After all we’ve been through together, Brett and I are finally celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary this week. To honour this joyous occasion, I’ve baked us a much smaller version of the 3-tiered carrot cake that I foolishly prepared a year ago for our wedding. Yes, I made my own classic, fondant wrapped, 3-tier wedding cake. Many said I was crazy and, as it turned out, they were absolutely right. If you too are dealing with a DIY-style wedding (not because Martha Stewart makes it look so easy but because you gots no money, honey), take it from me, DON’T DO THE CAKE YOURSELF. I’ve listed 5 good reasons here.
What I do recommend is preparing this carrot cake in a single 9″ pan. Of all the baked deliciousness that comes through my kitchen, this cake is absolutely in my Top 5 Favourite. Originally created by the oh-so-brilliant Alton Brown, this cake is super moist, jam-packed with carrot goodness, with just a hint of autumn spice. There’s a reason I baked about 16 pounds of it right before my wedding day – it’s the best.
- Unsalted butter, for the pan
- 2 1/2 cups, all-purpose flour, plus extra for pan
- 2 1/2 cups grated carrots, medium grate, approximately 6 medium
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup plain yogurt
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Butter and flour a 9-inch round and 3-inch deep cake pan. Add a square of parchment paper to the bottom to ensure the cake won’t stick. Set aside.
- Shred your carrots. Edie and I use the food processor’s dicing attachment for this job. Put the carrots into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a large bowl. Add this mixture to the carrots and toss until they are well-coated with the flour.
- Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer or your good old fashion muscles, combine the sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and yogurt.
- With the mixer on a low-medium speed, drizzle in the vegetable oil. Pour this mixture into the carrot mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325°F and bake for another 20 minutes or until the cake reaches 205 to 210°F in the center.
- Remove the pan from the oven and allow cake to cool 15 minutes in the pan. After 15 minutes, turn the cake out onto a rack and allow cake to cool completely. Frost with cream cheese frosting after cake has cooled completely.
- Note: This recipe is recommended for a 9″ x 3″ high spring form pan. You can make about 16 cupcakes or 2x 8″ cake pans instead, just anticipate shorter baking times for smaller cakes.
- 1 pound (1 brick) cream cheese
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 to 2.5 cups confectioner’s sugar
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter on medium just until blended. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. With the speed on low, add the powdered sugar in 4 batches and beat until smooth between each addition.
- A little trick I love when frosting, fill a pint glass with cold water and ice. Glob icing on to cake and roughly frost top, then sides, then dip your frosting spatula/knife in the cold water and use it to smooth the icing out. The cold water makes it so the frosting doesn’t stick to the spatula and the little touch of water adds a silky smooth look to the cake.
Our time together has flown by, it’s hard to believe how many years ago Brett and I met at a Bloor West Indian restaurant called Nataraj for our 1st date. That was our first and only date (and for the record, the BEST date I ever had). It wasn’t too long after that that we moved in with each other and took a trip to the U.K.. He proposed in Liverpool, England (as any man should when in love with a Beatles fanatic) and 3 years later we were finally married. There was a time when we started planning a big(ish) wedding,with traditions, lengthy guest list, caterers, etc., but once my mother-in-law was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer life stopped. The entire family came together as a unit to nurture her and each other and we all did our best to simply function with our outside lives. She passed away just 5 months later.
Life propelled forward from there. Before too long we had 2 babies and a mortgage and any self-indulgence, especially one in the form of an expensive party, just did not work. We put getting married as “something we’ll get to when the kids are older”. And then last spring, our Brits (my brother and sister-in-law with their two kids) announced that they were flying over to Canada for a visit in the fall. Knowing the difficulties and expenses to travel overseas with our young families, Brett and I knew we had to take advantage of their time in Canada and all of a sudden we were planning a wedding in 5 months with our meek $5000 budget.
If you’ve ever managed a wedding you know $5000 is squat for a budget. Planning it all was a bit of a nightmare; I would have one baby attached to my breast, feeding, while playing fetch with the other, balancing the phone on my shoulder, bartering costs with vendors. Fortunately, Brett and I are surrounded by incredibly talented, generous people willing to help us any way they could. My Dad and brother managed all of the sound equipment and entertainment; my sister-in-law, Caroline, created gorgeous bouquets and floral arrangements; my cousin, the ordained minister, performed the ceremony; friends helped with photography, wardrobe, hair, food, and so on. Our friend, Lyra, even offered her skills from working at a daycare and did a face painting station for all of the kids at the reception. Most purchased items I found on etsy.com and ebay (including my gown for $80) and I am very proud to say that we were very close to maintaining our original $5k budget for 70 guests, including the ceremony, attire and food. Sure, it was no princess fairytale wedding but it was perfectly US. Reflecting now, I’m really happy we did it the way we did. I’m actually just happy we finally wed, I like being Brett’s ‘ol lady and he my handsome husband. And who knows, maybe one day we’ll actually get to enjoy that honeymoon we’ve always dreamed of 🙂
This part goes directly to Brett (because I really do appreciate that you read Hot Pink Apron): I love you today more than I did when I said “I do”. You are my perfect partner and the dream father for my beautiful daughters. I meant every word of my vows last year and I look forward to celebrating these words as we grow into senile old bastards together, swaying in our rocking chairs, enjoying our moist carrot cake on our wrap around porch. I love you, baby!
Brett, I promise to encourage your individuality,
Because that is what makes you unique and wonderful.
I promise to nurture your dreams,
Because through them your soul shines.
I promise to help shoulder our challenges,
Because through them we’ll emerge stronger.
I promise to be your partner in all things,
Not possessing you, but working with you as a part of the whole.
I promise to share with you the joys of life,
Because with you they will be that much sweeter.
Lastly, I promise to you perfect love and perfect trust,
For one lifetime with you could never be enough.
This is my sacred vow to you, my equal in all things.
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