Hot Polka Dot

Cookie + Cake = Lee’s Carrot Cake

Don't you just love birthdays? Even someone else's birthday. Actually especially someone else's birthday. I know everyone says this and doesn't really mean it, but truly I love giving presents way more than receiving them. More than that, I love to make someone feel special. I love the thrill of planning little surprises to catch them off guard or keep them guessing. I love to make people smile.

That must be why I love to bake so much. It's got to be one of the best ways to make people instantly happy. How can you not smile when you bite into a freshly baked Lemon Blueberry Streusel Muffin, a chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie or a Hazelnut Brown Butter Cupcake? Ok well maybe you wouldn't smile as you bite into it. That would be messy. But after there would be a definite smile cracking those crumbly lips.

I also love that mumbling cacophony of off beat voices when you get to that certain part the birthday song where everyone says something a little different. Happy birthday dear... It gets me giggling every time.

But I digress.

It was Lee's birthday last Monday and I wanted to make him something he would love. Carrot Cake is his favourite so that was a clear winner, but I was itching to do something a little different, something more. He was telling me recently about birthdays from his childhood and these Jeanne's Bakery cakes from Winnipeg. Apparently they have a Shortbread cookie layer on the bottom so that got me thinking. Carrot Cake with a Snickerdoodle Cookie Crust and Cream Cheese Icing. Yes. That's the ticket. Because my favourite person deserves only the best.


Eat Your Veggies.

Like many children it was difficult to make me eat my vegetables. I used to dream up new and creative ways to hide away my peas, carrots, corn, beans, etc. Some weren't so original like stuffing all the vegetables into my mouth then conveniently having to go to the washroom afterwards only to flush them into the toilet. That one backfired once when I got caught by my wise parents and I had to endure a car ride across town where I was made to stay in the car until I was finished my macerated mouthful of corn. I still won that round since while my parents were inside visiting with my grandparents I spit the corn into the backseat ashtray.

Another dinner my mom made a deal with me. If I ate my peas then I didn't have to eat the rest of my mashed potatoes. So of course, when no one was looking, I stuffed my few peas under the mound of remaining potatoes. I thought I was pretty sly but when my dad scraped the food into the garbage and the potatoes flipped over it was pretty obvious.

The most masterful of my vegetable disappearing acts was yet to come. Our kitchen table was extendable with a leaf in the middle, but we normally kept it small. That fact was to my advantage since it made a nice little shelf underneath the table with which I could abscond unwanted vegetables. The key was to dispose of the evidence later so no one would find my secret hiding place, but one night I forgot a pile of peas. Days later while my dad was mopping the floor he moved the chairs and table so he could get at the linoleum underneath. As he shifted the table out spilled hundreds of wrinkly dehydrated little peas that skittered over the floor with a pitter patter I will not soon forget.

Today I attempted to atone for my vegetable misdeeds by baking cupcakes out of vegetables. Hey, you have to get your vitamins somehow right? Why not through deliciously moist, adorably tiny, beautifully spiced, prettily frosted cakes?


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