Thursday, February 25, 2010


Yep. I use cake mix.

Just haven't in a long time, for Caro is forever whipping up a nice WW dessert, and unless company is expected, I just don't bake like I used to.

But I've seen several slices of carrot cake lately, or seen them offered on a menu, and would think how good that would taste, because ginger/spicy desserts are best in the cold season. So when this box caught my eye Saturday at the store, I threw one into my buggy.

It got thrown out again a couple of times, plus stepped on and sat on, since I had a small passenger as well, but that's another story (that kid isn't even 2 1/2 and she can lob a lime from Produce to Dairy).

So "we" baked one yesterday; it was easier than I remember---you simply measure your hottest tap water (1 1/4 cups) into a cup, pour in the little bag of freeze-dried carrots and raisins, and jump back. Those things soak up that warm water like a sponge---less than five minutes.

In that time, you'll have measured out 1/4 c. oil, broken three eggs, and gotten out a nice wooden spoon. Oven 350. Pam a 9x13, or whatever is your favorite shape of cake---mine was a pyrex.

Stir the eggs, oil, and carrots, along with any water remaining in their cup, into the dry mix. Beat about 50 strokes with the wooden spoon, scrape in to the pan, and bake 35 minutes.

I set the thing up on top of three cans of soup, for quicker cooling, since BabyGirl was napping and we always have a nice Tea Time when she wakes.

I broke up about a cup of toasted pecans (plain is quite OK), shook them in the colander to remove the dust and crumbs, and stirred it into a tub of DH Cream Cheese Frosting. (I DID leave about a quarter of the tub plain, for frosting one end of the cake, for little ones who don't eat pecans yet).

This was the moistest, tenderest, most flavorful MIX cake I've ever made. The Ginger and the Cinnamon and whatever other spices are in there were perfectly balanced, and the teensy lumps which had been raisins were now plump and almost juicy in their tenderness. It was hard to wait for the thing to cool completely, and I kept touching the top, finally deciding that just- slightly-warm-on-the-bottom wouldn't hurt.

So I dropped clumps of the frosting all around, then gently coaxed them smooth over the top. And it was a splendid cake, like you'd grated the carrots into a bright pile on the counter, then measured out flour and leavenings, creamed sugar and butter, added eggs one at a time---the only one to compare was Aint Ruby's, and hers had a cup and a half of Wesson Oil in it, and you had to keep blotting the cake plate all around because the cake kept seeping. I can still hear her drawl, "I told Y'all this was an AW-UL Cake!"

But this one---this easy-mix in one bowl, not even glancing at the Mixmaster, with the Sandra Lee Frosting---well, Baby Girl and I each had a small square, still warm, for Tea yesterday. Then Chris came home early and had a slice with a pot of Earl Grey. When her Mama came to pick her up, SHE had a slice, as well. And of course, WE two toyed delicately with a bit of cake after dinner.

The frosting had dried on top enough so that I could Saran it at bedtime, and I hope it's still as good cold.

And yes, the word "decadent" in reference to food is SO Nineties---but I'll take the hit for such a good cake.

Here's how easy it was:

All that's missing is the Mohawk Baby Carrot Jockeys.   And the REAL cream cheese icing, which I'll make next time.


sherry said...

That Duncan Hines decadent carrot cake IS just like homemade! My Walm*rt doesn't carry that "fancy" mix. I have to go to the upscale market to get worth the trip. Try it with a little smidge of crushed pineapple added to the batter. Heavenly!

racheld said...

Well, Hi, Sherry! I don't think we've met. I DO confess, I just prink around with EVERYTHING! Yesterday, I put in a glug of good Watkins Vanilla, and since that nice jar of orange marmalade was sitting right there in the fridge door, why not see what a good spoonclop would to the moistness of the batter.

And the "original" recipe DOES call for pineapple, as does my Mother's Banana Bread.

I'd never seen this mix before. Gonna try cupcakes soon.

Southern Lady said...

I love all of the Duncan Hines products I've tried, but I haven't tried the carrot cake. I'll definitely look for it tomorrow morning when I go grocery shopping. I hope Kroger's has it!

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

Carrot Cake mix? Never knew anything like that existed. Thanks for the heads up...I will look for it.
I found my carpet at Home Depot first...then read some review of their service and decided to find the same thing at Lowe's. I did and I really do love it. However...I think the one that is almost exactly like it is a tiny bit thicker at Home Depot. All those things to consider, like the "twist" etc. The service was great...and I'm happy with it.
I am so very glad you like it!

Jeanne said...

Hi Rachel, I smiled throughout your post. I JUST made that same cake mix and I can tell you there was nothing left. It delicious. Your idea with the pecans sounds good too. A very nice discovery huh?

I am picturing a lime flying across the store. I so understand what you are saying. I have (not good) memories of taking my three little ones to the grocery store at ages 1,2,and 3. It was a nightmare I tell ya!!! And yes, I had three babies in 3 years. Go ahead say it, I have heard it all. I DO know where babies come from!!!HA! I also had two older children born the proper way... two plus years apart. LOL. I do adore all my children just not all together in a grocery store, Even now!

Well that was involved, so now I will just wish you a wonderful weekend.
Hugs, Jeanne

Cape Coop said...

Cake. MINE, all MINE!

Kouign Aman said...

Originally posted by Jeanne:
"yes, I had three babies in 3 years. Go ahead say it,"

Say what? That I am green-jealous? Ok. I said it.
And you have two more two. Gone beyond green to downright emerald.