Two years ago I started this blog.  Happy Anniversary to the Urban Baker!

I originally started blogging as a way to connect with family and friends who lived all over the country.  I thought it would be a great way to share milestones, the kids growth and our families travels. But then, somehow, it turned into something completely different.

I have always enjoyed being in the kitchen  and through it’s evolution, I saw my blog as a vehicle for creating, for lack of a better description, a virtual photo album for my kids of our journey through food.  I have three boys and they don’t always join me in the kitchen.  I wanted this to be somewhat of an heirloom piece, to be passed down to them. Lord knows, I am not in any photographs with them (as I am always the one with the camera in my hand), at the very least they will remember me not by what I looked like, but by how I shared my love through the food and celebration.


Never in a million years would I have thought that this blog would have brought me so much happiness and  satisfaction.  I have challenged myself in the kitchen, I have challenged myself with the camera and I have challenged myself with my voice.  I have made friends and created relationships that are deep, true and authentic.  And through these relationships, I have been introduced to a world, a somewhat virtual world, that is supportive, funny, creative, loving, and inspiring. I have a new found love and appreciation for all things culinary and I have changed the way I grocery shop, feed my family and plan my meals.

I am just a home cook, self taught, yet find ways to learn each and every day.  I am not a professional photographer, yet through other blogs and meeting amazing photographers; Penny de los Santos, Diane Cu + Todd Porter, Matt Armendariz, Aran Goyoaga and countless others, I have learned, grown and gone outside my comfort zone.  This blog has taught me that I am an eternal student.  This blog has kept me humble.

So, in my most humble voice, I raise a glass to you (and to me) and on this day, I say happy 2 year anniversary.  May we share many, many more years together!


Bill’s Big Carrot Cake
adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking, from my home to yours
yield: 10 very big servingsingredients:
for the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. salt
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup plump golden raisins
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggsfor the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 pound powdered sugar, sifted
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut

toasted coconut for garnish

• preheat oven to 325*.  butter 3 9″ x 2″ cake pans and dust with flour.  line the pans with parchment.
for the cake:
• whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  in another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut and raisins.
• working with a kitchen aid mixer, beat the sugar and oil together on medium speed.  add the eggs, one by one, beat until smooth.
• reduce the speed and add the flour and combine. mix in the chunky ingredients.  divide the batter between the three pans.
•bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pan from top to bottom, front to back.
• cool on racks for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. invert them and let them cool completely.
for the frosting:
• working with a kitchen aid mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until creamy.  gradually add the sugar and vanilla.  when combined add the coconut.
to assemble the cake:
• put one of the cakes on a cardboard cake round.  put a third of the frosting on the cake.  top with the second cake and repeat until all three cakes have been frosted.
• toast some additional coconut and then sprinkle the top of the cake with coconut.
• refrigerate the cake before eating.