Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Toddler Bakes Carrot Cake

Last week Delphinium (Baby's nickname) and I were feeling cooped up in the house, so we decided to make a cake.  I remember very clearly making cakes with my mom for my dad and brother.  She was the most patient teacher, and they were the best ever tasters, so baking became something I really enjoyed.  I hope my girl will feel the same, so we got out the big bowl and set to work.  While she's not yet able to do everything (breaking eggs is hard!) many things she can accomplish.  She scooped, dumped and mixed like the perfect baker, and I did the fiddly bits like measuring and grating carrots.

It's really something to see a little kid really focus on something.  I don't know if baking will always have this power, or if the novelty is the trick, but she was able stay really interested for the whole batter-making process.  Of course there were several rounds of "leave the batter in the bowl" and "carrot peelings do not go in people's hair" but we got there eventually.  Not eating all the raisins on the spot was also hard, but eventually we had a pan of batter in the oven.  The cake turned out light and flavorful, and it was even better the next day.  Daddy was, of course, the best kind of taste tester.  The recipe is as follows:

1/2 cup + two TBS flour
1/2 sugar
3/4 TSP baking soda
1/2 TSP baking powder
1 heaping TSP pie spice (or your favorite mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc)
1/4 TSP salt
Blend dry ingredients then add:
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1-2 eggs depending on size
3/4 grated carrot
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins (optional but tasty)
1/4 crushed pineapple (adds such flavor)

Pour into a 9X9 or 8X8 pan and bake for 20-30 minutes until knife in the middle comes out clean.  After cooling, add cream cheese icing if desired, cut into squares, and enjoy.  Cake is even better the next day.

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