Many of you who know me personally are aware that my mom passed away last fall after battling breast cancer for a number of years. Today is one year exactly that she's been gone. My husband asked me: What should we do to mark the day? The first thing that came to me was to do something she enjoyed or to eat something she liked. Isn't it funny how we associate certain foods with certain people or times in our lives?
My mom was famous for her carrot cake. She made it for almost every birthday in our family - four times a year at least, for almost 30 years.
Here's from the Summer of '85 - my first carrot cake and my brother's third:
It was a recipe that she had cut out of the newspaper long ago and passed on to each of us in the family at different stages, as we moved off on our own, so that we could continue the tradition of this beloved cake.
So, this morning I got out mom's old faithful Cuisinart to chop carrots and nuts. I mixed the rest of the ingredients and poured them into mom's cake pans. I keep a picture of her on my window ledge in the kitchen, enjoying a homemade waffle cone in Copenhagen on one of our many trips. I glanced up at her as I worked, remembering all the times we made this cake together.
As the cakes baked, they filled the house with the most wonderful aroma. Oh, that smell! It is amazing how much scents are tied to memory.
After they came out and cooled, I whipped my frosting and decorated the cake. A simple message filled the middle: Mutti, our name for mom, a remnant of her German heritage.
Tonight we will eat this lovely cake together and remember a life filled with love. What better way to honor the memory of someone who brought such sweetness to our lives?
Here's my copy of the recipe, copied down from the old newspaper column mom had in her cookbook. I swapped applesauce for oil, one-for-one.