Hey, it’s April!
Spring is right around the corner! Here in Florida, we’ve been getting our fare share of April showers, although they arrived a few days early. Hopefully that means that beautiful sunny days and lovely flowers will arrive that much sooner!
When I think of springtime, inevitably I think of Easter. Growing up in North Dakota, I was the only Jewish chid in my entire elementary school. Crazy, huh? When it came to major holidays, I always felt a little left out. My parents were awfully supportive, and they invented a few ‘faux’ holidays to help me feel not so out of the loop. One of those ‘faux’ holidays was Bunny Day.
Bunny Day was a celebration of a certain spring bunny with a penchant for giving children baskets of treats and hiding plastic eggs full of candy on the lawn. Sounds eerily similar to another springtime celebration, no? That’s what my parents were going for; they wanted me to have the fun of the holiday with the other kids, and I always appreciated that. It felt nice to not be left out of holiday parties and celebrations in school.
One of the things we always had on Bunny Day was carrot cake, naturally. My parents always said that carrot cake was a favorite of bunnies, and the best way to celebrate bunnies on their big day was to eat their favorite kind of cake!
I’ve been baking carrot cakes, not always for Bunny Day for a while now. My favorite version keeps it very simple, and very focused on the star ingredient. I’ve tried lots of different versions that include nuts, coconut, pineapple…they’re delicious in their own right, but nothing can beat the classic, simple carrot cake.
Rather than mask the subtle sweetness of the cake with a too-sweet cream cheese frosting, I used a Swiss buttercream, which is lighter on the sugar and a creamy, light texture. I added mascarpone cheese, a grown-up, slightly more sophisticated take on the classic cream cheese frosting. Finally, I candied some carrot strips, baked them in the oven to dehydrate them, and crumbled them on the sides of the cake. They’re surprisingly sweet and flavorful, and add a great textural note to this dessert.
Whether you celebrate Easter, or Bunny Day, or just want to make something delicious, this carrot cake is the perfect springtime treat!