The Best Carrot Cake and Sharing

It was fabulous. The carrot cake, the bread and my day. I don’t think that I even complained.

Mark that on your calendar. She didn’t complain.

Why is it that some days are just better than others? It isn’t like I went to Paris. Ooh-la-la. I didn’t even leave the house except to deliver carrot cake. And nobody sent me a check for a million bucks.

Laugh now, but the wonderful day began, with tea , of course, and quickly moved into a housecleaning segment. I cleaned the kitchen. It was clean but I did the stove and put things away and cleaned the floor and emptied the dishwasher. I vacuumed the house, did all of the laundry,folded it and put it away. Made our bed beautifully. Cleaned our bathroom.

By 9, I was finished with that portion. I was quite pleased with myself.

It was break time to drink another cup of tea, write some friends and work on my post.

Phew. I grabbed my ipad, which is my go-to computer these days, trumping my laptop and desktop. I even mentioned to NIck, that when the big desktop or laptop drop dead, I will by using iPads for most everything. That is big.

I love to look up recipes on Pinterest. It is whimsy for me.

I had a new Southern Living that I had finally looked at. Reading, other than on my computers, is hard for me. But I enjoy looking at pictures in magazines.

On the cover of Souther Living was a a beautiful cake. I thought it was a carrot cake and I decided I wanted to make one. Funny thing. It wasn’t a carrot cake. It was a Hummingbird cake. And after reading the ingredient list, I knew I didn’t have everything I needed and I didn’t want to go to the store.

So, with carrot cake in my craw, I looked on Pinterest and found a recipe that looked good.

I got my new mixer ready, got all of my ingredients out, and realized that I hadn’t read the last ingredient. A can of crushed pineapple. Oh, nutmeg. I didn’t have any.

Having been around the baking and cooking block for a long time, I looked for a substitute. I found a can of peaches.

That will work, I said to myself. Don’t you love it when you say positive things to yourself?

I whipped butter and sugar and eggs and got out my cake flour, which the recipe didn’t call for, but I wanted to try. I sifted my flour and baking soda and baking powder and salt onto parchment paper, just like Anna Olson does.

When it was time for the pineapple, I opened the can of peaches and got the peaches out and put them on a plate, grabbed my potato masher and smooshed them into the consistency of crushed pineapple. Then added them and the peach juice.

I can’t tell you how nice it is to be able to add your ingredients from the top of the mixer, when it is running.

I sprayed my 3 cake pans, placed parchment circles on the bottom and then floured them.

Get this, I actually weight the cake batter so that I had almost the precise amount in each pan.

I always loved the frosting and carrot cake at J Alexander’s. I had never replicated it. Mine was always a bit too much powdered sugar.

When I looked at the recipe for the cream cheese frosting, I thought, woe, good thing I stock cream cheese and butter. It used two sticks of butter and 3 packages of cream cheese.

As the cake baked, I put the frosting together. I used vanilla bean paste, too, which is better than real vanilla. It has some oomph.

When I tasted the frosting, I thought I had gone to the top of the class. It was so rich and cream cheesy, and wonderful.

After the cake was cool, I assembled it. I am awful at piping and need to practice, but I got that thing put together.

I also did a secret thing that I have seen the professionals do to make their cake moist. I made simple syrup and brushed it on top of each layer, as I frosted.

When I cut that first piece, which you know I had to do so that I could see if it was worth giving away, I couldn’t wait to taste it. It was tender and chocked full of good things. And it tasted really, really good.

I couldn’t wait to share it.

I took another little break and then decided to make more bread. And that is what I did. I found a simple recipe for white bread. I wanted to give it a try.

The Swedish BFF and I got a workout. The smells in the house were divine. Winston was home from school and he enjoyed his taste of butter bread crust, although I really wanted to eat it. It was lovely.

I began cutting cake pieces and taking them to a couple of neighbors and then some neighbors stopped by to pick up their pieces. By evening, all pieces of carrot cake were gone, except a small, small sliver that I kept for an emergency sweet attack.

Today, the bread is going to be delivered to neighbors who have said they would enjoy it.

It was fun having people stop by for their goodies.

Cooking and baking and feeding people, with food and hospitality is a a joy. Actually, many things in life are better when shared. Love, experiences, success and failures, heartbreak, stupid things we’ve done … when shared, help us all realize that hey, I am not the only nimbob in the world.

And listening to people tell their stories, is how I learn. It gives me perspective and shows me that I am not alone, not always right and not always wrong. That and a piece of carrot cake or bread with butter, sustain me and make my life richer.

Oh, and yesterday, for the first time in a while, I heard birds singing. And i hear them again right now.

Spring.

It is calling.

Susan

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