Sometimes, birthdays have a way of sneaking up on us.
This year (and don't tell him I told you this!) my husband Mark's birthday shimmied into town way before I was ready!
He was on tour, so it's not like he was around to remind me and I had the kids and I was finishing my novel and teaching yoga... I have legit excuses!
Anyhow, the night before his birthday (he was scheduled to fly in the next day), the boys and I stood in the kitchen looking at each other trying to figure out what to do.
We pulled out crayons and construction paper and made cards and a sign and then my four year old had a brilliant idea.
"Let's make daddy a birthday cake!"
"C-A-K-E!!!" my 21 month old shrieked recognizing something he loved to eat.
My husband is not big on sweets but he does love carrot cake.
The boys and I piled into the van and headed to the grocery store to quickly stockpile the necessary ingredients and get started on our birthday surprise.
The basis for this recipe came from The Joy of Cooking but I had substitutions in mind:
-Greek yogurt for moisture
-Pecans not walnuts (he doesn't like walnuts for some odd reason)
-Grade B maple syrup to replace the white sugar
-Pineapple for sweetness and moisture
-Almond flour to keep the cake light and fluffy
-Coconut oil instead of butter (healthier and worked with my coconut twist on the recipe with the addition of shredded coconut)
-Rose essence for the frosting (coconut and rose flavors are so complimentary)
-I almost bought purple carrots then decided against it- I didn't want to be too weird. I'll save the purple ones for another recipe...
Here's what we needed for our cake recipe:
1 cup unrefined organic coconut oil
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
3 cups shredded carrots (I totally cheated and brought them pre- shredded. There's just not enough time in the day...)
8 oz. crushed pineapple in fruit juice
4 large eggs
1 cup maple syrup (real grade B)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Then for the frosting:
4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons rose water
Dried rose petals
Here's how we did it:
Once the oven was preheated to 325 degrees we set to work.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, we combined with a whisk ( to really break up the almond flour which has a tendency to clump) the all purpose flour, the almond flour, the baking soda, the baking powder and the sea salt.
Once fully combined, we added the nutmeg and cinnamon and set the bowl aside to focus on the wet ingredients.
First, we combined the coconut oil, eggs and vanilla extract, whisking until fully blended.
Next, we added the Greek yogurt, maple syrup and brown sugar, whisking until blended and smooth.
Into the mix we added the crushed pineapples, shredded carrots, shredded coconut and crushed pecans.
When this was blended completely we folded in our dry ingredient bowl.
I greased (with coconut oil) and lined (with parchment paper) two 8x8 round cake tins and filled each 3/4 to the top with batter.
Before bed, the boys and I mixed the cake ingredients together and popped the two rounded cake tins into the oven. Our coconut carrot cake with rose buttercream frosting was coming to life!
40 minutes later, the cake was cooling and I was making the frosting.
In a bowl I combined the powdered sugar and softened butter and blended as I added the rose essence and Greek yogurt. Once my frosting was perfectly smooth and creamy, I set it aside until my cake was fully cooled (about an hour).
I frosted the middle layer first making sure that my layer of frosting was nice and thick. With the rest I decorated the top and sides.
For my final artistic touch, I sprinkled gorgeous dried rosebuds on top and anointed the sides of the cake with shredded coconut.
Can I just tell you how absolutely delectable it all smelled!
It was so hard not to dig in right there on the spot.
But I managed to hold out until the birthday boy came home.
Not to brag, but the cake was epic. As Mark said, "you need to break this one out on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter"- epic.
And there you have it. The story of our coconut carrot cake with rose buttercream frosting.
May you enjoy this recipe as well for birthdays and holidays to come!
Pure bliss I promise you!