For all of middle school, I lived next door to my French teacher–we’ll call her Mrs. R. This was, as you can imagine, rife with awkwardness–some imagined, and some actually manifested.
One morning, like many mornings, I found myself late for school. I went through the standard rush job of brushing my teeth, washing my face, staring at my hair for a millisecond and acknowledging that things weren’t going to get any better, grabbing my lunch from the refrigerator and sprinting out the door with my sneakers half on. As crappy luck would have it, the bus was already chugging past the house. I half ran after it, screaming, “WAITTTTT!” But like a lot of other mornings, it kept on going.
With my jacket half on and my socks already all damp from the lawn’s morning dew, it seemed like a good time for a “GOOOOOD DAAAMMITTTT” to break up the morning peace of our little suburban street–complete with an irritated jig and much air punching.
The steam was just dissipating from my ears when I heard behind me, “Kaitlin? Do you need a ride to school?”
Mrs. R was looking at me in a rather concerned way, with a mug of coffee and teacher purse in hand (you know, the one that had to be big enough to fit 3 class’s worth of tests, books, and a lunch).
“Oh, heh..heh…umm…..” A long pause while I deliberated the awkwardness of riding up to school and getting out of Mrs. R’s old Lincoln…
Informal rides to school aside, one of the biggest reasons why Mrs. R is an MVP in our family is because she gave us her family carrot cake recipe. This recipe was first introduced to us at a block party (yes, we had our fair share of wonder years), and this cake was a revelation. Chock full of tasty noms (nuts, coconut, and pineapple), moist, and with perfectly thick cream cheese frosting, we immediately requested the recipe.
I have to say though that tastes have changed over the years, and we’ve come to prefer a lighter cake, so we cut some sugar and oil from the original recipe to lighten things up (Mrs. R’s recipe uses 2 cups of sugar and 1 1/2 cups oil). Feel free to make the original carrot cake recipe and decide for yourself though (our neighbor across the street happily declared the original to be the best she’s ever had).
This is the latest in our informal series on our favorites and standbys–the recipes that ended all searching. Check out our recipes for our Favorite Chocolate Cake and The Perfect Spaghetti Carbonara if you’re looking to cross some more recipes off your list!
Carrot Cake Recipe Instructions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Next, add the sugar, oil, and eggs; mix well.
Next, add the carrot, pineapple, pecans, and coconut. Blend thoroughly.
Distribute the batter evenly amongst the three pans; I like to use a ladle for the batter and fill each pan ladle by ladle to ensure even distribution without fussing with a scale.
Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes. Be careful not to over-bake them! Because of the high amounts of sugar and add-ins, the cake can quickly crisp too much on the edges. Remove the pans from the oven and cool for 15-20 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.
When your cakes are cooled, make your cream cheese frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla. Cream on low to medium speed. With the mixer on low, gradually add the confectioner’s sugar, scraping down the bowl as needed. If it looks too thick, add a little splash of milk (as Mrs. R so helpfully notes).
Frost the cake–spread a thin layer between each layer of cake, saving the lion’s share for covering the rest of the cake.
If you’re like my mom, you can halve the frosting recipe and just frost the center for a moderate level of sweetness. You can also garnish the top with more chopped nuts if you like.
Enjoy the results of this fine carrot cake recipe with a nice cup of black coffee. Middle school reminiscences are optional. 😉