My family was in town last weekend and we had a lot of fun. We did the park (x2), shot some pool, and celebrated my dad’s birthday. I was excited to celebrate his birthday for many reasons. First of all, he’s recovering from his 5th surgery in 2 years and had a shoulder replacement in February. He’s doing fabulously. He’s officially bionic and now we just hope he stays well. Being pain-free on his birthday is certainly something to celebrate.
Second, I actually found several good gifts for him. I got him a Himalayan salt lamp, a basil plant that grows from a can (has good reviews – we’ll see!), and a diamond cleaner pen thing-a-ma-bob. I’m a terrible gift giver, but I was excited about all of my finds for him.
Third, we got to spend time together. My mom’s birthday is also in April and always falls right at spring break and we’re almost always traveling. I’m hoping that next year my parents can come with and we can REALLY celebrate her birthday properly.
Lastly, I was itching to make a cake. It had been awhile and though I don’t necessarily enjoy baking…it’s fun on occasion. Plus, Shea is very interested in “helping out” in any way she can in the kitchen. She’s also VERY interested in birthdays – who’s having birthday parties, when her birthday will be, who she wants to invite to her birthday, what birthday treats were brought to school to share, how old everyone is turning, candles…the whole thing. She loves it.
My dad is easy to please and so a quick little visit to Pinterest turned up this recipe. I love carrot cake and I knew Shea would love to grate the carrots…and help her Poppy blow them out. In fact, when it was time to put the candles on the cake, she retrieved the candles from a hiding spot that is still unbeknown to me. She had grabbed them at some point from the kitchen drawer and was sure to put them away where only she could find them. Little stinker!
We sang my dad Happy Birthday this evening as he was heading to Red Lobster for his birthday dinner. If he treated himself to dessert, I highly doubt it was as amazing as this cake. SO GOOD!
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ cup canola oil
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1¼ cup lightly packed brown sugar
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups grated carrots (4-5 carrots)
- 1 cup (8 oz) crushed pineapple, drained
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup butter, softened to room temperature
- 3 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mist a 9x13-inch dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and other spices; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, applesauce, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in the grated carrots, pineapple, and walnuts.
- Spread batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.
- To make the frosting, combine all frosting ingredients in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Mix for 2-3 minutes on medium-high or until smooth. Spread the frosting on the cooled cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 2-3 days before serving.