Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cake Makes Everything Better

Since being hired as a director at Storey, I've struggled with the "boss" label; before coming here I was the boss of two very self-directed boys who don't take kindly to being bossed. My career before children was managerial, but somehow that knowledge fades to black when confronted by someone who just doesn't want to get into that stroller, that car seat, that bed at naptime. They don't respond to the patient reasoning that an employee often finds helpful, and you can't exactly fire them.

Now I have a department I'm immensely proud of, composed of Associate Publicist Alee Marsh and Senior Publicist Michelle Blackley. I couldn't be happier with what they accomplish, and I feel for them when they get a "no" or lose out on a placement for a book or an author. So when Michelle let me know that carrot cake was her choice for her office birthday celebration (and let's face it, office birthday celebrations are an oxymoron anyway), I researched my head off to find the perfect recipe. Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, I've discovered there really is no place like . . . Storey. I found a great recipe in Andrea Chesman and Fran Raboff's 250 Treasured Country Desserts, and on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I started Part One: The Cake and went on to Part Two, the frosting. Part Three, of course, was Michelle blowing out the candles!

Do you know how long it takes to grate three cups of carrots? A long time. Here's the start and the finish:

Do you know how good toasting walnuts makes your house smell? Fantastic, that's how.

The only modification I had to make to this recipe was the 20 minutes longer it took to cook than the cookbook originally stated. But no matter . . . Sam pronounced the finished cake "Yum."

The frosting is the classic cream cheese icing, which shockingly calls for an entire box of confectioners’ sugar (Little-Known Fact: I grew up in Lancaster County — Pennsylvania Dutch Country — and confectioners’ sugar there is called “icening sugar.” And you use it to icen a cake. True.)

So the frosting was mixed in nothing flat and onto the cake, with me madly slapping fingers of all three boys (The Husband included) out of the bowl.

And the final product — Happy Birthday Michelle!

And really, for a go-to for any dessert, check out 250 Treasured Country Desserts. Once again, it saved my bacon, er, carrot cake.

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