Easter

Spring Dessert

Looking for the perfect dessert this Easter? This carrot cake is perfect and differs from most in that it’s light, fluffy and kid-friendly—from the making to the eating! Not only can they help by harvesting and shredding the carrots, they’ll love to decorate this spring treat (bunnies, anyone?).

bunny cake

While this recipe calls for cream cheese frosting, a bit tangy for some youngsters, it would also be great with a creamy white/vanilla frosting, too.

Fluffiest Carrot Cake

2 cups self-rising flour

2 tsp cinnamon

1 ½ cups vegetable oil

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

3 cups freshly grated carrots

½ cup raisins (optional)

½ cup walnuts, finely chopped (optional)

pre-made fondant for decorations

Preheat oven to 350°F. 

Grease or butter 9 x 13 or 2 8-inch round pans. In a large bowl, combine oil, eggs and sugar and beat well. In a separate bowl, combine flour and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients to wet and blend well until creamy smooth. Fold in grated carrots, followed by any optional items of your liking!

Pour batter into pan and bake for about 35-45 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Serve with cream cheese frosting (even plain, this cake is so good).

Approximately 1 large or 2 8-inch cakes.

light and fluffy slice

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese, refrigerated

2 TBSP unsalted butter, softened (at room temperature)

1 ½ – 2 cups powdered sugar (depending on how thick you like your frosting!)

1 tsp vanilla extract

dash of grated orange zest (optional)

Combine cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract and blend until smooth. Add sugar gradually, 1/2 cup at a time, beating until blended. Stop when you have reached your desired consistency. For stiffer frosting, use more sugar. For creamy frosting, use less. Stir in optional flavorings at end. Spread (or drizzle) frosting over cake and enjoy!

You can purchase packages of pre-made fondant at most major craft stores (Joann’s Fabrics, Michael’s…) and forming your figures is easy. We used a tube of green cake decorating color for the greens on our carrots—for a more feathery effect. Don’t forget the pre-made flowers and sprinkles—talk about EASY! You’ll have a stylin’ cake in no time!

Pullin’ Carrots…

So my son and I weeded the carrot and beet section this weekend and next thing I know, we’re harvesting.  “Hey, Mom!  Look at the size of this carrot!”

I turned from the row of squash and sure enough, there was huge carrot in his hand.  “Wow.  I guess the carrots are ready…”  At this point I could have reminded him that he was supposed to be weeding and not harvesting, but as any experienced gardener knows, there’s no greater excitement than harvest time—with the exception perhaps of the fresh burst of sprouts—especially when it comes to kids.  When it comes to the garden, these little ones are all about action.

But before I could utter another word, he’d already pulled out a second.  “Look at this one!”

It was a beauty, I had to admit, albeit a malformed one—shoots poking out every which way.  The next one he pulled took the cake (carrot cake). Rather than one interesting shape, it was more an interesting intertwine, like two carrots growing simultaneously out of one.  Guess a gal could look at this as a nice pair of legs! 🙂

Silly wabbit.  Tricks are for Mother Nature!  Not only will she swirl carrots together like this but I’ve seen her do much the same with tomatoes and onions!  Crazy old broad…

But stay on her good side—if you know what’s good for you—because she can make a gardener’s life downright miserable if she so chooses.  Which is why I try to obey her rules at all times.  Take companion planting, for example:  my beets and carrots are planted together because they work in harmony with one another AND the glory of nature. 

And don’t you think my son left any beets in the ground, either.  Oh no, they came out right along with their carrot friends—filled a whole wagon full!  Now I know what to do with carrots.  What I’m not making into the fluffiest carrot cake you’ll ever want to taste, I layer them in damp sand for long-term storage.  But beets? I usually save those for my Dad.

Would have cooked them up for Easter supper too, had I an ounce of energy to do so.  But lagging behind after spring break with the kids and playing catch-up on work and laundry, “no could do.”  They’ll simply have to sit in the refrigerator a few days more until I can come up with some edible concoction to serve the family. Any ideas?

I’m all ears!

Fluffiest Carrot Cake Ever!

My kids enjoy fresh carrots from the garden, but carrot cake? 

They like this one!  Sweet and delicious, it’s the perfect finish to any spring meal.  Unlike most dark and dense carrot cakes, this recipe whips up a light and fluffy yet oh-so-flavorful-batter earning the approval of even the fussiest of kids. 

With a basket of fresh carrots in hand a sweet tooth aching for satisfaction, we scoured through recipes in search of the perfect carrot cake.  Most are too heavy and rich for our liking, so we devised this version that showcases our garden produce AND pleases our discriminating palates.  It’s also a dessert where we can all pitch in to help; a good thing. 

First, my daughter harvested a basket of fresh carrots.  My son then peeled and grated them. 

While he was busy at work, I asked my daughter if she would make some carrots as decorations for our cake, to which she replied a resounding yes!  Then quickly got down to the business of decorating–with fondant, of course.  She’s a budding cake artist and decided our carrot cake needed some bunnies, too. 

Have at it, girl–let’s make it a party!

Pouring her creative juices into the assignment, she rolled and formed, squished and scrapped  until everything was precisely the way she wanted (I had no idea artists were such perfectionists). 

After due diligence, she settled carrots and greens and her sweet little fella (I use the term “little” lightly, mind you) square in the center of the cake, among an egg-littered meadow. 

Cute, isn’t he? 

Upon seeing the creation, my husband remarked, “What’s he doing?”

“What do you think he’s doing? He’s sitting.”

He raised a brow.  “I’ve never seen a bunny situated quite like that before.  Looks like he’s about to take the car for a drive.”

I shook my head.  Hmph.  (You can see who isn’t the creative one in the family.)  “Well I think he’s adorable.”  And proceeded to take pictures to share.

Afterward, we used the carrot tops for a bit of floral decoration.  We’re thrifty.  Why not use every part of our produce? And when they pass their peak, we’ll continue to utilize them–on the compost pile.

Baking is fun, getting creative is fun…tying them all together with a bounty of garden harvest makes them even more fun. 

And delicious.  Care for some carrot cake?  Check my recipe section and make some today.  You’ll be glad you did!