Carrot Cake and Easter Weekend

This is my Mom’s famous carrot cake recipe.  It is always a hit with the family.  Carrot cake is a fair bit of work, but totally worth it.  The cream cheese icing is creamy and sweet and the cake is moist and delicious.

For the decorations I added a Lindt bunny and chocolate eggs for Easter.  I brought this cake to Peterborough with me for Easter dinner on Sunday night with Jonathan’s parents. We had ham, potatoes, glazed carrots, chicken and spinach curry and pork curry. Easter dinner was fantastic, and somehow everyone saved a bit of room for cake. I couldn’t have asked for a better Easter – and Jonathan’s parents tell me that they are very happy to have a baker in the family!

I made two cakes for the Easter weekend – one for Saturday night and one for Sunday night.  My Grandma wanted to keep things simple, so the angel food cake was from a mix.  I had fun making a brown sugar and whipping cream icing for the cake.  In addition my Grandma gave me some beautiful pastel coloured jellybeans for decoration.  With the cake were fresh strawberries and my Dad somehow found ice cream to go with the cake from Gran’s freezer.  My Grandma always has holiday meals planned out well in advance, and everyone in the family helped out with something.  Gran truly makes the best roast beef in the world, and it was even tastier surrounded by family.

At many family events where there are desserts, someone always buys gingerbread men and seasonally themed gingerbreads from Hurst Bakery in Aurora.  These gingerbread cookies are my absolute favourite  They are hard to describe, but they are certainly from the best bakery in Aurora.  If Jonathan and I move to Toronto someday we will always come back to Aurora to visit my parents – and to pick up some of these cookies.

Now, my new and ongoing foodie goal is to perfect a fruitcake.  It is the British tradition for weddings to serve fruitcake as the wedding cake.  For my wedding next year, I am going to start experimenting now on making the perfect fruitcake.  My Mom made her wedding cake, so I hope to carry on that tradition.  There may also be some assorted cupcakes.  Carrot cake cupcakes – sounds like an amazing idea to me!

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 cups sugar

1 tbsp baking soda

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1 ¼ cup pureed carrot

¾ cup crushed pineapple

1 ½ cup canola or corn oil

1 tbsp vanilla extract

4 eggs

Lindt Bunnies and chocolate eggs for decoration

Cream cheese icing

1 cup cream cheese, at room temperature

6 tbsp butter, at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Peel fresh carrots and slice into small pieces (about three regular sized carrots).  Boil carrots until they are tender.  Place carrots in food processor and puree finely.
  4. Strain excess juice from crushed pineapple.  Remove a bit of the juices from the crushed pineapple.
  5. Whisk together the eggs.
  6. Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir thoroughly.
  7. Place batter in two 9-inch circular cake pans.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry from the center of the cake.
  9. Let cool for ten minutes in the pan.  Remove from pan and allow cooling for three hours on a wire cooling rack.
  10. Mix butter and cream cheese and vanilla extract.  Slowly add in icing sugar one cup at a time.
  11. Ice your layer cake and decorate as desired.  Serves 8-10 slices.
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Maunder’s Food Shop

Maunder’s is one of the best places for a foodie in Aurora.  They recently moved to a new location on Wellington just west of  Yonge Street.  In this new location there is more space, more new products, the same old favourites and same great quality meats.  There is also a new café with baked treats, coffee, tea and espresso.  Jonathan, I’m sure, will be excited to try it out – finally, an alternative to Starbucks!

On this Saturday afternoon in Aurora, it was bustling with people, buying things for dinners, entertaining and much more.  They were also taking orders for Easter as people start to plan out their menus for next weekend.  I’m so happy to see Maunder’s expanding into a new location that will continue to provide top quality gourmet foods.  I will still have a place to buy wonderful steaks for Jonathan on his birthday and other cooking projects that demand fresh, high quality ingredients.

Today we ordered a stuffed chicken with feta and spinach from the butcher, which is one of our family’s favourites.  In addition we tried out a new antipasto and it was delicious on toasted naan.  The antipasto has a little bit of heat to it, but just the right amount.  A welcome change from the mild antipasto our family usually purchases, Wicked Gourmet’s Vegetarian Antipasto is sure become a favourite in our household.