Ah, so good to be back! We are just returning from a refreshing little getaway to the smoky mountains in Coker Creek, TN. Living in the flattest place on earth, it takes my breath away to go somewhere like Tennessee with mountains and fabulous scenic places like Bald River falls and the Cherohala Skyway. We love the tiny town of Tellico Plains, home to the rental office of the cabins we like to stay in. We discovered this adorable place in October of 2010 and decided to come back with Eric’s family this summer. There’s not a lot to do in the way of shopping or restaurants, in fact I think we have eaten at every major restaurant in the area, but for us, it’s perfect.
Not a lot of families could all go away and stay in a cabin together and still say they enjoyed themselves, we are very lucky people. It was a rare opportunity for our family, Eric’s sister and her husband live in South Carolina and his youngest sister is moving to California in just over a month. This summer might be the last real opportunity the eight of us (Anna included in that figure) have to be together on vacation. It was the perfect way to create some memorable times before we are spread all across the country. Still, as awesome as any vacation can be, there’s nothing like coming home and sleeping in your own bed! The first thing I did when we walked in the door was get to work on some carrot cake cupcakes.
What kind of crazy person starts baking immediately after a nine hour drive with a one year old, you ask? Not me, usually. But my co-worker’s birthday was the next day and birthdays are a big deal to me. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because with all the busy-ness throughout the year, birthdays are the most universal excuse to pamper someone a little and let them know you care. Especially at work. Birthdays are a chance to say “by the way, you’re important and I like you a lot” without it seeming weird or out of place. Everyone expects a little recognition on their birthday and in our department, this is how we celebrate. So I set to work on what I knew was her favorite cake flavor. Carrot.
I know a lot of people who use baby food in their flavored cake recipes. Banana, carrot, etc. Baby food makes the cake super moist and is extremely convenient, especially if you are needing ripe bananas and of course the stores only display their fresh bananas. I do the same thing if I’m in a pinch, the only difference being that I make my own baby food. Anna is way past baby food these days but I have a lot of frozen baby food from months ago. Making your own baby food is super easy and really cheap so it was a good option for our family. The same concept applies here, instead of using freshly grated carrots, I steamed frozen carrots and pureed them in my food processor. It turns the batter a nice orange color and adds more moisture to the cake. Some people really like the little chunks of carrot though so if you require that texture in your cake to believe you are really eating carrot cake, by all means, shred some carrots. It turns out delicious either way. Enjoy!
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups oil
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 cups carrots (shredded, pureed, or baby food which is about 4 stage 3 jars)
- 1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)