Friday, May 10, 2013

Forty One Years of Paul: A recap

Because it often takes all day to do one small task with my three small assistants, Pete and I hit off the cake making at 7 o'clock Monday morning. Paul has a standing request for carrot cake and I aim to deliver birthday cake wishes and caviar manicotti dreams. Foosa and I may have perfected the recipe this year by substituting coconut oil for vegetable oil for the perfect storm of flavors. Check it:

Paul's Birthday Carrot Cake
(adapted from here)


2 cups all-purpose flour (we used unbleached)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 cups organic sugar
1 pound organic carrots finely grated


2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
Two 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 325. Grease two 9-inch cake pans with coconut oil.

2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, buttermilk and vanilla. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar at high speed until pale, 5 minutes. Beat in the liquid ingredients. Beat in the dry ingredients just until mointened. Stir in the carrots. Divide the batter between the pans and bake the cakes for 55 minutes to 1 hour, until springy and golden. Let the cakes cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then unmold the cakes and let cool completely.

3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese at high speed until light, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, then the confectioners' sugar; beat at low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

4. Invert on e cake layer onto a plate. Spread with a slightly rounded cup of the frosting. Top with the second cake layer, right side up. Spread the top and sides with the remaining frosting and refrigerate the cake until chilled, about 1 hour. Slice and serve.

Upon completing our cake (in record time,), we dropped Sam at school and slipped over to the mall for a little shopping, which is completely the opposite of "shopping" in the traditional "go to the mall, wander around, have a coffee, touch all fabrics, try things on and purchase things I love," sense of the word. Shopping with Peter and Clementine is like an episode of my old favorite game show Supermarket Sweep. I sub the shopping cart for a stroller, I hit the door of Nordstrom already at a 7:15 pace, I grab the items I have premeditated and/or seen on  previous trip and I'm back at the car in 16 minutes flat. Before anyone has started crying, wanting to go into the toy store or get out of the stroller and walk. BAM. New hoodie for Paul. Happy Birthday.

During naps I had whipped up a little pan of manicotti, salad and an old Cucina Cucina favorite from my serving years, Flat Bread with Roasted Garlic and Cambozola cheese. We sipped wine and even attempted courses, which went over surprisingly well, compared to our sometimes frenzied attempt to get food into our mouths before the crowd goes wild.

In a strange twist of events, Paul didn't even wait his usual hour after dinner for dessert and we dove right into  the singing and carrot cake eating. 

No comments: