Jana Stocks Brown
Add this carrot cake to your Valentine's Day menu, and you'll be glad you did.

I don't remember exactly when I fell in love with carrot cake, but I know I was very young. Moist, dense and topped with a sweet and savory cream cheese frosting, it was the cake for special birthdays, holidays and weddings.

When I married my sweetheart, I mentioned my crazy carrot cake obsession and thought no more of it. However, he paid attention (husband points for him), and on our honeymoon to Disney World, he found the only shop in the four parks that carried carrot cake cookies and cleaned it out.

Later that year for my birthday, and every birthday or very special occasion since, he has donned his baking apron and made me a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

For many people, the color of love is red, but for me, love comes in orange, with a hint of pineapple and cinnamon.

Lovely Carrot Cake

Yield: 15 servings

3 beaten eggs

3/4 cup oil

1/2 cup apple sauce

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)

2 cups grated carrots

1 (15-ounce) can crushed pineapple (undrained)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups walnuts, raisins or other add-ins optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together eggs, oil and sugar until light. Fold in carrots and pineapple. Sift together dry ingredients and add to wet mixture. Do not overbeat. Add nuts and vanilla. Pour into a greased and floured 9-by-13-inch pan. Bake for one hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool, and ice with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

8 ounces light cream cheese, at room temperature

2 pounds powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1-2 tablespoons of milk, as needed

Cream together butter, cream cheese, vanilla and salt until well mixed. Add powdered sugar, half a cup at a time, until it is all incorporated. Thin with milk as needed to reach desired consistency.

— Janet Stocks

Jana Brown is a writer, wife and mother. She is an excellent cook and carrot cake enthusiast. She blogs at kitchenwitchesblog.com. Twitter: janastocks