I have an aunt who is famous in the family for her carrot cake. This is partly due to the fact that she doesnt make it for just any old dinner or family gathering. It just magically shows up exactly when you need it.
And with its tender cinnamon-scented crumb and thick layer of cream cheese frosting, yes, you definitely need it.
Far from guarding her secret, my aunt happily shared the recipe with me. She admitted she originally copied the recipe from a cookbook, though she had forgotten exactly which one. But she went on to describe so many tweaks, adjustments and variations that Im convinced this is now solely her own.
In turn, I have made my own tweaks and adjustments. My aunt prefers a layered round cake; I like a sheet cake. My aunt adds nuts and raisins; Ill make mine with the carrots alone. My aunt uses a cooked frosting of cream, sugar and cream cheese; I keep it simple with a basic cream cheese frosting.
But the base recipe remains my aunts, and it surpasses all other carrot cakes Ive ever had the pleasure of sampling.
Emma Christensen is recipe editor at TheKitchn.com, a food and home-cooking blog.
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