Today was my daughter Alyssa's 12th birthday. She wanted a carrot cake. I told my son we had to make a cake for her and he asked, "Why don't you just buy one?" Good point, I thought, but for some reason I wanted to bake it for her. I had never made a carrot cake before so I found what seemed like a good recipe online. I don't have a food processor so I started shredding the carrots by hand on a box shredder. The first one went fast. By the time I got to the 5th carrot, my arms were getting tired and I tried to remember why I didn't go buy a cake. It would have been so much easier!
Then the aroma of whipped butter, sugar and vanilla wafted through my kitchen. I added the carrots and the batter transformed into a beautifully orange fluffy concoction. As it baked the kids all gathered around the oven to see how it was progressing. After about 25 minutes it was a wonderful golden brown color. I whipped the cream cheese and powdered sugar frosting while the cake cooled. Getting the cake out of the pan was definitely a challenge. First it got stuck, then it sort of came out in large chunks. But I pieced it together and smothered it with frosting before anyone could see the damage.
I brought out the cake. Alyssa's eyes widened and she smiled her beautiful smile. "It looks delicious, Mom." she said. We sang "Happy Birthday", she made her wish, and blew out her candles. I don't know what she wished for, but my wish had just come true. Yes, it would have been easier to buy her a cake, but all the hard work of shredding carrots was well worth the satisfaction of knowing I had created something special for her.
"Mom, this is amazing!" she said, taking her first bite.