Julie Anne Rhodes
I may look as though I am carefully considering a birthday wish, but most likely I am just drooling over the main event. Maybe I have made a few wishes throughout the years, but I can assure you… they are immediately forgotten once I dig into that moist cake and creamy icing. Amnesia sets in as my taste buds go into a dancing frenzy.

I think my obsession with cake stems back to sitting on the kitchen counter eagerly waiting to lick the spoon while my mother and auntie Vera baked. It was a veritable magic show watching the flour, sugar, eggs, etc. morph into something so delectable. Everyone in a good mood, filled with anticipation for the birthday celebrations ahead. Laughter with family and friends would soon be filling our house, and on some occasions a clown would visit, or we got to have pony rides! Cake became inextricably intertwined with fond memories.
Julie Anne Friedman (Rhodes)
I had my first red velvet birthday cake when I was eight years old, and it’s been my cake of choice ever since. Today you find them everywhere, but back in the 80’s while touring with Duran Duran, they were not easy to come by. My ex, who couldn’t even boil water, decided to surprise me one year. He asked my mom for the recipe, then enlisted Yasmin Le Bon’s help (back then Yasmin’s idea of making dinner was opening a pint of ice cream and spooning it directly into her mouth). It may have been “the blind leading the blind”, yet somehow they managed to produce a rather lopsided, but delicious cake! I wish someone had filmed that baking session for posterity. I’m sure it would have been hilarious to watch!

Either my friends just know me well, or there has been a conspiracy to fatten me up this year. I’ve been receiving red velvet cupcakes in addition to flowers almost weekly since the surgery… an indulgence I normally relegate strictly to my birthday only. In fact, I never dreamt I would utter these words, but I’ve actually had my fill of red velvet for a while.
Daisy and Julie Anne Rhodes
Thank you to all my well meaning (or scheming) friends, but this birthday I opted for carrot cake cupcakes. As you can see, Daisy the dinner thief was doing her best to commandeer my cupcake. The moment she hears people singing happy birthday she now assumes it is for her. Here is a yummy carrot cake recipe that Valerie Valot shared with us on facebook. She gets lots of repeat requests for it! To make the cake into cupcakes, just line a muffin pan with cupcake liners, fill each 3/4 full with cake dough, and reduce the baking time to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Pale Ale Carrot Cake

Servings: 12


  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 18 ozs. canola oil
  • ½ cup pale ale beer
  • 1-20 oz. can crushed pineapple
  • 2 cups carrots, shredded
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 6 ozs. (1 ¼ stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 12 ozs. (1 ½ block) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (packed)
  • ¾ tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups Walnuts, slivered


1). Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.

2). Whip eggs. Briefly whip oil into eggs. Add flour mixture, mix until combined. Add beer, pineapple, carrots and vanilla; mix until combined.

3). Divide batter between three 10-inch round, greased and floured cake pans. Bake at 350F until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes; release from sides of pan; invert onto cooling rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

4). Whip butter until double in volume, 5 to 7 minutes. Add cream cheese, whip 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar and vanilla; mix slowly until smooth and creamy. Frosting can be refrigerated until needed.

5). To frost, use a warm spatula and frost the top of the bottom layer. Place second layer on top. Frost top and sides of entire cake. When frosted, pour walnuts down sides of cake; press lightly.


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