Carrot Cake Recipe and Pysanky Egg Decorating

This weekend's Ukrainian egg decorating workshop inspired a baking frenzy at our home. It began with getting the carrot cake ready for the workshop. The recipe comes from Jon's childhood neighbor Jeannie Hulten. My mother in law shared it with me and ever since it's been a favorite for birthday celebrations. The first alteration I've made to the recipe is to add ground walnuts into the batter. I chop them in our coffee grinder which imparts a mild coffee flavor. I also add a pinch of nutmeg and cloves to enhance the cinnamon.

Carrot Cake Recipe

Mix the following together:

3 cups of grated carrot

4 unbeated eggs

2 cups of sugar

1 1/2 cups of oil

Combine the following dry ingredients together then add to the wet ingredients above:

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp of salt

2 tsp of cinnamon

optional I add 1/4 tsp of nutmeg and cloves

2 cups of flour

Stir in 1/2 cup of ground walnuts

Oil and flour two round cake pans or a 9" x 14" brownie pan

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 mins, add 10-15 minutes for the brownie pan.


Combine 8 oz of cream cheese with a 1/4 pound of margarine, add powdered sugar until the frosting has a nice thick but easily spreadable consistancy. Frost the cooled cake and then scatter chopped walnuts on top. Double the frosting recipe for the double layer cake so that you have enough frosting to spread between the layers.

The Ukrainian Egg Decorating Workshop at Art Mind and Soul was a huge success. A wonderful creative group of women took part in the class.  It was a delightful quiet afternoon with the smell of beeswax filling the air. I was thrilled with the rich colors of the dyes, and how quickly everyone grasped the process.

Deb Merrill working on her beautiful chick egg. She came with lovely eggs that her chickens had laid and a wealth of experience of batik and fabric dying.

Joy's lovely red and white eggs with Erin Vazdauskas in the background using iconic Easter imagery.

Patty Sullivan made a pair of delightful eggs in two different colorways. Beth Carr, the owner of the Studios, joined us and decorated an enormous goose egg that challenged our small dye containers. Patricia Boissevain was holding a jewelry class in the adjoining studio, it was a treat to take breaks and see what they were creating.

My husband Jon saved the day by blowing out the eggs out in the morning, what a horrendous task! The resulting eggs inspired exquisite German pancakes. Topped with butter and maple syrup the were a delicious breakfast treat, this recipe comes from an old issue of Yankee Magazine.

In the midst of mixing up the dyes he started the dough for these beautiful loaves of Challah bread that greeted me when I returned home. The smell of fresh bread trumped the beeswax but only by a small margin.

This Saturday I'm bring the dyes and tools along with another cake up to Sweetland Retreat in Manchester, Maine to teach workshop again to a whole new group. Please let me know if you're interested in joining us.

Ukrainian Easter Eggs and Family Stuffed Sock Bunny Workshops

I took a late afternoon walk around our neighborhood yesterday with my daughter Celia and our wheaten terrier Maizy. It was so pleasant to have the sun shining on us in the late afternoon. The streams were rushing with the water from the weekend storms, providing  plenty of mud and puddles for the girl and dog to explore. There was an abundance of downed sticks and branches on the ground to poke into the mud and instigate a game of tug of war with the pup. Nature had created the perfect playground for my companions. I relished their happiness and started to believe that spring is slowly creeping it's way to Maine. 

I'll be giving my first Pysanky egg decorating class at Art Mind and Soul studios on March 28, 2-4pm. I was captivated by this technique as a child in Canada, a very kind neighbor spent an entire afternoon teaching me the craft. Although my designs are not authentic, the process is true to it's origins. If you become a committed follower of Ukrainian eggs there's an entire alphabet of authentic symbols to memorize and master. I love how easily this craft can be  modernized to suit your own creative style, in many ways it's similar to batik. A small stylus is used to heat beeswax over a candle flame enabling you to draw the wax directly onto an egg. The egg is repeatedly dipped in dye and more wax is applied after each immersion. The dramatic finish happens when the egg is heated over the flame and the built up wax is wiped away to reveal the colors and designs.

It might be because Easter falls close to my birthday but I've always loved this season of renewal! To celebrate I'm offering another spring workshop for parents and their children to enjoy together on Saturday March 27, 1-3 pm also at Art Mind and Soul Studios. We'll be cutting up socks, stuffing and stitching them together to make adorable stuffed bunnies.

Mark your calendars, and send me an e-mail I'd love to have you join in the creative fun!