Carrot Cake & Soup, Anniversary Dinner at Izza

carrot cake

Last week I found a stockpile of carrots in the bottom left-hand drawer of my fridge. So, I set to work slicing and dicing, staining my cutting board, dulling my knife, tearing up my uncalloused little hands. Sike. I did nothing of the sort. I for once used my little brain and pulled out an attachment to my Cuisinart I have yet to use. Magic. In about 30 seconds, this gadget had transformed my pound of carrots into perfect little shreds. I didn’t even peel these guys. Just gave them a good scrub, and sent them down the shoot. 

With prep work done, I set to work on a carrot cake recipe I have had saved for years. It appeared in Fine Cooking magazine in 2004 in an article called “Carrot Cake, Perfected.” Why I have waited five years to give the recipe a go is beyond me, but I am so happy I finally have. This recipe is a winner.

With the rest of my carrots, I made a yummy gingered-carrot soup roughly based off The New Moosewood Cookbook’s recipe. And I promise to supply this recipe once I actually make it properly. For whatever reason, I left out about five ingredients, substituted five others, and produced something resembling nothing close to what Mollie Katzen had prescribed. Fortunately, I have another bundle of carrots to play with this week.


With the above-pictured carrots, I made cake.

With the below-pictured carrots, I made soup. Some were a tad wrinkly, sure. Not to worry, once puréed, no one would suspect a thing.


Below: Carrot-ginger soup served with Bäco flatbreads. These deserve their own post. Soon, I hope.

carrot-ginger soup

ginger & garlic

Mini spring-form pans filled with batter (at left) and baked (at right).

baked & unbaked cakes

cut cakes

carrot cakes



I made several mini cakes with this batter as well as some patriotic cupcakes for the Fouth of July. While the cupcakes were a hit, this batter definitely bakes more evenly and better in cake pans. Stick to cakes with this recipe. It is a yummy yummy recipe. 

frosted cupcakes

The pizza guys at Izza, a new San Clemente pizza joint.
pizza guys

I’m not sure why I’m trying to squeeze so much into this post, but I just want to tell you one more thing. This past Wednesday, the love of my life and I celebrated our four-year anniversary by eating our favorite food on the planet … pizza pizza. Izza, a thin-crust, wood-fired, Neopolitan-style pizza place opened its doors just in time for us to celebrate our happy day. The pizza was fabulous, our server was adorable, and the vanilla gelato was heavenly. We couldn’t be happier with this addition to the San Clemente restaurant scene. Well, if they added a white clam pizza to their menu, I might be slightly happier, but maybe in time that will come.

And last but not least, check out this old photo I found. It was taken way back in middle school when Ben and I met on a field trip in Thessaloniki. I’m just kidding, you know, but seriously, I would have guessed ages 15 and 12 respectively. Yikes.

ben & ali

The Ultimate Carrot Cake
Source: Fine Cooking Magazine
Article: “Carrot Cake, Perfected” by Gregory Case

Note: I have made some modifications to the original recipe. To read the original, click here.

For the cake:
Softened butter and flour for the pan
1 lb. carrots
10 oz. (2-1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. table salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil

For the frosting:
8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and completely softened at room temperature
1 lb. cream cheese, cut into pieces and completely softened at room temperature
4-1/4 oz. (1 cup) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract

Make the cake:
1. Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9×13-inch heavy-duty metal cake pan.

2. In a food processor, using the shredder attachment, shred the carrots. Transfer to a small bowl and rinse the food processor bowl (you’ll need it again).

3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Whisk to blend thoroughly.

4. In the food processor (again use the steel blade), mix the eggs and sugars until blended. With the machine running, slowly add the oil in a steady stream until combined. Scrape this mixture into the flour mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to combine. Add the carrots; stir to combine.

5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cool on a rack to room temperature before inverting the pan to remove the cake. Let cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting:
Fit a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (a hand mixer works, too). Beat the butter on medium speed until it’s quite light, fluffy, and resembles whipped cream, about 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese one piece at a time, beating well after each addition. When all the cream cheese is incorporated, reduce the speed to medium low and gradually add the sugar and vanilla, stopping the mixer each time you add the sugar. Mix just enough to remove any lumps; scrape the bowl as needed. If the frosting seems a bit loose, refrigerate it for a few minutes until it seems spreadable.

Frost the cake:
Scrape about two-thirds of the frosting onto the center of the cake. With a narrow metal offset spatula, push the frosting from the center out to and just over the cake’s edges. Spread with as few strokes as possible to prevent crumbs from catching in the frosting. Cover the top of the cake first then use the remaining frosting along with what’s creeping over the edges of the cake to cover the sides.


  1. says

    Happy anniversary! WOW you guys have known each other a long time. Even through prepubertal awkwardness!
    I am in LOVE with both carrot cake and carrot soup (what, no salad?) :) and those do look perfect– was the cake indeed the best you’ve had? :)

  2. says

    Happy Anniversary! I can devour those cakes in no time–love carrot cake and that creamy frosting looks delicious. I can swipe my finger right across the screen and lick it clean!

    The soup sounds delicious as well and I would love to hear about the flatbreads as they caught my eye the instant I scrolled down!

  3. says

    carrot cake + cream cheese frosting = win. always. happy anniversary to you, and i’m looking forward to reading more about that flatbread!

  4. says

    Happy Anniversary!

    Congratst the 2 of you! That carrot cake looks so good,….mmmmmmmm!!!!!
    That soup looks so comforting,…MMMMMMMMMMM!!! Lovely pictures again, my friend!

  5. says

    I love this carrot soup. I have made it too. I love the pictures that accompany it. I like the rustic look.

    I had to look up Thessaloniki because I had no idea where it was and it piqued my interest. Do you live in Greece. (You tow have not changed much).

    The cake… very pretty and delicious sounding. Your picture is WAY better than Fine Cooking. There’s is kind of boring. Yours has lot of texture and interest. Nice!

  6. says

    Okay, seriously too many beautiful things in one post to comment on! Gorgeous, gorgeous photography, and I LOVE carrot cake… or pretty much carrot anything. Too good.

  7. says

    Happy Anniversary! Carrot cake is my absolute favorite (we had it at our wedding!) and yours looks so fantastic! I still need to try that attachment on my food processor too.

  8. says

    Love the mini-cakes! And I really like your pictures. My husband loves carrot cake (and is under the impression that its a “healthy” cake because it has carrots in it) and I always have forgotten carrots somewhere in the fridge so maybe I’ll do some baking this evening…

  9. says

    Happy Anniversary! The cake looks amazing, carrot is my husband’s favorite. He even wanted it for our wedding cake, but I vetoed that :)

  10. Nneka says

    how did i miss this carrot cake?! i might have to give this a try. the balzano cake is already in heavy holiday rotation :)

  11. Rachel says

    Hi! Did one recipe supply enough batter for the three mini spring form pans you used? What diameter are they? Thanks!

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