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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Carrot cake and a book review !


An element of surprise wasn’t a particular trait that I was aiming through this post.

Scratching your head? Do through this before you continue reading.

Now that we are on the same page, the book chosen for the month by the members of This Book makes me Cook was- “My Life from Scratch” ( or also known as –“Starting over one cake at a time- One woman’s journey from movie executive to macaroons”) by Gesine Bullock-Prado.

Being the first book of its kind that I have read, I do not have much of a benchmark to go by. When I mean “its kind” or genre, the book can be described to be more like a memoir/auto-biography/cook-book. It is about a woman who follows her inner calling and goes on to do it quite marvelously. The woman Gesine, who also happens to be the sister of Sandra Bullock, leaves her Hollywood career to set up a bakery in Vermont. Why? Because that’s what she has been dreaming about for her entire life. In the book, she states how her true joy comes from the act of baking and not in the recognition she has gained from it.

The book is a very easy read and is extremely inspirational for those who are looking to set up their own bakery/business especially in the food industry.

One unique characteristic that I liked was the way she classified the book into various chapters as hours in her life at the bakery right from her waking hours till the daily closing of her bakery. Additionally, it includes a wonderful collection of authentic recipes at the end of every chapter like her mom’s/orgasm cake, focaccia, apple pie and traditional German recipes.

Other noteworthy attributes include the excellent vocabulary and her way with words. They just fit in perfectly especially in her descriptive narrations. Also, I admired the manner in which she administered the smooth transition from her life in the bakery to her earlier life at Hollywood and back.


The book is interspersed throughout with various tit-bits from her childhood in Germany and her earlier career at Hollywood. One of the most hilarious moments was her childhood Oreo stealing incident from her neighbour. I also particularly liked her anecdotes on the warm relationships she shared with each one of her family members be it the auspicious 3 pm Cake & Coffee time shared with her mom and her Omi (Grandma) or be it her star sister, who instead of honeymooning helps Gesine in the opening week of her bakery or her bonding with her dad due to the love of “forbidden foods”. But, it is her mom whose presence/absence is omnipresent throughout.

Both she and her husband, Ray not only shared close relationships with their employees but even with their regular customers including people from all age groups and all walks of life. The incident of the lady who requests for a chocolate mousse which was the first thing she ate after five years of her treatment for throat cancer, was heartrending.

She also perfectly answers some questions which naturally arise in any one’s mind or atleast which did in mine. Doesn’t this whole routine get monotonous?  To which, she beautifully says-  I’m making the same things as yesterday but it’s not monotonous. It’s a chance to make things better, or to transform the same old into something new. I find myself thinking about the people I love. And how I’ve loved them the same few people for most of my life but, like baking the identical things every morning, those relationships never get boring.

I purchased the e-book at kobobooks.com and am pretty glad that I also learned quite a bit on purchasing e-books and the whole experience of reading them. Well, I reserve the details for another post.

Moving on to the recipe.

I have chosen a Carrot cake, which Gesine baked for her friend’s birthday and the cake was loved by Sandra so much this cake went on to become her grand wedding cake as well, which obviously Gesine made.

I did not take the recipe from the book and instead used this one from Edible Garden by Nags. Used the exact same recipe except for the walnuts (only because my other half depleted our stock so promptly the day before I decided to make the cake!?!?!) and the cream cheese frosting (didn’t want to pack on further calories; but would definitely try it the next time around !).

Here are a few clicks of the same.


Pardon me for the utterly sub-standard pictures as I used my mobile phone to click the same.                                                           

Our Verdict:

It came out just as described in the original post- soft, moist, dense and uber-yumm !! My hubby detested the use of carrots in cake but as I had expected /desired (evil laugh !!!), he went on to finish the majority. To call it an improvement over my first carrot cake, would be an under-statement !

32 comments :

  1. so glad you liked it. thanks for the super sweet email letting me know about this post :)

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  2. That's so inspiring...I bet all her recipes are a hit!

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  3. i love carrot cake...quite a bit that i want 2 make it every other week, but hold back with great difficulty..sigh!

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  4. hi gayathri..i used store bought paste...its a local brand we get at the grocery store..but i do have a thai green curry paste recipe on my blog as well...

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  5. Carrot cake looks yummmyyyyy! You are becoming quite an expert, Gayathri :) I have unfortunately not found a love for cooking yet :P Hopefully some day soon :D

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  6. @ plateful..ya all her recipes sound pretty simple and she emphasizes on all real stuff like real butter , no artificial coluring etc
    @An open book..guess ur carrot is my chocolate! :) oh great! will hav a look at ur thai green curry recipe.
    @Dhanya..but u r earning and there is some value add, this is my (pseudo) way of value addition ! :)

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  7. wonderful write up..yummmmy recipe..:P

    Tasty Appetite

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  8. @Jay..thank u ! i agree..excellent recipe..

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  9. First time here....
    loved reading ur post....
    cake looks gr8.

    U have a wonderful space, glad to follow u :)

    Visit my space when u find time.

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  10. Thank u so much Aruna..Surely will do so !!!

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  11. This post is sweeter than the carrot cake :) :)

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  12. Hey thr Gayathri...Just stumbled up on or blog & in love with ur write ups!!!! Happy to follow u :)
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

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  13. Hey Prathima..Thank u so much for the awesome compliments !! :) :)

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  14. Heya Gayathri.. :) Reg ur Q on Choco-apple pancakes...I did not use any apple sauce..It was just freshly grated apples.. :) Do lemme know how it turns out...
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

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  15. @Prathima..Even better..!! Will definitely try it out and let u know..Thank u !

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  16. Nothing quite like a good cake!

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  17. @Ash..i completely agree and especially when u have baked it..bliss !!!

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  18. My favorite way to have carrots is this cake. looks delicious :)

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  19. Hey girl, I'm a die-hard fan of Judith McNaught. I have most of her novels and more than one favorite... :) She writes contemporary and modern too. Her best is...mmm.. Paradise! You stay in Doha right? Just gimme a shout if you are interested in borrowing my books. I do have a small collection of novels from other good authors too.

    Have a good weekend!

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  20. I think I would love to read that especially if it involves food and cooking and your cake looks moist and yummy.

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  21. @Divya..Totally and 100% agree.. :) :)
    @Plateful/Nashira..will take you up on that and speak to u soon
    @Umm Mymoonah..It's a great one for foodies to read..
    @Now serving..Thanks for that..!!

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  22. Hubs is head over heels in love with carrot cake ~ your version looks YUM!
    US Masala

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  23. Thank u so much aipi..! Loved ur space..

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  24. Cake looks simply delicious and tempting.. thanks for the awesome recipe.. First time here.. You have a nice space here.. Happy to follow you :)
    Indian Cuisine

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  25. @Harichandana..The recipe is truly a keeper. ! thanks for the support !! :)

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  26. Wow lovely post.. loved it a lot :)

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  27. Thanks Pavithra for stopping by ! Do keep dropping in..

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Thank u so much for dropping by..Would love to hear what is simmering and whistling at your end !