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giveaway winner!

17 Mar

Thanks for all of your wonderful comments on your favorite cakes. It certainly gave me a hankering for cake.

If you haven’t checked out the gorgeous cake tester’s by Beth, you need to do so now.

cake tester 2

The winner of the cake tester is Colleen from Forty Something Bride. Yay Colleen! See her comment below.

“My favourite cake is the gluten free carrot cake made at a local bakery. You’d never know it was gluten free – it tastes awesome! That is a beautiful cake tester – it would come in handy.”

Colleen, please email me your address and we’ll get the cake tester out the door this week. jenhjelle at hotmail dot com.  And while you’re at, you can send me a piece of that carrot cake. :)

my favorite carrot cake (and a giveaway!)

11 Mar

I have laryngitis.

For real. I cannot make a sound. All I can do is whisper. Brette thinks it’s hysterical. The dog is a bit wigged out. I’m annoyed. I’ve had to reschedule a number of meetings. That’s not really the annoying part though. The annoying part is that I love to talk and I can’t!

Along with the laryngitis is a super weird cold that can’t make up it’s mind. Congestion, headache, sneezing, and some general fatigue have all made an appearance.

Brette hasn’t been feeling well either so it’s pretty rockin’ at our house lately.

Oh, and I went vegan for lent. So no chicken noodle soup to cheer me up.

I do know what will cheer me up though….writing about cake and a giveaway!

I received an awesome gift in the mail from my friend (and my sister’s bff), Diane.  Diane is one of those people that you just love immediately. She has 6 kids (sainthood!), has about 38 different businesses, is one of the most creative people I’ve met, throws a mean Halloween party, and keeps my sister in line. Therefore,  I consider her family.  The fact that there was a package from her in my mailbox was all to exciting! I love getting mail and I love it more when it’s a package with something beautiful inside.

Diane’s daughter Beth is very talented and creative (the apple does not fall far) and has created these beautiful cake testers. I fell in love with it instantly. She even sent me one that matches my kitchen – sweet!

What’s even sweeter? Beth offered to give one of these testers away to a lucky reader. How awesome is that?

It seriously is adorable and I love the charm on the top that says ‘hand made with love’. Since cakes should be made with love, this seems to be a perfect match. They are simply beautiful.

She has a few different varieties on her site that you need to check out. I think these would make great mother’s day gifts, housewarming gifts, or certainly an anytime gift to a baker.

The best part of getting this in the mail was it meant that I HAD to bake a cake. I certainly had to test the product, right? It’s for research. I had to.

I put a call out on facebook for people’s favorite cake and it was pretty overwhelmingly red velvet.  I was set to go with that, but then two things happened.

1. A friend reminded me of the carrot cake Brette made on Easter last year to celebrate the end of no sugar. It was incredibly awesome. (thanks for the reminder Steff!)

2. We were invited to Willa’s for dinner, it happened to be within two days of her birthday, and her favorite cake is carrot cake.

So, carrot cake it was.

Between Brette and I, there have been several tweaks to this recipe. Here are a few things you should know about it.

  • There are no raisins or pineapple in this cake – I’m a purist. Only carrots and nuts allowed.
  • This cake is not a health food.
  • This cake is not vegan. It’s not gluten-free. It’s not lactose-free. It’s not really anything-free.
  • This cake is so good. It’s not to dense, it’s incredibly moist (I cringed typing that), and the flavor is perfect with the warm spices, sweet carrots, and the nuttiness of the pecans. Carrot cake is my absolute favorite and this version is the best I’ve had. And I’ve had a lot.

I put the cake tester to work and ya know what? It worked great and it was way more fun to use than a toothpick. I’ve never felt so stylin’ in my kitchen. It makes me want to bake even more. This could be dangerous.

Carrot Cake

serves 10-16 depending on how generous you are with the portions

Adapted from

Note: You can make this in either 2, 9-inch round pans or a 9×13 pan.

For the cake:

4 eggs

3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil

1/2 cup coconut oil (or substitute more veg oil or you probably could go just 1 1/4 cup coconut oil if you were feeling crazy)

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 cups grated carrots (a food processor or box grater work the best)

1 cup chopped pecans

For the frosting:

1/2 cup butter, softened

8 oz cream cheese, softened

4 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter (or spray) and flour your pan(s) of choice.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white and brown sugar and the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Slowly add into the wet ingredients, but don’t over mix.

Stir in carrots and then fold in 1 cup of chopped pecans.

Pour into prepared pan(s).

Bake for 25-30 minutes for round pans and 40-50 minutes for 9×13 pan, rotating the pan(s) halfway through.  Test with your cake tester and if it comes out clean, it’s done.

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

For the frosting, combine butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Beat with a hand mixer or stand mixer until mixture is smooth and creamy. It takes a little bit for it all to come together so be patient. Frost the cooled cake and sprinkle with 1 cup chopped pecans. I frosted each layer and then around the the sides. I had just enough frosting. Okay, so I had a little bit left that I used as a filling for a graham cracker sandwich. I hate to see anything go to waste.

So, for the giveaway! Beth is giving away the design below. It’s gorgeous and sparkly and will make cake baking all that more exciting.

cake tester 1

To be eligible to win this beautiful cake tester, you can enter a number of ways (and each way if you’d like).

1. Leave a comment with your favorite cake.

2. Follow me on Twitter (and leave a comment that you did so).

3. Tweet about the giveaway and let me know you did: @jensaidso is having a sweet cake tester giveaway at!

The contest will remain open until Monday (3/14) at 5 p.m.  I will pick a winner at random.

In the meantime, check out Beth’s site to see all of the other beautiful designs.

Oh, and make the carrot cake while you’re at it.