Carrot Cake

Welcome to fall, everyone. Summer was hot and sunny, full of lazy days. And full of days where the weather was too hot for an oven. But now that things are starting to cool down, it’s time to get baking.Carrot CakeI was always under the impression that I was the only person in my family who likes carrot cake. Unbeknownst to me, my dad and grandma were in the same boat. Finally we figured out where all of this confusion sprang from: my mother. She absolutely hates carrot cake, for reasons that I still am unsure of. Because of this, the cake was never in the house, and its fans were left to eat carrot cake secretly. Luckily, we discovered each other a few weeks back, and I instantly made plans to bake carrot cake with my grandma. This recipe was her brother’s favorite.
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Texas Sheet Cake

This past week, my entire extended family has been vacationing in our favorite island along the coast. The beach is a beautiful stretch of land, occupied primarily by locals and families, and the waves are just enough to get a short ride on a boogie board. The best spot to park your chair is in the middle of the countless tide pools, letting the waves cool your ankles as you watch the clouds float. We’ve been making this trip for the past ten years or so, long enough to recognize a pretty distinct pattern:
-Spend the first few days lazing on the sand, pleased with yourself for the weeks before where you ate healthfully.
-Make ambitious plans for everything we want to do.
-Someone gets a sunburn and hides under the umbrella.
-Ice cream.
-The shade under the umbrella starts getting crowded.
-Resignation that any healthy habits you had before vacation have been ruined.
-The last few dinners are eclectic affairs made from left over pasta, the pancake mix you haven’t used yet, and many desserts.
During the course of the week, every family hosts a meal, in an effort to reduce left overs and increase family time. This year, we had no idea what to do for dessert. It had to be something simple but delicious. Chocolate is recommended. Suddenly, while wandering around the grocery store, my mom figured it out.
The cake that we made has been a family standby for years. We were heckling my cousin’s fiancĂ©e when she couldn’t finish her admittedly giant piece and started asking everyone to estimate how many of these cakes they’ve eaten in their entire life. My own figuring went something like this: we make the cake somewhere around five times a year, and each time I eat about a row, which eqauls four pieces. That’s roughly 20 pieces a year. I’m 22, so I’d guess that In my life, I’ve consumed 20-25 of these cakes.
I’m betting that number is on the low end for my family. Continue reading

Rhubarb Cake

I promised myself that I would start posting about real meals. No more desserts. That’s right, it’s time to get healthy. Unfortunately, that’s not how I’ve been raised. Whenever the ingredients for a dessert are available, they must be used ASAP. Which means I preheated the oven immediately when an abundance of rhubarb found itself onto my counter.

We don’t have many recipes from my dad’s side of the family, but not for lack of delicious food. When my parents would visit his grandparents, my mom often tried to get the recipes from my great-grandma. Unfortunately for my mother, Grandma Claire made meals by sight, “add more cheese until it looks like this, heat until it looks like this,” etc. So the following recipe is one of the few that has made it into this generation.It is from my dad’s other grandma, and focuses on rhubarb, a seasonal vegetable that often yields much more than we know what to do with. So, in the beautiful tradition of my family, we turn surplus into a cake.
The recipe itself was given to my dad with very litte instructions. As I prepared to make this cake, I realized that the piece of paper I was looking at listed only a few ingredients and came with some arrows. And no where did it even mention rhubarb. Apparently, I am just supposed to know how much I need. And, by gosh and by golly, it came pretty naturally. This cake runs in the family. Continue reading