I’m a dreamer. As I child, I dreamt I would play in the World Cup, challenging the likes of Mia Hamm. As a teenager, I dreamt I would drive around in a brand new VW Bug, with a fresh flower occupying its interior vase. As an adult, I dreamt I would be a baker.
I never played in the World Cup. Nor did I get that green VW Bug (besides the model car my dad bought as a cruel joke on my sixteenth birthday). But I baked. I know that doesn’t necessarily make me a baker. My business card still reads designer. And I sit at a desk all day rather than stand in a kitchen over a mixer.
A couple weeks ago, a friend asked me to bake a cake for her 40th birthday. I was elated. She asked me to bake her cake as opposed to going to the bakery down the street. At least that’s how it registered in my mind. I’ve made cakes before, but always for parties that I am in attendance. It’s not the same. But this time I was commissioned. I don’t know if she’ll ever know the power of that question—will you bake a cake for me? A dream affirmed is something magical.
It’s good to dream. To believe you can accomplish something outside of your current reach. Sure, many dreams die unfulfilled. World Cup—case in point. But a life without dreams seems dark. Light a candle with me. And blow it out. What do you wish for?
When I grow up, I want to be a baker.
- 1 pound carrots, finely grated
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 c. sugar
- 1 1/2 c. canola oil
- 1/3 c. buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 c. whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. coarse kosher salt
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 16 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- dash of sea salt
- 3-4 c. powdered sugar
- 1/4 c. shredded coconut, toasted
- Cake. Preheat oven to 350°. Line two 9" round cake pans with parchment paper. Whisk together carrots, eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. (To grate carrots, use grater, VitaMix, or foor processor.)
- In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Stir flour mixture into carrot mixture until well combined.
- Distribute batter evenly between the pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool completely before icing. To remove cake from pan, loosen edges with an offset spatula and discard parchment paper.
- Frosting. Place one stick of butter in a small saucepan. Cook on medium-high heat until butter is browned, about 5 minutes. Pour into small bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes to cool.
- Once cooled, cream together browned butter, regular butter, and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla extract and salt. Mix.
- Add powdered sugar one cup at a time. Mix well between each addition. After 3 cups, taste to see if additional sugar is necessary.
- Assembly. Place bottom layer of cake on cake stand, leveling the top if necessary. Add a layer of icing. Place second layer on top, leveling if necessary. Dirty ice the cake. Place in refrigerator for 20 minutes to chill. Finish icing the rest of the cake using an offset spatula. Using the back of a spoon, drag circles in the top of the cake for the swirl effect.
- Garnish. Sprinkle with toasted coconut if desired.
- Refrigerate. Serve cake at room temperature.