Let's face it, times are tough. Thanks to that adjustable rate mortgage, your dream house just put you into the poor house. You really want to send your kids to college, but that gets further and further away every time you have to fill up your Hummer Consumpto SUV. To top it all off, your nest egg, filled by the golden goose, just got scrambled by some guy at Lehman Brothers.
No, it's not a good time to own anything. This looming hangover from owing "too much" from having bought "too many" reminds me of a recipe story.
Many years ago, I attended business school in the Northeast. What's interesting about this is, while the business school was very good, the overall college had a great reputation for carrot cake.
That's right, carrot cake. People begged for the recipe, alumni would request it for weddings; as great as the academic experience was, everyone remembered the carrot cake.
After graduation I went to work for a large, three-initialed computer company. One of my colleagues graduated from the same business school. As fate would have it, this co-worker's father was the head baker for the college in question.
His father held the keys to the vault. His father not only had the recipe for this carrot cake but also oversaw its production. His father sat, swami-like, at the top of Carrot Cake Mountain.
I pleaded, wheedled, cajoled, coaxed and inveigled. I had to and finally got, the recipe.
Ingredients: 50 lbs of flour....
Nooooo! I held Nirvana in my hands yet had no way to unlock the kitchen door. The recipe called for "pounds of eggs", who ever heard of using eggs by the pound? All I wanted was a recipe for a single, two-layer carrot cake. Curses, foiled again.
I never made the recipe. SeaShellSal and I have spent years trying out other recipes that were similar, but nothing has ever been exactly the same. Maybe someday I'll rent space in an industrial kitchen and give it a whirl. Carrot cake for 2,000.
Until then, here's SSSal's favorite version; CrabCake 2 always requests this as his birthday cake, (as you can see from the pictures). A food processor makes short work of the preparation. The cream cheese frosting is so good it should be against the law. Enjoy.
3/4 lbs (about 6 medium) peeled carrots cut into pieces to fit in the processor
1 piece lemon rind (approx 3" x 3/4 ")
2 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1" pieces
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup walnuts
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp mace
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9" bundt pan or two 8" round cake pans for a layer cake.
Shred carrots in food processor and set aside.
Process lemon peel and sugar in the food processor. Add butter, eggs and vanilla. Process until smooth.
Add walnuts and pulse to chop and distribute.
In a large measuring cup, stir together flour, baking power, baking soda, mace, salt and cinnamon. Add to the food processor, pulsing until the flour has disappeared.
Add carrots 1/3 at a time, pulsing after each addition until fully incorporated.
Pour batter into floured pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Run spatula vertically through batter to release any air bubbles that may have formed.
Bake bundt for 55 - 60 minutes or 45 minutes for the layer cake, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool slightly and then remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick of butter,(4 ozs) at room temperature
8 ozs. cream cheese (the real stuff) at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar - the whole box
1 TBSP grated lemon zest
Using a mixer, combine all the ingredients and process until the frosting forms a creamy consistency. You may have to refrigerate it for 1/2 an hour or so to make sure it is not too soft.
Spread on cake. Refrigerate to set the frosting if you have time. Bring out to room temp for 1/2 an hour before serving.
This recipe can easily be doubled, and why wouldn't you? Spread it on cookies, on bagels, the family pet; this frosting is ridiculously good.
Well that's all for today. Time to replenish the retirement account, I'll be the one with the metal detector walking the beach looking for loose change. Until next time, remember, you can do it, you can cook.