Thank Heavens for little boys… er, um, young men.
This is the philosophy I have always believed in; feed Mr. Persnickety with carrot cake, zucchini bread and pumpkin pie and I might just get him to eat some vegetables. Well, no such luck. He was on to me right from the start. While his older brother was swallowing any and all vegetables put on his plate, Simon would clamp his mouth closed so tightly that I could get nothing, come hell or high water, green or orange to pass those lips.
And carrot cake? He knew exactly what those orange flecks were, knew that I was trying to pull one over on him. There could be twenty people sucking down huge chunks of the stuff, moaning in pleasure and shouting out praise and flattery, and he still would not even take a taste.
And nothing has changed now that he is a young man.
* sigh * Well, at least he has friends. While Simon will eat plain chocolate cake or coffee cake with chocolate chips, he does have friends with more eclectic, adventurous tastes. Leo goes nuts for the chocolate chip banana bread. Lucas has been sending messages to Simon for three days requesting that I make my Spicy Carrot Cake. Good boys! It warms a mother’s heart!
This Carrot Snack Cake, along with the Chocolate Chip Banana Bread and the Special Favorite Chocolate Cake are my all-time favorites to bake; “the usual” usually means one of these. They are each a snap to throw together, barely 10 minutes to prep, measure, blend and shove into the oven, and as each one is made with vegetable oil, no rock-hard butter to wait around softening for. Each is made with my pantry staples, bananas and carrots almost always being on hand as well, although they are never very far off, being available and fairly cheap all year round.
This is Michael’s Spicy Carrot Snack Cake, scribbled into my by now famous notebook, the page smeared and spotted with cake batter after twenty-some years of baking. Now Michael, my older brother, does not remember ever having made this cake or giving the recipe to me, but it is written in my own (former) bold handwriting across the page :
MICHAEL’S SPICY CARROT SNACK CAKE
Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).
Using solid shortening or vegetable oil, grease the bottom only of a 8- or 9-inch square pan.
Measure these ingredients in the order listed into a large mixing bowl :
1 ¼ cups flour – lightly spooned into measuring cups and leveled off
1 cup sugar
1 ½ tsps baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsps ground cinnamon
¾ cup vegetable oil
2 tsps vanilla
With an electric mixer :
Blend one minute at low speed.
Blend two minutes on medium speed.
Fold or stir in until well blended :
1 ½ cups grated carrots (about 2 medium, trimmed, peeled and finely grated, I pack them into the cups)
½ cup golden raisins
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans (of course, I am not allowed to bake with nuts!)
Pour into the prepared pan and give a jiggle to spread the batter evenly in the pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 40 – 45 minutes until risen and set and a toothpick or tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
“I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number of carats in a diamond.”
Mae West (American Actress and sex symbol, 1892-1980)