carrot zucchini flower cakes with lemon cream cheese icing
hope you all had a wonderful easter and celebrated His resurrection with family, friends, and good food. for me, i spent a portion of my morning prepping these baby cakes for a potluck later in the afternoon, attended easter service, rode citibikes over to have pho for lunch with a friend, went back home to finish up the cakes, and went on my way to this potluck where i nibbled for six hours straight. the cakes were also hit!
as for other things in life, i’ve been reflecting a lot about purpose, prioritization, and where my heart is lately. i do this maybe once a month where i have a stare down with my existence and question why i do the things i do. hormones. they’re wild and also so under-appreciated. is it just me or do they also challenge in the realest ways?
i spun in so many circles so for some resolve, i threw my bible open on my bed hoping that i’d be blessed by whatever section it opened to. i was pleasantly surprised because i landed on the book of haggai which is short, sweet, and basically a big fat lesson on prioritization. woooop! here’s a little snippet from the note section:
it is easy to make other priorities more important than doing God’s work. But God wants us to follow through and build up his kingdom. don’t stop and make excuses. set your heart on what is right and do it. get your priorities straight.
if God gives you a task, don’t be afraid to get started. His resources are infinite. God will help you complete it by giving you encouragement from others along the way
and if you were curious about context on the book of haggai…basically the babylonians destroyed the main temple of jerusalem and folks became so discouraged from rebuilding that they decided to build up their own homes. they couldn’t see the point in investing their time and resources in rebuilding a new temple so this prophet haggai started calling people out (in a kind and caring way). he encouraged them to prioritize building what was most important, which was v.2 of the temple (God’s house).
in this day and age, we don’t really have to focus on building a ruined temple but the bible has so many lessons and metaphors that you can relate to. in 2019, building a place or medium for worship can look like so many things - a physical church, a podcast, an album on spotify, or maybe even building an entire mountain in the middle of coachella valley and broadcasting it live for the world to see.
in the mediums of worship in my life - this blog, professional work, and relationships feel so tiny and so completely negligible to the greatest work that’s ever been done, which Easter reminds us of and brings us to every year. going back to what i was talking about up there, i’ve definitely felt that in my day to day, i had no idea how my work added up and had doubts about how all of this is working towards building the greatest kingdom. i’m learning to remind myself that because i’ve been called to this work, i have to condition and train my heart to keep its intentions in the right place.
i’m sure that something will be revealed along the way (just like these little insights from speaking in circles) to provide the assurance i need to keep going. so in the meantime, it’s all 1 corinthians 10:31 baby:
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
HIYA!!! *existential crisis over and now it’s time to talk about cake*
and so! onto the easter celebration cakes. who knows why we eat carrot cake, marshmallow, and chocolate on easter. i searched for the meaning of all of these traditions on google and eggs and a hare supposedly symbolize for rebirth, something about germany, and so on. it all makes very little sense to me but whatever, commercialized holiday traditions are all so silly yet enjoyable. and i’m not mad about having an occasion to eat more carrot cake :)
like a lot of things that i eat in adulthood, i think of my mom and how she bred a love of particular foods. this time around, i thought about why i have so much love for carrot cake. we would pick up the refrigerated carrot cake squares from 7-11 and enjoy them together in the car while waiting on my sister to finish her piano lessons or beeline for them at the dessert bar at buffets. there was also this one single time where kathy (my mom) felt inspired to contribute to a bake sale so she innovated off of a box of duncan hines carrot cake box mix and threw in some zucchini. imho, it was pure genius and deliciousness all in these little aluminum pans. the zucchini and olive oil all lends rich moistness along with satisfaction from knowing that you’re getting in some healthy fats and vegetable in by way of cake.
this recipe makes 12 little cakes so if you can’t consume them all, be a fairy and give some love away in form of carrot zucchini cake to your friends, neighbors, doormen, and lyft drivers. it’ll for sure put a smile on their faces!
carrot zucchini flower cakes with lemon cream cheese icing
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup olive oil
2 cups brown sugar
1.5 cup finely grated zucchini
1 cup finely grated carrot
2 tbsp finely grated ginger
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup crushed walnuts (optional)
cream cheese icing
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp softened cream cheese
1/2 lemon juice
herbs like rosemary and thyme
pre baking prep
bring 3 eggs to room temperature (~30 minutes before baking). this is crucial!
set 3 tbsp of cream cheese on counter to soften
cake and oven prep: apply nonstick spray into interior of bundt pan. i used these beautiful bundlette pans from target
set oven to 350 degrees
in a medium bowl, sift flour + baking powder + cinnamon + salt together and set aside
using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer or hand mixer, mix your *room temp* eggs + sugar and for 4-5 minutes on a low speed until evenly combined and a light brown in color
steady stream olive oil into egg/sugar mixture and mix for 1-2 minutes
slowly pour in dry ingredients in 1/4 increments into the wet mixture until evenly combined (~30 seconds to 1 minute). try to limit the mixing action as much as possible
fold in zucchini + carrot + ginger + lemon + vanilla extract + walnuts into mixture
fill pans 3/4 up with cake mixture and bake for 45-50 minutes or until tops and edges are golden brown
if you don’t have 2 pans, keep remainder of batter refrigerated while the first round of cakes bake
remove cakes from oven and let it cool down for at least 15 minutes before releasing from pan
icing and decorating
in a medium size bowl, combine powdered sugar and softened room temp cream cheese using a spoon. you have to beat the cream cheese into submission and stir/pound the cream cheese into the sugar until its evenly mixed in as possible
once you’re convinced that there’s zero to no room for thinning, squeeze lemon juice (1 tablespoon at a time) into your cream cheese sugar mixture and stir until mixture is thin enough to lift your spoon from the bowl and you get this smooth silky stream. i’m out of words to describe what this sensation is, but here is a video. feel free to squeeze additional lemon juice until you get to that smooth stream icing state
once cakes have cooled, dip the top side of the bundt cakes into bowl and shake to even out the coating
decorate tops with edible flowers and herbs like rosemary and thyme