Before we get into the easiest most delicious carrot cake you’ll ever make, let’s talk turkey (yup I said that). Thanksgiving and turkey are practically synonymous, but I wonder how many of us really look forward to the turkey itself. It’s true that the sight and scent of a roasted turkey is truly impressive, and once it’s been in the oven for about 30 minutes the whole kitchen begins to fill with that familiar, savory and comforting smell. But is it really the turkey that you’re craving? After all, our olfactory sense controls so much of our memory and emotion. How could we not be attached to the idea of a Thanksgiving turkey? No disrespect to the bird, but I think the turkey is really just the canvas for the multitude of colorful dishes both sweet and savory that surround it.
For me it’s everything but the turkey that I look forward to. Growing up mom served one every year and then never made it again until the following Thanksgiving. No one ever seemed to miss it. It was never requested for a birthday meal. It never made it onto any other holiday menu. I hate to say it, but the turkey was really only ever a token dish. I know. We have lots of quirks in my family. If you read our last post, Thanksgiving Sides That Might Make You Forget the Bird then you’ve already heard all of my Thanksgiving day confessions. We’re slowly improving these peculiarities, as the menu for this American holiday has evolved over many years, a few marriages and my mom’s introduction to the Food Network. Up until then, this meal was all homemade ravioli and little tiny meatballs for the Italian Wedding Soup with a turkey side dish. Before I admit to any other holiday transgressions let me tell you about my mom’s carrot cake.
Like most non-Italian recipes handed down from my mom, it was a bit skewed. I was probably in college before I learned about cream cheese frosting because as you might have guessed it, my mom doesn’t like cream cheese. The most we got on this cake was a dusting of powdered sugar to make it look fancy. When I told my mom of my discovery and suggested trying out the frosting, she waved me away and turned her nose up at the mere mention of this addition to her obviously already perfect cake. End scene. Enter Mike and his casual, passing comment about his love for cream cheese frosting, and suddenly my mom has just the recipe! The next carrot cake she made was covered in thick, creamy swirls of sugary frosting unlike anything she had ever made before. No, of course I’m not jealous. Why would you think that? Actually I have to admit that her cake is so good it doesn’t need a thing, not even frosting.
It's hard to say what the best thing is about this recipe. Is it how easy it is to make? Or how it comes out perfectly every time? Or is it how well it pairs with the other spicy staples on your dessert table? Everyone knows that pumpkin pie and apple pie feature prominently on most dining room tables at this time of year. I'll take a slice of each, thank you, but if you're looking for something other than pie, that still fills the sugar and spice requirement, you must try this cake.
You probably already have everything you need to make it right in your pantry. The most you might have to pick up is a pound of carrots. You don't even have to remember to take butter out of the fridge because this cake calls for oil instead. I will say that the only real effort required is grating the carrots, but if you have a food processor, and I think you do, then even that step will be quick and easy. Check out the recipe here and please let us know if you try it.
Now you have everything you need for your Thanksgiving meal...everything but the turkey! You can find that here too because we don't want you worrying about such details during our favorite holiday! And if you missed our last post that was overflowing with side dishes, stop and take a look here. If you hurry, you can even sign up for the unpublished side dish recipes! Now is the time to turn on some cooking music (we usually go with Sinatra or Big Band) and revel in the ingredients and recipes at your disposal. It's time to cook! Make it fun. Make it an adventure. Don't worry if something goes wrong. If you're tempted to get stressed over such things, stop and take a step back because now is also the time for gratitude. This year, we're thankful for so many things, the stuff you'd expect like good health, family and friends, but also our tiny kitchen and countless grocery bags full of food that we get to cook up every day. We're grateful for this crazy city we get to live in and all the opportunities it brings our way. If you're reading this post and have the means to cook even a small version of Thanksgiving dinner, you're fortunate. Although it's tempting to want every aspect of the meal and the table to be perfect, we recommend focusing that energy and attention on your guests, your family and friends and of course the friends who have become your family. Now is the time for food and gratitude.
Thank you for being part of our BBTK community. We're so glad you continue to indulge us in our love of stories and recipes. Thank you for reading! We're especially grateful for you!