An Uncommon Birthday Cake

As I have read about blogging I have found out two (oops, three!) things:

  1. Successful bloggers seem to all be cooks
  2. Successful bloggers seem to all be photographers
  3. Successful bloggers call their husbands names like Marlboro Man or other clever titles

This is depressing information. I cook but I will never be on the food network. I make what I like to think of as wholesome and friendly meals. We never have boiled vegetables and I believe that, except for rare occasions, it should not take you longer to fix the meal then it takes your family to eat the meal. To that end I have become adept at chopping and sautéing onions and garlic quickly and using things like rice cookers and Trader Joe’s.

As for photography –  if I am the only one in my entire family around to take a picture of any of them, they will turn to a total stranger rather than have me ruin the photo. There’s something about framing the shot, keeping my hands still….I don’t know what it is. I can’t do it.

There is something I do extremely well. I make an uncommonly good carrot cake at least once a year for my husband’s birthday. When he was little, and his mom had her hands full with 4 little boys by the time she was 21, she told all of them to “Pick your cake and stick with it”. From then on, each of them knew that every year that favorite cake would be made on their birthday. My husband picked carrot cake. There is no other cake that even comes close.

My husband’s birthday was on Tuesday and after rushing home from work, sure that I had all the ingredients that would go into this 9″ by 11″ pan of goodness, I began the process. By 5pm the house smelled like a mixture of cinnamon and sweetness as it baked in the oven.

So here goes – all you’ll ever get from me are just a few recipes from Pakistan, the Middle East and Carrot Cake. But I promise, this one is worth every minute and muscle you spend in making it!

Coconut, Pineapple, Carrot Cake 

  • 1/2 bag of those little carrots
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Right at the beginning slice the little carrots into pieces. Put in saucepan and add a bit of water. Cook until semi soft. Put in food processor or equivalent and add some of the pineapple juice. Blend and set aside. Beat up those eggs! When they are whipped to a frenzy add in the light brown sugar. Beat that up until it is smooth and perfect looking. Then add the white sugar and do the same thing. Add the oil and beat until blended. Add in cinnamon, vanilla, baking powder and soda. Add 2 cups of flour and blend till smooth. Then add mashed carrots, coconut, pineapple and walnuts. Mixture will be dense. Put into greased 9″ by 11″ pan and bake for about 40 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool and then frost with your favorite cream cheese icing (not store-bought) I mix cream cheese, butter, icing sugar and vanilla and it’s great.

So this is my uncommon birthday cake and my consciously, subconscious attempt at competing with the big guys in the blogosphere!

14 thoughts on “An Uncommon Birthday Cake

  1. I love carrot cake, and also, I love your description of what successful bloggers need. Cracked me up! Glad you celebrated another fun birthday this past week :) So sweet that he still likes the same cake as when we was a child. My husband does too — only his is Boston Cream Pie.


  2. Hi Marilyn! It was fun to see that Cliff’s favorite bday cake is carrot. Mine is too–and my birthday is this week! I’ve copied your recipe:). We haven’t been in touch for years, but I’m thoroughly enjoying your blogs (my dad got me onto them) and find myself relating heart-to-heart with so many. You are GIFTED at expressing thoughts, feelings, experiences… thanks for sharing them. Lots of Pakistan memories! Carl and I moved 3 years ago to Lancaster County in PA, so are living almost on the east coast (after 6 years in the Philippines and 17 years in Colorado). Thanks again for blogging! ~Patty (Irwin!)


    1. Patty! Nice to see you here. I remember that your birthday was close to my mom’s. I do believe carrot cake was one that she liked as well. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Cliff! And yes, I am not a blogger. I don’t cook (well, occasionally), I don’t take pictures (I quit after my second child), and Tom will always be Tom.


  3. Marilyn it seems you should add a new niche as “eloquent blogger” — be the first successful eloquent blogger. I love reading your blogs after a long week at work.


  4. I cracked up at your list of things that make a blogger popular. It definitely seems to be that way! That’s probably why I spend so much time honing my cooking and photography skills while hunting for a man, to whom I can give a clever name ;).


    1. Haha! And you are very good at the first two so my guess is the man won’t be far behind! And lucky he will be!! It was Stef that first said to me, “Mom – you have to be able to take pictures! All successful blogs have pictures…!” So I will just accept mediocre.


  5. I hate to cook and I think I can take decent photographs, but I would never call myself a “photographer”. I call my husband “hubby” or by his real name most of the time so looks like I will have to settle for being a decent or mediocre blogger….but that is fine by me! :)
    I just enjoy blogging!


  6. i always like your cooking, marilyn. and i do like the rule that it shouldn’t take longer to cook than to eat — that’s why you ‘n me will never be interested in gourmet cooking! although i do like eating it….


    1. Marty, when we stayed with you guys on our first of several visits back to Cairo, Cliff said to me one day “I thought Marty couldn’t cook! Her meals have been really good…” .you even made crepes as I recall. So yes you and I will enjoy those who can gourmet.


  7. I a disagree with point 3… I’m a man, with a girlfriend… she’s not marlboro man… then again, perhaps I’m not successful and maybe I should take myself a husband… hmm. Delicious cake by the way, thanks for the success tips :P


    1. ha – good call! Ok, I should change that to say: Successful women bloggers seem to call their husbands by clever names! And your site looks awesome but proves my point about the success factor being related to recipes and photos!


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