Once a year birthdays come along so we can celebrate the ones we love. Today is the day my sister gets celebrated. Let me start by saying just how WONDERFUL sister is (it's not uncommon for me to call her "sister" and not Tabitha). She is the most gracious and kind woman I know. She has the gift of staying calm, relaxed, and joyful regardless of how much or what is going on around her. There can be a whirlwind of activity and chaos all around her, and she takes the time to make everyone nearby feel appreciated and loved. She is truly a gift from God.
As I think about her birthday I'm reminded that Tabitha and I shared some great childhood memories such as:
Playing "are my eyes open or shut" instead of going to sleep
Our Blueberry Muffin and Strawberry Shortcake bedspreads and lamps (thank you mom and grandma)
Attics for playing house in (we were lucky enough to have three)
Playing GI Joe and mud wrestling with the neighbors
Our treehouse that looked over the creek and the alley (the best playground ever)
But Tabitha and I didn't truly become friends until we were adults... sure, we were friends when we were little, but something about being so close in age, and adolescent competitiveness changed that. This all changed when she visited me in Florida and that visit, in my book, showed us how much we had in common, and was the beginning of our new-found friendship (I even captured that memory with a picture of our feet, side by side in the sand with almost matching flip-flops on).
Because of our friendship we have the fun of creating recipes together and posting on this blog….and this post is about celebrating Tabitha’s birthday and you can’t do that without a cake, right? My sister's most favorite cake in the world is... you guessed it, carrot cake. She likes her carrot cake to have all the extras, no skimping, with pineapple, coconut, walnuts, and of course, cream cheese frosting. Isn't the frosting why most people like carrot cake?
My sister also has a love for lemon curd so I took that love and tried my hand at creating pineapple curd. By doing this I can now use the pineapple flavors that remind my sister of the sunny places she longs to visit for the filling for her favorite birthday cake.
Since this is a birthday gift and one that includes “all the extras” we’re going to celebrate how yummy it is and skip the calorie count this time. Instead we’ll honor my sister by granting her request for a carrot cake with walnuts and soft, fluffy REAL cream cheese frosting.
Well, here it is sister, you deserve every bit of it!
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups grated carrot
8 oz crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup walnuts, crushed (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 cake pans.
2. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl.
3. Place eggs through vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combinded.
4. Fold the carrots, pineapple, coconut and walnuts into the batter.
5. Divide among prepared cake pans and bake for 20-30 minutes or until pick comes out clean.
6. Cool in pans on rack for 15 minutes and then remove from pans and cool completely.
1. Combine sugar and arrowroot in a saucepan over medium heat. Add pineapple juice stiring to combine.
2. Add butter and cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
3. Whisk eggs in a bowl and then, while whisking constantly, slowly add 1/2 of the hot pineapple mixture.
4. Add egg mixture to the saucepan and cook, while whisking, for 2 minutes more.
5. Remove from heat. Place a piece of saran wrap over the curd and let cool.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1. Place cream cheese and butter in a bowl and mix until well combined.
2. Add vanilla and beat until becomes creamy.
3. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and mix well.
4. Slowly add enough of the remaining powdered sugar to make a spreadable frosting.