It is not, however, how I made my carrot cake. I have a baby, remember? And although I have a husband that can sometimes help entertain her while I cook, bake, clean, shower, etc., he was busy yesterday afternoon mowing our yard. Unless we strap her down to the mower-- which sounds like a rather inviting idea some days-- he cannot help me with her while dealing with landscaping. So, I was on my own.
Now, there was a (brief) time when Amelia enjoyed helping me in the kitchen. I would strap her into her chair, and she would bat at the toys dangling above her or slobber all over the toys that I put in her lap. She would be happy for about an hour. Those days are pretty much over, at least for right now. This is because my darling daughter is working on becoming mobile. She is constantly kicking, slamming, waving, pinching, and pulling on whatever she can get her little limbs on. Therefore, being strapped down is not an option that she cares for. Even when I take the risk of not strapping her into her chair and keeping an extra good eye on her so she can wiggle a bit more in the chair, she is only happy for a few additional minutes.
Add to that an extra dose of whininess that has been going on for the past few days (a cold? teething? belly troubles? Who knows) and baking the birthday cake was a bit of a stressful event. Generally, I love to cook and bake. Yesterday, I couldn't wait for the whole event to be over.
Here is how you REALLY bake a carrot cake when simultaneously caring for a baby:
Gather ingredients. Start peeling carrots. Baby begins some minor whining. Stop peeling carrots so you can put her bib on and give her a chunk of banana in her mesh teether. This will keep her occupied for about two minutes. Turn off oven which is almost preheated because you now have to stop the whole production and feed her. And, if it takes an extra long time to feed her, your house will be ridiculously hot by the time you're done if you leave it on.
Ten minutes later, turn oven back on, put baby back in her chair, and resume peeling/grating carrots. She begins throwing a great big fit as evidenced here:
**As a side note, yes, I am a mean mommy who takes pictures of her child having temper tantrums. All these sticky sweet pictures of babies sleeping and smiling is not the true story of being a parent. I'm keeping it real here, people.**
Now I have to stick her someplace new. Let's see, she likes her exersaucer, I'll put her there. Insert baby, put several toys on the tray, give her a big smile and make fake happy noises. Return to kitchen. Stir sugar and eggs together and note that whining has resumed. Ignore. Add half of flour. Realize that whining is verging on tears. Go back into living room and frantically search for cartoons on TV. Why are there no cartoons on Saturday afternoon on any of the six PBS channels?!? And how have we lived here for almost four years without cable???? Take a deep breath and pop her Baby Einstein DVD in (thank you, Grandma and Grandpa Baltzell, what a great Christmas gift).
Let's see. Still need to finish cake batter. Mix in oil, rest of flour. Stir in carrots and coconut. Wait... I hear whining/crying again... AGAIN?! She doesn't want to watch Baby Einstein? Maybe she is tired of standing. Go into living room, lift her out of exersaucer, sit her on the floor and put boppy pillow around her to ensure safety, surround with toys. Watch eyes glaze over. Ah, good. Return to kitchen, spray pan, put batter in, pop in oven.
I think you get the drift. This whining/crying also occurred at the precise moment that I needed to remove the hot cake pan from the oven, mix up the frosting, and again in the evening when it was time to apply the frosting. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure I frosted the cake while holding her on my hip.
And yet, look how beautifully the cake turned out: