This is the cake I’ve had almost every year for my birthday. I absolutely love carrot cake – this recipe especially. All of the anxiety and stress of getting another year older dissolves right into this cake and it turns into the sweetest serenity. I guess that’s the beauty of cake. It always finds a way of making us feel hopeful. Cake is often associated with celebrations such as the aforementioned birthday, a promotion, an anniversary, etc. It’s meant to punctuate a milestone and allows us to baste in a concentrated moment of sweetness.
This year feels a bit different. Yes, I am making the carrot cake on my birthday. I honestly believe no matter what, everyone should have cake on their birthday. However, the bitterness of the world is throwing off my sweetness a bit. It’s a really profound moment in all of our lives and sometimes it’s hard to find stable ground. As I sit here trying to explain how I feel, I find it nearly impossible to describe it in a linear way. I am all over the map with my emotions I don’t even know where to start.
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I guess I’ll start with gratitude. After all, my mother always told me to seek the good in everything. I am grateful for another year around the sun – despite the sprinkle of anxiety that naturally comes with getting older (am I saving enough in my 401K?!). I am grateful for my loving husband and dog who both love my unconditionally. I am grateful for my father and the time I had with my mother.
I am grateful for friendship and the kindness that is shared with those relationships. I am grateful for you reading this right now.
I am grateful for all the love and understanding that is coming out of all of the darkness. I am grateful that black voices finally being heard.
For the first time that I can ever remember in my life, the country is acknowledging Juneteenth. I share a birthday with this momentous day in our history. A day that marks the end of slavery in America. All my life, and I’m sure yours as well, we’ve celebrated July 4th as the day America was finally free. But, my ancestors weren’t. They were still enslaved in 1776.
I never remember having off from school or work to observe Juneteenth. Most Americans have not even heard of the holiday. This is a holiday that celebrates the fact that human beings – mothers, fathers, children- were no longer enslaved and were now free. On a Federal or State level, the holiday was never really acknowledged as it always hid behind July 4th. But, this year it’s different. This year if feels like the whole country is celebrating.
And, I’m grateful for that.
As a gift to me, and in turn a gift to yourself, and to the world, if you’re not familiar with the significance of Juneteenth, I do encourage you to learn a bit more about it.
Either way, I’ll be celebrating hope today with this cake.
Make the cake
- 2 cups of flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup of canola oil or any vegetable oil (you can also use coconut! oil!)
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup of dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup of molasses
- 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vailla extract
- 2 cups of shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup of crushed walnuts (optional
- 1/2 cup of raisins (optional)
- orange zest
Make the frosting
- 1 8oz. jar/stick of cream cheese
- 2 cups of confectioners sugar
- 1/2 cup of softened room temperature butter
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- orange zest
Make the cake
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease your cake pans and set aside. If you have parchment paper, line each pan for easy removal.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all your dry ingredients (from the flour to the salt).
- In the bowl of a stand alone mixer (or another large bowl if you don't have a stand alone mixer), mix together the rest of your ingredients for the cake batter (canola oil to the raisins). Mix together so all the ingredients are fully blended.
- Pour your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
- Zest about 1/4 tsp of orange zest into the batter
- Pour mixture between (2) 9-inch cake pans or 3 6-inch cake pans.
- Cook for 30-35 minutes.
- When cakes are done, let them cool for at least 20 minutes. Do not remove until cake is cooled otherwise it may break when transferring it out of the pan.
Make the frosting
- Place your softened cream cheese in the bowl of a stand alone mixer (whisk attachment) and whisk until it softens.
- Add in your butter and continue to whip until combined.
- Keep the mixer on low-medium speed and add the confectioners sugar. Mix until fully incorporated.
- Continue to mix and add the vanilla extract and orange zest.
If you don't have a stand alone mixer, you can use a whisk or a hand mixer.
If you don't have molasses, you can sub with brown sugar instead.
This recipe will fit in 2 9-inch cake pans or 3 6-inch cake pans