My dear friend, Pat, was a spectacular baker of cakes. She was “almost famous” around our neck of the woods. She made scores of wedding and shower cakes, many were made for people she didn’t know, but were friends of friends of friends who had heard about her… And she never charged for her cakes! She did enjoy it when she got invited to the occasion. Pat loved a good party. For me, it felt like a party anytime I was around her. She just oozed joy and generosity. We lost our dear friend two years ago, but she left her cake legacy behind…and some pretty darn fabulous recipes too.
Pat readily shared her recipes (carrot cake listed below.) Recently I prepared it with a creamed cheese frosting as a two-layer cake for my best friend’s birthday. And then as petite cupcakes for a graduation party. They were both hits of the party. The cake is fruity, moist, and crunchy – with texture coming from the grated carrots, coconut, and chopped nuts and sweetness from the pineapple. And it’s easy as pie to make. No mixer needed…just dump everything into a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon. I hear Pat’s voice every time I bake any cake, “don’t over bake the cake!” she always cautioned.
Pat’s Carrot Cake Recipe:
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups sugar
¾ cup vegetable oil
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
¾ cup buttermilk
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
3 ½ ounce bag shredded coconut, either sweetened or unsweetened, your choice.
Grease two 8” cake pans. Place wax paper on the bottom, cut it to fit the pan, and grease it too.
Dump all of the ingredients into a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to incorporate the ingredients.
Pour batter into the two cake pans or greased cupcake papers, ensuring that they’re even.
Bake for 40 minutes. Do not over bake. Once cake starts to pull from the side of the pan and when a toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done. Remove and place on a baking rack to cool. After a couple of minutes, remove cake from the pan. As a cupcake, bake 18 to 20 minutes. As a petite cupcake, bake 11 minutes.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature, Philadelphia brand preferred
¼ pound butter (1 stick), room temperature
10 ounces confectioners powdered sugar
Mix together and chill until ready to use on the cooled cake. For best results, use a hand mixer.
We’ve reduced the sugar in this recipe versus other recipes as we prefer the cheese taste to stand out.
This cake is so good with hot or iced tea, particularly a Ceylon black tea or a Chai tea.