Archive for the Recipes Category

Mike’s Infinitely Fantastic Carrot Cake

Posted in Autobiographical, Cooking, Recipes on August 25, 2009 by smpiv

mimi mike and scott fixI love to cook. I am my families cook. I am a good cook–not fantastic, but quite good.

For the most part I learned cooking at my mother and grandmother’s side. In fact for a time I did a number of things in the kitchen left handed. My grandmother, Mimi, really instilled in me a love of cooking and the production–particularly breakfast.

I can still hear the coffee percolating every summer morning at 117A on Edgehill. The smell of coffee jets me back to that crooked kitchen that overlooked the poop deck my Uncle Joe had built years before. The fan smacking at the still air, the Franklin stove now cold from the evening before, the crickets long asleep. The crack of bacon wafts toward the fan; the eggs sit idly by waiting for the bacon to crisp so they can be cooked sunny side up. Their eyes closed by the hot grease.

117a kitchen fixedThe old toaster works diligently toasting English muffins and white bread. The English muffins will hold jam (rarely jelly) while the toast will be hollowed out for “Egg-on-a-Raft”. On special occasions we will have puffs. A simple delicacy made of dough that puffs in hot oil to form a pocket that is then loaded with butter and jam.

Other than cereal, our breakfast menu didn’t vary much–maybe sausage instead of bacon if we were feeling particularly flush that week; Quisp instead of Quake, simple things.

However it played out I am left with a coffee seared memory that makes cooking a pleasurable experience and one I enjoy sharing with others. And to that end I am sharing with you my recipe for Carrot Cake–nothing secret about it and, I know, not breakfast.

It’s a recipe that combines several other recipes and one that sees to an oversight in all of them–a lack of raisins. You of course don’t have to put raisins in, but as I note in the recipe, if you don’t you might as well make spice cake. And, for God’s sake, don’t draw carrots in the icing.

9 Medium carrots hand grated

2 cups all-purpose flour (King Arthurs is the best)

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (be liberal here)

4 eggs, well beaten

1-1/4 cups vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 box of raisins

Cream Cheese Frosting (too follow)

My belief (true or not) is that the carrots have to be hand grated and unpeeled. Once that is done, combine the carrots and the next six ingredients. Stir in the next three ingredients–eggs, oil , and vanilla (I usually go strong on the vanilla). Add the half box of raisins last (no raisins and you might as well make spice cake).

Pour the batter into two 9″ greased and floured round cakepans. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Begin checking at 35 minutes with a toothpick–when it comes out clean the cake is done. Cool in pans for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove cake and put on rack and cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 sticks of butter

2 containers of cream cheese

1-1/2 pounds of confectioners’ sugar

liberal dose of vanilla extract

Stir butter and cream cheese together. Add about half the sugar and mix. Add some vanilla and stir together and then add final bit of sugar and a bit more vanilla.

This thing weighs a ton and will make the most hardened anti-cake person weak at the knees. It’s a two helping cake, so slice ’em thin to start.

Two numbers to remember:

    911 (the icing alone will stop your heart)