Birthday Cake Tradition

Happy Birthday, William

Happy Birthday, William

It’s Will’s birthday. He would be 26. I do imagine where he would be and what he would be doing today. For sure he would have blown out some candles and made a wish. Happy birthday, William. This cake is for you. It has lots of warm spices in it and no nuts. Your favorite.

A heartfelt thank you to all who “Willed it” this week. Your stories made me laugh and your good deeds are so appreciated. The best gifts ever. Here are a couple of wonderful messages from some loving friends:

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. Gone, but not forgotten.


The heart is the seat of the soul and the center of courage, love and wisdom…wishing you all of these today and always.


Happy Birthday William. You are and always will be much loved.

3 layers

3 layers

Carrot Cake

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied (crystallized) ginger
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur or OJ if you don’t like alcohol
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 cups grated peeled carrots (about 1 pound


  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons Madagascar vanilla bean creme fraiche or vanilla yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

For cake:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly spray three 9-inch cake pans with no-stick baking spray. Line bottom of pans with waxed paper. Lightly spray waxed paper. In small bowl, toss raisins, ginger and grand marnier; set aside. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and vegetable oil in bowl until combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. In large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. With mixer on low speed, gradually add dry ingredients.  Stir in carrots and raisin mixture. Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and cakes begin to pull away from sides of pans, about 45 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks. Remove wax paper. Cool completely. (Can be made 1 or 2 day ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic and store at room temperature.)

For frosting:

Using electric mixer, beat all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth and creamy.

Place 1 cake layer on platter. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with another cake layer. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting in over sides and top of cake. Chill cake in refrigerator until ready to serve.