In this crazy world filled with stress and homework galore, there is just one thing that forces me to put aside all my anxieties or insecurities — baking.
Anyone can gauge my stress level according to my baking. If there is one baked item during the week, I’m at a normal, manageable stress level. If there are two or more, I’m procrastinating. If I bake nothing, it’s because I am so stressed out the thought of trying to relax even stresses me out.
While the snow and ice coated Wisconsin over break, I was in sunny, warm Hawaii, eating a lot of pineapple, coconut, rambutan and tangelos.
I incorporated some of these island flavors into my carrot cake recipe. The acid from the pineapple and the sweetness from coconut make perfect additions.
I will never understand carrot cake haters. You get to eat a piece of sweet, delicious cake while pretending it’s extremely healthy because of the carrots. As someone with a raging sweet tooth, that’s what I tell myself at least.
When making this tropical paradise carrot cake, give yourself time for about 45 minutes of preparation and 30 to 40 minutes in the oven.
Start by mixing together wet ingredients. I know sugar is not a wet ingredient, but in the baking world, eggs, oil, sugar and butter are best friends.
Make sure there are no brown sugar clumps! Feel free to add more vanilla than the recipe says. It’s a gift from the baking gods designed to make every single recipe better. Try putting some vanilla in brownies. Trust me, it’s amazing.
Measure out the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Don’t be afraid to increase the amount of spices. I suggest adding allspice if you have some.
If you do add more spice, watch out for too much nutmeg. A cake with too much can become bitter and sort of inedible.
You don’t need to fully mix all dry ingredients together, but it is super important to slowly add them to the wet ingredients, stirring throughout. The batter should be thick and difficult to stir.
Pineapple is the key to making the batter the perfect consistency for a cake. Leave in the majority of the juices from the canned pineapple because it will add enough moisture to fully suck up the flour.
Buy pre-shredded carrots and baking coconut — it saves time and has its perks. You don’t have to cut anything, break open a coconut or get hand cramps from shredding both on a grater.
Pop it into the oven at 350 F. Make sure to tap the pan on the counter to get rid of some of the air bubbles before putting the cake in the oven.
After baking for 30 to 40 minutes, the top should be golden brown. If it looks cracked on top, don’t worry, it’s about to be coated in frosting.
Let the cake cool fully if you want thick frosting. I prefer a glaze, so I will put on the frosting while the cake is still warm. The cream cheese will melt and soak into the cake, making it softer.
This carrot cake will dazzle any group of friends, spice up the weekend, take the stress away and put you in the island state of mind.