It was my niece/god daughter’s 4th birthday party this weekend, so we went home to visit my family for the last time before we move. Look at all of those little girls!
The theme of the party was “hearts,” so I just cut out some heart stencils from wax paper and sprinkled her birthday cake with pink sugar. It was super quick and easy and made for a cute presentation.
See how cute! I made the cake using my absolute favorite chocolate cake and vanilla frosting recipe. Unfortunately for all of you, it is a secret recipe from my best friend Sara’s family, so under no circumstances am I allowed to publish it. (Aren’t you jealous?) But, to make up for it, I will post the most delicious carrot cake recipe ever at the end of this post. It is also a recipe that comes from Sara, and she somehow can always find the best cake recipes in existence. Dave and I made it for my birthday a few weeks ago, and it is delicious!
I made this little lamb for Alicia as part of her birthday gift. She asked for a lamb on her birthday wish list, which I imagine meant she wanted a real lamb as a pet. Since they live in a city and not on a farm, I hope she can love this little stuffed animal just as much. I used a pattern from Tiny Yarn Animals: Amigurumi Friends to Make and Enjoy.
And this has absolutely nothing to do with the birthday party, but I would love to share this with you all. My cousin/friend/bridesmaid is an amazing musician and wrote and performed this song for me at my wedding reception. It’s been stuck on my sister’s camera until this weekend, so I’m extremely excited that I can finally watch it again. I cry every time!
Okay, don’t forget to check out the amazing carrot cake recipe below. Yum!
From Sara Hylwa and her University of Buffalo medical school friends.
1 cup raisins (optional)
4 cups shredded, peeled carrots (~ 1 pound bag of baby carrots)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/2 cups corn or canola oil
1 1/2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted and broken into medium pieces
- Preheat oven to 350* F.
- Butter three round 9-inch baking pans, line with baking parchment, butter paper and dust all over with flour. Set aside.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cocoa, and set aside.
- In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs to mix. Beat in the vanilla, both sugars and the oil.
- On low speed, beat in the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Stir in the carrots, raisins, if you are using them, and nuts.
- Divide batter among the pans. The solid ingredients tend to mound in the center of the pan. Use the bottom of a spoon to distribute them.
- Place two pans on one rack, and one pan on the center of the other rack. Bake for 25-40 minutes until the cake tops just spring back when gently pressed, and the cake begins to pull away from sides of the pan.
- Let the cake stand for 2-3 minutes before removing to cool on wire racks. Once cooled, the cake can be iced, or each layer wrapped and frozen for later use. If you wish to ice the cake, freeze the layers for 1-2 hours. They will be easier to handle. If you have frozen the cakes to store, frost them while still partially frozen.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 1/2 lb cream cheese at room temperature
1 1/4 sticks (10 Tablespoons) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups sifted or strained confectioner’s sugar
1/2 lb marscapone cheese – optional
- In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the vanilla and sugar and continue beating until smooth.
- Note: For a richer, softer frosting, use only 1 lb of cream cheese and follow the recipe as above. Fold in by hand 1/2 lb marscapone cheese after you beat in the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla.