Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I *had* to try it...

So I'm in Shaws, walking around, enjoying the fact that they're done with this latest round of renovations - yay new bathrooms. Well, Shaws seemed to be pretty excited about them being done, I honestly didn't feel compelled to go have a peek. Instead - I perused through the discount bins, looking to see if there was anything tempting, as there frequently are some incredible things in those bins, and often they're aggressively discounted. Last time I saw some I picked up those sugar dispensers you find in Diners. Great for here at the office, or at home.

While I was approaching the checkout, I discovered that Shaws had placed a display between me and the aisle. And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but Carrot Cake. Now there are many things in this world that I can deny myself. Many things I can pretend I'm not interested in, turn my nose the other way and keep walking. Were I superman, Carrot Cake would be my Kryptonite. I had to buy it, after all, it had a little carrot on it. Chocolate, by the way, is my other Kryptonite, but I digress. I used to have a standing order for Carrot Cake every two weeks or so from the Lovely Mrs. Barbara Wick - she and her husband Hilton had a stand for many years at the Farmer's Market in Burlington and, not only was she the sweetest lady ever, she also baked a mean cake. Her frosting was dead on. The carrot cakes varied slightly depending on the season, nuts she had on hand and the like. They were always 'the best one yet' and her hospitality eventually extended beyond just a smile and a great cake. My former wife, daughter and I were constantly invited down for tea, cookies and whatever other bounty of food was on hand. The dessert world dimmed slightly with her loss. However, my tummy forces me to carry on and so I do.

So back to now - where I'm about to check out and I see this little pile of clear clam shells before me, beneath the frosting peeking at me are the pineapple chunks and their friends, the little carrots on top of the frosting inviting me to spend some time together with them. I couldn't resist. I grabbed a healthy slice in it's clam shell home and absconded away to the register so no one could see me with my treasure.

My hopes were high, but my expectations low when I returned to the workplace, fork in one hand, coffee in the other, preparing to dive into this dessert. I originally intended to eat only half the slice. Best intentions, meet tasty treat - intentions melt away and so does the treat. I was actually fairly impressed. The cake wasn't bad at all. It was a bit.. rubbery. It was a bit too light on some of the more fragrant spices you would expect in a Carrot cake, and the Carrots certainly weren't handpicked by a chef because of their ripeness, color and good character. The pineapples tasted like they came from a can. However, it was still pretty darn good overall. My biggest let down was the frosting. I'm a fan of the true Cream cheese frosting and this tasted like it wanted to be - but just not quite there. It was also too thick and sugary.

On a scale of 1-5 I'd give it a solid 3.5. It's better than I expected, but certainly not gourmet material. If I were still in College or High School - a dessert like this would be the highlight of my day, but I'm not - I'm not in the middle of nowhere with my funds all tied up in a meal plan that finds me eating more cereal and salad than I thought humanly possible. Nope - I get to choose my own dinners and desserts, so this misses that upper echelon. But it definitely did fill the void, and my tummy, for a bit that day. I might even go back again - though the next time I'll scrape off about half the frosting before eating it. Honestly - what I'll probably do is order myself a cake from Chef's Corner (they're on the poll to the left by the way - hint!)

Frosting, if I may go slightly off topic, is one of those things I've always been picky about - so don't be alarmed if I come to your birthday party and eat the cake, and not the frosting. Especially if it's blue, pink or green. Unnatural frosting colors scare me a bit, especially once I see it turning people's lips or teeth into those same un-natural colors. Probably some of the best 'Over The Counter' frosting I've had is the 'Bestcream' from Hannafords. I have to say - it's pretty tasty - though they do occasionally mix those odd colors in there too.

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