News/Culture >> Browse Articles >> Food Writing


Maple Walnut Carrot Cake

Maple Walnut Carrot Cake

Isabel Cowles Murphy | Chef's Blade

I am predisposed to love Fall There’s no better season than the onset of fall, I say, with its cool currents slipping in under the warm air; the sound of geese squeaking in the morning, shuttering in their bulbous bodies before they decide to fly away. And nothing beats wild grapes along the side of the road—I love their sweet, sour smell hanging in the air, ready to surprise two bicycling nostrils.

But what I love most about Fall is its people. My sister, my father, both of my grandfathers, my mother and father in law (to be), and me, too… all Fall babies. All of those lives coming into the world is really something to cheer about. Clearly our forefathers were having fun at Christmastime—and happened to make a long string of personal holidays nine months later.


Final mix

This year I had a beautiful day, full of cupcakes, good wine and some twenty-five elementary students singing me the birthday song over a batch of recently baked zucchini muffins. It was quite blissful, especially since I’m currently anticipating a lot of wonderful changes…none the least of which is a trip down the aisle a week hence—followed promptly by a long drive down Highway 1.

But before once celebration is swallowed by another, I’d like to take a moment and pay homage to the homage recently paid to my sister Lily, who turned a year wiser this month. May she eat carrots in the form of cake for decades to come. And may I always be the one to bake them that way.


Naked layer of cake.

We started the tradition of carrot cake last year, when I made some cupcakes. This year, things got a little more serious with the addition of some key, New England ingredients, and an added layer to a full-grown version. Even though we abandoned the diminutive cakes, we stuck with some important elements, including toasted walnuts and classic cream cheese frosting, smoothed on top, over the sides, and in a thick layer between. It was a great way to mark a year’s worth of improved baking. Just a subtle, nutty and sweet hint of autumn’s favorite foods, folded into the batter and laced into the cake’s silky, white dress. God bless New England at the onset of fall—and hip hip hooray for all the lovers out there. The holidays are just around the corner.