Friday, August 17, 2012

Glitter Everywhere

There is glitter everywhere.  On my face, in my bed, on my floor, on the stairs, in the bathroom, the kitchen, and even on the cake.  That can only mean one thing: it was JoJo's birthday last night.  JoJo is one of my wonderful housemates for the summer, and one of my new favorite people on the planet.  She is one of the most fun-loving, happy-go-lucky people I have ever met in my life, and it is absolutely impossible to be sad or angry around her.  Yesterday was her 29th birthday, and she threw a super dressed-up, glitterfied extravaganza dinner that was so sparkly and over-accessorized that even Queen Elizabeth would be jealous.

Since I went home to NY for a few days, I didn't have too much time to make a super fancy cake with a lot of rare ingredients and flavor combos.  I came home, opened the fridge, and said, "OK- CAKE!"  I still had another 2lb bag of carrots that I needed to eat, so I decided on a simple carrot cake.  Of course, a simple carrot cake wasn't going to fit the theme of the party, or JoJo's sparkling and happy personality, so I dug around in my box of cake supplies and found decorating crystals.  Normally, I would say that glittery sprinkles have NO place on my birthday cakes.  I think they make cakes look tacky and cheap.  They belong on sugar cookies and kids' cupcakes, not a special, custom-made birthday cake.  THIS, however, was the exception.  JoJo's cake NEEDED glitter sprinkles.  No questions asked.  Here is what we got:


Carrot Cake with Raisins and Walnuts and Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens' New Baking Book
Yield: 1 8" double-layer cake
Cake Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
4 large eggs (beaten)
3 cups finely shredded carrots
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
Ingredients
In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients
In a second bowl, stir together eggs, carrots, and oil
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and add raisins and walnuts.  Stir until well-combined
Divide batter evenly between two well-greased and floured 8" cake pans
Bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes, until golden-brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly.
Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then remove from pans to finish cooling completely before assembly
Cream Cheese Frosting
*Makes way more than you need, but the extra should keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks

Ingredients
1 8oz package cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (softened)
4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1-2 Tbs milk (as usual, I used almond)

Directions:
  1. Beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth
  2. Slowly add in confectioners' sugar, one cup at a time to prevent ghosting your entire kitchen
  3. Add in vanilla and milk, continuing to stir slowly until incorporated
  4. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes, until frosting is fluffy


Group shot (minus a few)
The beautiful birthday girl with her cake




















Everyone raved about this cake.  I'm not sure if it was actually just that good, or if it had to do with the fact that we were all a little drunk and high off the endorphins that come from a crazy glitter-covered birthday dinner with tons of friends that ends with dancing to a latin funk band from Miami.  I am going to go with both, because this was one awesome cake.

Happy Birthday, JoJo!  You sure know how to throw one hell of a birthday party!

Love and cookies,

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