Neva (my late Mom Mom)’s carrot cake recipe is flawless. It's got the most perfect texture combination between the moist, rich cake and the crunchy, pecany (is that a word?) frosting. People literally lined up for one of these beauties. It even won a blue ribbon at the North Carolina State Fair. Note: to make your own self-rising flour, whisk together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 3 tsp. baking powder, and 1/2 tsp. salt. This cake can be frozen. Simply wrap in foil. —Mary Catherine Tee
Line 3 round 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and heat the oven to 350*F. Add sugar, oil, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to a bowl. Beat well.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add slowly to the sugar/oil mixture, stirring to incorporate.
Fold in the carrots. Divide among 3 prepared pans.
Bake for 30 minutes. Once cake passes the toothpick test, remove from oven and cool on wire racks.
For the filling/frosting, use an electric mixer to mix the confectioners' sugar, butter, remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla, and cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth. Turn off mixer. Add chopped pecans and mix on medium-low speed until nuts are incorporated. Refrain from eating all of it with a spoon. Spread between layers and on the side and top of cake once the cake has cooled completely.
I’m an old soul. My favorite Saturday morning activity is watching birds on the feeder while drinking strong, black coffee out of my favorite hand-thrown mug. My favorite place to kill time is in antique stores. The less organized the better. I like full-bodied red wines and bitter IPAs. I live for feeling the warmth of sunshine and hearing the stillness of freshly fallen snow. I can thank my stint in Alaska for that. I have salt water in my veins, having grown up in Eastern NC, and (shhh…don’t tell any of my Mainer friends this about me) I prefer blue crab over lobster.