The best birthday cake ever: hazelnut carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

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I have the same birthday cake every year: carrot cake.  I cannot even remember a time that I did not have carrot cake, though I remember (vaguely) of a Strawberry Shortcake birthday cake like this one from my early childhood:

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I actually had the original cake form up until I last moved 7 years ago, along with several other cake forms for Blue Clues, Tigger, and many more cartoon characters that I can no longer recall.  But for years and years and years, it has been carrot cake.  I love carrot cake.  No….wait.

I LOVE carrot cake.

Last year I switched things up a bit, like I always do, and instead of using pecans or walnuts, I decided to try hazelnuts.  It was a freakin’ home run.  In fact, when I was first pondering what to make for my first YouTube video, this carrot cake was one I thought about making as my debut video.  But for some reason I didn’t.  Maybe it was for lack of time, who knows.  But the time has now come and yes, even though it was my own birthday, I made my own birthday cake.  Not-so-secret:  I always do.

I enjoy it, so why not?

And also…once someone, who may or may not be Hubby, made my birthday cake for me and made the comment that the batter looked like vomit.  Fair enough.  This batter doesn’t have a sexy, lick-the-bowl look to it, but it tastes phenomenal (both in batter and baked cake form).  So from that point forward, I decided it was just easier on everyone involved if I made it myself.  This year I had a particularly grand time making this cake, as you will soon find out if you watch the video.

Soon-not-to-be-secret: I lightened up the original recipe considerably and there is absolutely no compromise in flavor, texture, or overall quality of this cake.  It’s practically health food, as far as cakes go anyway, so you should definitely give it a try.

Recipe is here.  Video is below.

Exciting things in Urban Farmgal’s future!

I’m getting a new camera!

Why is this news, you might wonder?  Well, I’m getting a digital SLR camera so I can get my photography on–in the garden, in the kitchen, and in the great outdoors.  And…more importantly, I’m gearing up to make some cooking videos this summer using my weekly CSA shares.  All too often our members ask questions like “What is this vegetable?  How do you use it/cook with it/ eat it?”

URBAN FARMGAL TO THE RESCUE!! (That is meant to be a little cheeky.)

And a video blog will soon be born.  It’s like I’m pregnant with this idea and will be giving birth to the real deal later this spring–and I’m soooooo excited!  I’ve been wanting to do this for some time now, but I’ve been putting off purchasing a camera as long as I possibly could.  I just couldn’t justify the expense and the indulgence of a brand new fancy-schmancy camera until now.  Now I have an outlet for some creative endeavors (i.e., cooking vids) that will result from this new purchase.  The time seemed right and I’ve been researching the ever living crap out of digital SLR cameras.  The technology is mind-boggling to a gal who last used a camera with interchangeable lenses in the 1990s. (Does that make me sound old? *Sigh*   So be it.)

So be on the lookout for my little videos later this spring.  I’ll probably try out a few before the CSA begins so I can get a little practice under my belt and tidy up some of the little details that I probably won’t consider until in front of the camera.  One of those practice videos just might be this carrot cake I made for my stepdaughter’s birthday this week:

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In case you are wondering, those are hazelnuts topping the cream cheese frosting.  I didn’t have any pecans or walnuts, which is what I normally use in carrot cake.  So I made the substitution and had this revelation: this might be the best carrot cake I’ve ever eaten in my life.  And I’ve eaten a lot of carrot cake.

Also, earlier this week I sold my first knitted bag!  I’m so excited.  This is the first bag I knit specifically to sell through Urban Farmgal and I sold it to someone at the gym.  She had commented on it while I was knitting it, and every time I saw her she mentioned the bag.  This week we finally made the sale!  I am currently in process of knitting a hat for another gym member.   Usually this time of year I begin to slow down in the knitting department because I’m spending more time in the garden–I’m not sure that’s going to happen this year.  I might even end up teaching some knitting classes this summer.

For now, the focus is the garden and securing a camera and lavalier mic for making food videos!  And making another carrot cake this weekend.  That tops my to-do list.