Mom’s Marvelous Carrot Cake 

I love my mom’s carrot cake.  It literally is the best carrot cake I have ever tasted.

I am very picky when it comes to carrot cake.  I remember the first time I ever tried carrot cake: I was probably six or seven and my aunt brought out a cake after supper.  I was so excited that we were going to eat cake- then I took a bite and was immediately disappointed.  It was dry and had stringy carrots and my mom made me be polite and eat it all anyway.  I tried carrot cake other times as I got older, but never liked any until finally, Mom convinced me to try hers.  I still haven’t found one that compares.

I made sure to copy my mom’s recipe so I could share it with you.

Ingredients 

Cake:

  • 2 c flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c oil
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp.baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 c grated carrots (I prefer finely chopped in the food processor, rather than grated)
  • 1 c or 1 medium can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 c golden raisins
  • Optional: 1/2 c finely chopped walnuts 

Icing:

  • 1/2 c softened butter
  • 2 8 oz blocks of softened cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbsp cream
  • 3 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 1 c walnuts, chopped and lightly toasted

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.
  • In a large mixing bowl mix the sugar, eggs, and oil.
  • In a separate bowl mix together the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add dry ingredients into the large bowl containing the wet ingredients. Mix well.
  • Add the carrots, pineapple, and raisins. Mix well.
  • Divide the batter into the pans.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into the center of each pan comes out clean.
  • Allow the cakes to cool and gently remove them from the pans. Cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
  • With a mixer mix together all the ingredients except the cream and powdered sugar.
  • Slowly add the powdered sugar (This is where I usually make a huge mess)
  • Add the cream, a little at a time until the icing is as soft or firm as you prefer.
  • Place the first cake on a cake plate or in a cake keeper.
  • Frost the cake on all sides and place the other cake on top, then frost it. 
  • Gently press the walnut pieces into the sides of the iced cake.

Store in the refrigerator.  The cake is even better the next day.


The first slice of cake with a side of ice cream. Yum!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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An Early Birthday Dinner: Swiss Steak

Photo: Annie Spray/Unsplash

I don’t know if I have ever mentioned it before, but I have the best parents ever. They always do so much for me and I appreciate them very much. 
Saturday we drove almost an hour to my parents’ house to celebrate my birthday a few days early.   

My photographer husband helped my dad photograph items belonging to my grandparents’ estate in order to begin to sell some of it.  They were busy most of the day.

My mom and I played with Abby and cooked while the men were occupied.

My mom made a special birthday supper of swiss steak with mashed potatoes and cream cheese corn.  I requested this, as this meal has long been a favorite of mine; my grandmother used to make it often when we would come over for a Sunday lunch.  I have many wonderful memories of eating swiss steak off of her octagon shaped pewter plates with my family gathered around the table.  My mom’s swiss steak was just as delicious as I remembered it to be.  In fact, it almost made my father cry because it tasted so much like his mother’s.

For dessert, my mom made her incredible carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  I was very full from supper, but somehow managed to stuff myself further with cake.  

Abby excitedly helped me unwrap my birthday gifts.  I received some wonderfully soft pajama sets and a pretty kitchen utensil cannister designed by Pioneer Woman.

My mother made me take home the leftover cake, so I will be enjoying it for days to come.  I will post my mom’s cake recipe and photos of the cake tomorrow. 

I apologize that I didn’t get any photos of the Swiss steak before it was devoured,  but I thought I would include the recipe for you.  My grandmother would always serve this dish with mashed potatoes and corn.

Grandma Julia’s Swiss Steak

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs round steak or minute steaks 
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped 
  • 2 cups celery, chopped 
  • 2 cups catsup
  • 1 can Campbell’s tomato soup
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Flour
  • Salt and pepper 

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Flour steaks and fry brown on both sides.
  • Put steak into a sauce pan or deep pan that has a lid. Place vegetables on top of steak.
  • Add catsup, soup, brown sugar, salt, and pepper.
  • Put in oven and simmer for about 2 hours.
  • Optional: instead of cooking in the oven you can cook using a slow cooker. If cooking on low setting let simmer for 6 hours. If cooking on high setting let simmer for 4 hours.
  • Enjoy!

A Year of Abby

photo-1440593133771-ea1d9624f1ab
Photo by Kelley Bozarth.  From http://www.unsplash.com

 

Abby turned a year old last week.  It is hard to believe how much has changed in just a year’s time.  The teeny tiny yawning baby laid on my chest at the hospital has changed into a silly, babbling, always moving, into everything toddler.  Our house has gone from a place full of cool stuff to a place where everything breakable is now at adult shoulder height, all corners are covered in round pieces of foam, and every spare spot is full of sippy cups, Sesame Street characters, board books, toys, and miniature furniture that seems to multiply at an exponential rate.  The couple that used to go to concerts and Comic Cons, spend Saturday nights at the movies, or binge watch TV shows has been replaced by two tired parents on auto-drive and fueled by coffee, never able to finish a movie in one sitting (or two), and who have memorized all the words to the Little Einsteins and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood theme songs.

I love every moment spent with Abby.  I love watching her discover her world.  She looks at everything with such wonder.  She is brave and plunges into everything, from the swimming pool to new situations, head first without fear.  She is loving and affectionate, always hugging the older kids at daycare.  Abby smiles and says, “Hi!” with a wave to everyone she sees while sitting in the cart at the grocery store or out riding in her stroller.  Although she has not been walking long, she gets where she wants to go, and if she falls down she gets right back up and continues on without a whimper.   She loves to help me fold laundry, which basically consists of unfolding everything I have already folded five times.  She loves to dance and loves music.  It is so much fun to watch her and my husband dancing around the living room to “All About That Bass” or “Uptown Funk.”

Abby has made me a better person.  Even though I may wake up groggy and grumpy at 5:00 a.m., her ornery little smile and the way she wraps her little arms around my neck and squeezes me tight makes me happy right away.  She has taught me that it is OK to just sit and play; I don’t need to be multitasking all of the time.  I love to point out all kinds of fun, beautiful, or wondrous things to her each day, just to watch her reaction.  She has given me the gift of learning to have more patience.  I try to be healthier by eating better and exercising more so she has a healthy role model to look up to.  I find myself being incredibly silly just to get her to smile.  Each day I feel like I change as much as she does.

It’s been a great year.  I’m so excited for the next.