Delicately spiced carrot cake, loaded with finely shredded carrots and a tender crumb, enrobed in a fluffy crystallized ginger cream cheese frosting.
Before we moved away from the city to live Up North, we used to host Easter dinner for my extended family. Prior to hosting our first year, my Aunt Jane insisted that I make a carrot cake for dessert. Jane and I were only 7 years apart in age, so our relationship was often one more closely resembling that siblings than an elder aunt/little niece. In fact, we’d often regress to a fun-loving version of a Chet and Wyatt type interaction like in the movie Weird Science.
The carrot cake conversation went a little like this:
Jane: You’re going to bake that really great carrot cake for Easter, right?
Me: Uhhh…I don’t remember ever making a carrot cake before?
Jane: (grabs my shirt collar and pulls my face down to hers) You’re going to bake your really great carrot cake, RIGHT?! (gives me a noogie)
Me: Umm, yeah? Okay. Whatever you say, dude.
Jane could be very persuasive when she wanted to be.
At that time I had a toddler and a baby, so the fact that I may have baked a cake and forgotten all about it was quite plausible. Likely, even. With all the other stuff that needed doing to host this shindig, I wasn’t entirely sold on the idea of making that cake for Jane. I mean, what could she possibly do to me? I figured that if I didn’t make the cake, I’d just be sure to hold the baby all day long, just in case. She couldn’t possible give me a noogie when I was holding the baby, could she?
Of course, as Easter approached, I figured that since I was making dessert, I might as well make a carrot cake for Jane. I swear that it had absolutely nothing to do with the impending threat of more noogies.
Seeing as I’d never made a carrot cake up to that point in my life, I started by adding a pile of shredded carrots to a heavily tweaked family favorite spice cake recipe. Then I added whipping cream to my favorite cream cheese frosting to make it super fluffy and light. On a whim, I tossed a small handful of crystallized ginger into the frosting. I left out the traditional walnuts and/or raisins. I ignored the trendy pineapple or tomato soup additions and did it my way.
The resulting cake was completely Oh Mah GAAAAAAAAA! Awesome.
When I gave a slice to Jane, she took one bite, showed it to me half chewed (à la the See Food game,) and then proclaimed, “Yes! This is it! I told you that you make a really great carrot cake!” To which I replied, “Yep. You’re always right, Jane!” (rolls eyes)
Although that first carrot cake was well over a decade ago, I can’t help but make one every year for Easter. The delicately spiced cake is so tender and full of finely shredded carrots. The fluffy cream cheese frosting with crystallized ginger added to the mix takes this carrot cake from really great, to totally fabulous in one spicy bite.
Carrot Cake with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting is now a tradition in our house.
All because of the stubborn insistence of Aunt Jane. Well, that and maybe a well placed noogie.
My Impression: This could be the last cake that I’d ever made and I would be happy. Love it! Have I mentioned the crystallized ginger in the frosting?
Family Impression: Everybody eats this cake with gusto. Not a single Son so much as mentions the fact that root vegetables are included. Because CAKE.
Carrot Cake with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting