November 8, 2010

The Dessert Loving State of Arkansas

You know a state takes its desserts seriously when the state's First Lady hosts a pie contest at the state fair. (Missouri's First Lady also hosts a pie contest, too.) Click HERE for a previous year's winning chocolate pie recipe from Arkansas.

First Lady of Arkansas Ginger Beebe points out on her website that 38 percent of Arkansas youth are obese compared to the national average of 29 percent. Click HERE for some of the fun and HEALTHY recipes she shares on her site.

So in search of a healthier dessert I found a carrot cake recipe from David and Ruth Glass.

David Glass grew up in Missouri, but is the previous CEO of Wal-Mart based in Bentonville, Arkansas. David has been CEO of the Kansas City Royals since 1993, and I found their family recipe for this dessert in a charity cookbook "From Our Plate to Yours" with recipes from Royals players and management that was a benefit for The Children's Place. The note below the title reads — I'm thinking this if from Ruth — "This is a very old recipe that never fails. Good for new brides and dessert loving husbands."

Grating carrots might be more fun than eating them.

David and Ruth Glass' Carrot Cake
4 eggs
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, chopped (we left this out, but added ½ cup of raisins)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups carrots, grated (about 1½ small packages of regular-sized carrots)

8 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
16 oz package powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Beat 4 eggs well then stir in oil and sugar. Mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl, then combine with other mixture. Stir in carrots and pecans. Grease and four two 9" cake pans and pour ingredients into pans. (Inspired by Ina Garten's Parties! cookbook carrot cake cupcake recipe, we opted to make cupcakes instead of one big cake. There was enough batter for 24 cupcakes and a mini-bread loaf.)

It can be messy prep, but it's worth the extra work.
Bake at 350 degrees until cake is no longer doughy. (We baked our cupcakes about 35 minutes.) When finished baking, cool in pans for 10 minutes then invert onto wire racks. Cool completely (may refrigerate.)

Icing: Combine cream cheese and butter, beating until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Ice cakes after completely cooled.

In his fun and informative cookbook, United Cakes of America, Warren Brown states that this scrumptious version we know today that's paired with cream cheese was published in a women's club cookbook in Wichita, Kansas, in 1929. (Not sure I'd think of Kansas as being in the vanguard of carrot recipes.) But tossing carrots in cakes goes back even further. T.W. Barritt at his blog 'Culinary Types' shares more about the event where George Washington was served a carrot tea cake in New York City in 1783.

"The Giant Carrot" by Jan Peck, illustrated by Barry Root
"The Carrot Seed" by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Crockett Johnson

See the Warner Brothers' Bugs Bunny Hopping Carrot Hunt game HERE.
Check out this soundtrack "Bugs Bunny at the Symphony" for some entertaining music from the one and only famous rabbit while cookin' up this tasty carrot recipe.

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