or in the Ergo. And I rocked James in a bouncer with my foot.
Despite the many interruptions, the cake was delicious! Confession time: the recipe makes a 3-layer cake. Jackson and I ate so much of the batter I only made a 2-layer cake.
My brother-in-law was genuinely impressed and gave the cake rave reviews. (How can you ever go wrong with Paula Deen?) Jesse ate a slice with his morning coffee and exclaimed "This is your best cake yet!" After the positive feedback, I decided to make it again the next day. I needed something to bring to a playdate this afernoon, dessert for the in-laws who were coming over for dinner tonight, and the church potluck on Sunday afternoon. Because of the numerous functions, I decided to make cupcakes. I'm a firm believer that taking the extra two minutes to swirl icing on with a fancy tip makes it taste better than smearing it with a spatula.
And just for fun, I decided to use my cupcake tip (Wilton #230) to fill the middle with cream cheese icing as well, They were well-received once again. YUM!