One of my co-workers loves carrot cake and in the interest of promoting a collegial work environment and getting my requests expedited at all times, I made him one for his birthday today. I have a good carrot cake recipe but because my plan to win the Nobel Prize in baking requires me to always challenge myself to do better, I wanted to try a new one. So I turned to one of my trusted sources, Deb at Smitten Kitchen. Sure enough, she had a lovely recipe and pictures that filled me with toxic levels of jealousy inspired me.

Deb has chopped walnuts as an optional ingredient but rather than fold them into the cake batter I opted to use them on the outside of the cake. I have always loved the chopped-nuts-on-the-side-of-the cake trick as it looks so pro and yet hides a multitude of sins and culinary failings.

The cake almost didn’t make it because of this sneaky beagle:

It was probably the Maple Cream Cheese frosting that spoke to me in this recipe because seriously? you could get me to eat just about anything if you work the word “maple” into the title. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really detect the maple in the finished product. Next time I might add a little maple extract and see if that helps.

The recipe worked beautifully, the cake was a big hit and elicited my favorite compliment whenever I bake: “You made this?  I thought it was from a bakery!” I can personally assure you that it is absolutely delicious and everything you could want in a carrot cake.

Oh, and Happy Birthday Herb!!!

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting, from Smitten Kitchen.