Happy First Day of May y’all! I’m BEYOND excited to share two things with you all today. FIRST, the gender of our sweet baby that we will be welcoming in September and SECOND, probably one of the BEST recipes I’ve ever made — Carrot Cake!!!
Okay, so I’ll start with the most exciting & important because I cannot hold it in a second longer!
We are having a sweet baby GIRL!!! 💞🎀💞🎀💞🎀
We are OVER THE MOON EXCITED! God is so so good & His timing couldn’t be more perfect!! We feel extremely blessed and are beyond grateful to have this happy news to share with everyone! **Also how cute is this pink gown converter with smocked bows?! My sweet sister-in-law, Maggye, sent this to us after we revealed the gender to our families a couple of weeks ago. She knows me all too well!! Cannot wait to see our baby girl wearing this!! 🥰
When I posted our baby announcement initially on Instagram I didn’t really go into much detail about the first trimester because I was JUST coming out of it and didn’t know what to expect for the second trimester.
To be completely honest, the first trimester was tough. We found out we were expecting in mid-January. And we were definitely on a high of excitement for a couple of weeks, but when week 6 hit I started to experience many of the common symptoms you hear about in the first trimester. I had constant nausea (like feeling car sick all day), extreme fatigue (some days I would literally lay on the couch for the majority of the day — which was such a weird experience for me because I love to be busy and NEVER take naps. Just ask my husband lol!), crazy food aversions that were super strong, and lastly some pregnancy blues. Honestly, it’s really hard for me to admit having the blues because we went through a long journey with infertility so having some blues made me feel guilty. Mainly because I knew this should be one of the happiest periods of my life. It felt super strange — it was like all of my energy and excitement were completely zapped for things that I absolutely love — like creating & cooking. My passions just weren’t there or as strong. I knew it was something that would pass but honestly, those few weeks felt like a few months. And I had an extreme amount of guilt for not feeling more motivated like I usually do. I prayed about it a lot and the Lord made it clear to me that it was time to REST MY BODY. And it sounds so silly, but I had to remind myself that I was growing a whole new human!! The extreme food aversions made it clear to me that I would have to cut back on testing and developing recipes for a season. Super thankful for my wonderful husband constantly uplifted me during this time & also made countless runs to the grocery store for random things like sherbet ice cream or chicken noodle soup from Whole Foods. He’s simply the best!
I now look back and realize that it was OKAY and a huge blessing to be able to REST. In our culture today, we feel rushed ALL. THE. TIME. — so when we are forced to slow down we can go a little cray or feel super guilty. I think many people have come to this realization over the past 7 weeks of social distancing with COVID-19. It’s important to realize that good things can come out of a season of REST or distancing. I won’t go super deep into it but Jesus often CHOSE to go into the wilderness before ministering to others. I came across this amazing article and studied the references to the wilderness in the Bible last fall when we were in the middle of what felt like wandering in the wilderness of infertility. It’s titled Coming Out of the Wilderness with Power and I would highly recommend reading it with everything that is going on in the world right now. If there is anything I’ve learned over the past few years is that God can bring something GOOD out of isolation or ANY SITUATION — no matter how tragic it may be.
I’m now 19 weeks and the second trimester has felt like night & day compared to the first! I’m so thankful to be feeling like myself & to have my energy and motivation back. I will admit that it’s been a very strange transition with having to be isolated at home with COVID-19. Let’s just say that I’ve been homebound for almost all of 2020 so far! Luckily the weather here in Mississippi has been BEAUTIFUL!! I definitely rely on my daily walks to get outside to avoid feeling trapped inside. I’ll have my 20-week anatomy scan on Monday — we are praying that our baby girl is healthy and everything goes smoothly!
Okay, now for the CARROT CAKE!!! I was tempted to split this into two separate posts, but I made a carrot cake for Easter and we did a Zoom gender reveal with our families since everyone is back in Texas & Jaxon isn’t allowed to travel. For the reveal, I made the middle layer of icing pink. It wasn’t the exact gender reveal that we had imagined but it was super fun & sweet! Definitely an experience we will always talk about & remember!
If I had to pick one of the BEST things I’ve ever made it would probably be this cake, no exaggeration! In fact, it’s probably going to be my #1 suggestion to people from now on. IT’S THAT GOOD AND SUPER EASY!! The key ingredients are buttermilk (makes it SUPER MOIST but doesn’t fall apart), extra-large eggs, and a perfect balance of carrots, walnuts, and raisins. Oh and most importantly — THE BEST CREAM CHEESE ICING!! Just take my word for it and make it this weekend! Your family will be blown away. I’m not just saying this from my own feedback, but mainly from Jaxon who said this is the best thing I’ve ever made & also friends who said the EXACT same thing! It’s sweet to think that this recipe was “born” for our baby girl’s gender reveal! It was too sentimental for me to break into two separate posts. Hope y’all enjoy this classic recipe for YEARS & YEARS to come. I know that it will be a recipe that will be passed down for generations in our own little family. Thanks for all of your support & reading this entire post if you made it to the end! Much love!
YIELDS 12 SERVINGS
PREP TIME: 20-25 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 45 MINUTES
For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 extra-large eggs, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon rum extract
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 pound carrots, peeled & grated
For the cream cheese frosting:
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
⅛ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
6 cups confectioner’s sugar
For the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Butter & flour 2 (9-inch) round cake pans.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the sugar, oil, and eggs until they are pale yellow.
- Add the buttermilk slowly and mix until combined. Then add the vanilla and rum extract.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
- In a small bowl, toss the walnuts and raisins with 2 teaspoons of flour. Add them to the batter until combined.
- Using a spatula, fold in the grated carrots by hand.
- Divide the batter evenly between the greased and floured cake pans. I like to add 1 cup at a time to each pan to ensure they have the same amount of batter.
- Bake for exactly 45 minutes. Test to see if the cake is done by inserting a toothpick in the center of both cakes. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, continue baking for another 5 minutes and check with a toothpick again.
- Cool the cakes in the pan for 20 minutes.
- Carefully, invert the cake onto a wire cooling rack and finish cooling completely before icing. *If you are in a pinch and the cakes are still slightly warm to the touch — put them in the refrigerator uncovered before icing.
For the cream cheese frosting:
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the softened cream cheese and butter on medium speed until completely combined.
- Turn the mixer down to low and add the vanilla and salt.
- Very slowly, add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until combined. After all the powdered sugar has been added, whip on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- To ice the cake, place one of the layers onto a cake stand with the round side facing down. The flat side should be facing up.
- Use an offset spatula to ice the middle layer.
- Place the second layer on top, with the flat side facing down and the round facing up.
- Use the remaining icing to ice the top and sides.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?
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