THE WOODEN SPOON DESSERT BOOK by Marilyn M. Moore is a great, basic dessert cookbook. It is straight forward and packed with great desserts. Many of them are culled form the author’s vast collection of community cookbooks, so the recipes have the benefit of home cooks. Moore uses a style of recipe writing where the list of ingredients are incorporated into the recipe, instead of in the current fashion of listing all the ingredients at the beginning of the recipe. It can be a bit disconcerting at first, so like any recipe, each one needs to be read thoroughly BEFORE starting out. Actually, before starting out shopping, as you want to have everything on hand.
For years I had my favorite carrot cake recipe stuffed in a drawer. At a party, I cornered the woman who baked the cake and she gave me the recipe which I wrote on the back of a super market register tape. The next sentence should be... and when I got home, I carefully transcribed this delicious cake recipe onto a recipe card which still sits in the hand-painted metal recipe box that belonged to mother. And while that was the next sentence, it was not my real world, so for years I kept the flimsy register tape tucked in a kitchen drawer, dragging it out to make carrot cake. Why I never spent those agonizing two minutes to write it down properly are beyond me. In a move, I lost my register tape recipe. The great thing about this recipe was the straightforward measurements and the “secret ingredient” a can of crushed pineapple.
When I needed to replicate the recipe, I turned to The Wooden Spoon Desert Book, because I guessed it would be the best place to start to find my carrot cake recipe.
California Carrot Cake
Preheat oven toe 350F. Grease and lightly flour a 9 X 13-inch baking pan. Drain and set aside, reserving 1 tablespoon juice for the frosting
1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, packed in pineapple juice
In the large bowl of a mixer beat until light an lemon-colored
4 large eggs
Stir together, pressing out any lumps with the back of a spoon, then gradually beat into the eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
Add in a thin stream, beating all the while
1 cup vegetable oil
Sift, stir, or whisk together and then blend into the egg mixture, 1/4 cup at a time
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Stir in, in this order
2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Bake at 350F for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched in the center. Cool in the pan elevated on a ware rack. Frost the top of cake with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting.
Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting
Beat together until light and fluffy
3 ounces cream cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon reserved pineapple juice
Press thought a sieve and then blend into the cream cheese mixture
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
I don’t like nuts in my food. My recipe had 1 cup of sultanas in lieu of the pecans and way more frosting. I always double the frosting recipe. The cake is moist and holds its flavor, actually getting better the second or third day. Alas, it rarely makes it to the third day. Still, it is a great cake to ship a friend or to make into cupcakes like I did for my friend, Richard. Don't be afraid to try other vegetables in this cake. Parsnips, beets and zucchini will all work well.