Tomorrow is my birthday and I’ll be a whopping 29 years old. Wah wah, the numbers are getting higher. But really, I don’t care, I’m excited in fact. Birthdays mean cake. Birthdays also mean presents.

This year I’m giving YOU a present. Yep, that’s right, on MY birthday, YOU get a gift. But before we get to the giveaway, humor me with the story on why I chose to make a vegetable cake for my birthday…

Do you watch the TV show Parks and Recreation? My husband does, and loves it. I’ve watched a few episodes with him, 1 in particular that he MADE me watch because a particular scene reminded him SO much of me. I believe I pee’d my pants laughing at this scene. In fact, I am 100% sure I did pee my pants.

Setting: Andy and April’s Fancy Party
Chris: Hey gang!
Leslie: Hey, what did you bring?
Chris: I was in charge of the cake. To be fair, it’s not a cake so much as it is a vegetable loaf. You got your mushrooms, your alfalfa sprouts, your spinach and I had it sweetened with fruit reduction.
Ron: But did they ask you to bring a vegetable loaf or a cake?
Chris: No, a cake, but this is so much healthier.
Ron: So not only does this thing exist, but now you have deprived everyone of cake!
Leslie: Take a walk, Ron.
Ron: Yup.

In that scenario, I’m Chris: the annoying character who has to ‘ruin’ everything by trying to make it healthier. That’s when I KNEW what I’d make for my birthday cake this year: a Vegetable Cake. Duh, I mean, it’s like the epitome of ME. Fat Girl/Skinny Body (cake/veggies…get it???). Deciding on the frosting was a whole different story. It took me WEEKS to settle on a flavor. But I finally did, and wow, wow wow wow, it was goooooood!!!! The entire cake was just DELICIOUS!!!! Spiced with the perfect amount of cinnamon and nutmeg in the cakes. Combined with the cream cheese and crunchy walnuts in the filling, all smothered in a smooth and silky sweet buttercream.

The cake has 4 parts (all of the recipes are below):

Zucchini Cake (3 layers)
Carrot Cake (2 layers)
Walnut Cream Cheese Filling
Honey Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Big ol’ cake monstrosities like this need not intimidate you. Break it down, prioritize the order you need to prepare them in, and then start… It took me 3 days to make this cake. I made the zucchini cake one day, carrot cake the next, then the buttercream/filling on another day. And theeeen I assembled it. If you want to spend 4+ hours in the kitchen on 1 day making a cake, shoot, do it all in 1 day. But I didn’t. I didn’t have the time or desire to pound it out all in 1 afternoon. I had a few minutes each day, so I took advantage of the time I did have.

Did you know you can freeze a cake and frosting after they’ve been prepared (pre-assembly)? Yep, you sure can.
Wrap the baked cake layers in plastic wrap and freeze. Thaw at room temperature for a few hours before assembling/frosting. For the frosting, put it in an airtight container and freeze. Thaw at room temperature and re-whip when you’re ready to use.
Shoot, you can freeze the cake assembled too: the top tier of wedding cakes. Case in point.
Put the assembled/frosted cake in the freezer without any wrapping, just as is. Do this VERY carefully so it doesn’t bump anything and smudge the frosting. Let it freeze for a few hours to harder a bit. Now remove it form the freezer, wrap it in tin foil and plastic wrap (to prevent freezer burn) and freeze it, for up to 1 year.

Zucchini Cake
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup olive oil (or any vegetable oil)
1/2 cup sour cream (buttermilk or yogurt would probably work too)
3 eggs
2 cups shredded zucchini

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray non stick spray in 3 round cake pans.
*I used 3 pans and made thinner layers because I am TERRIBLE at slicing layers in half.

Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt into medium bowl.

In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix the sugar, oil, eggs, and sour cream until well blended. Stir in dry ingredients, then add zucchini.

Transfer cake batter to cake pans and bake 30 minutes, or until the cake tester (a.k.a butter knife) comes out clean.

Cool in pans for 10 minutes then invert onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Cool completely before frosting.
*The cakes can be wrapped in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for a couple of days if you’re making the cake ahead of time.

Carrot Cake
Adapted from here

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 cups grated carrots
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream (or yogurt or buttermilk)
1/4 cup olive oil (or any vegetable oil)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray non stick spray on 2 round cake pans. Set aside.

Put the grated carrots into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in the bowl and set aside. Add this mixture to the carrots and toss until they are well-coated with the flour.

In another bowl combine the sugar, brown sugar, eggs, sour cream and vegetable oil.

Pour the wet mixture into the carrot mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared cake pans and bake for 25 minutes at 350.

Remove the pans from the oven and allow cake to cool 15 minutes in the pan. After 15 minutes, turn the cake out onto a rack and allow cake to cool completely. Level the tops of the cake so when you stack them you don’t have a lopsided/mounded cake.

Cream Cheese Walnut Filling
1/2 cup cream cheese (room temperature)
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup honey Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Beat the cream cheese and prepared buttercream with a hand mixer (or stand mixer) about 1 minutes, then add in the powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments. Mix in the nuts at the very end. Use immediately.
*If you’re making it ahead of time, refrigerate then bring to room temperature before using.

Honey Swiss Meringue ButterCream
4 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
3 sticks butter, unsalted, room temperature
1 cup Spiced Creme Honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt (omit is using salted butter)
*If you want your buttercream even sweeter, add more honey, 1 tbsp at a time as you’re whipping it.

Directions
Add the egg whites and sugar to a heatproof bowl and set it over a pan of simmering water (like a double boiler). Heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar has dissolved – you can test with your fingertips, if the mixture feels grainy, it’s not ready yet. This will take about 5 minutes. But use the fingertip test, don’t just assume it needs 5 minutes.

Pour the egg white/sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 10 minutes. (The bowl will be cool to the touch.)
*Don’t rush this. Make sure stiff peaks form before you move onto the next step or the buttercream won’t be as fluffy. I learned form experience…

Reduce the mixer to medium-low speed and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time. Let each addition incorporate before adding the next. (The frosting may look soupy or curdled when you add the butter – just keep beating and it will come together.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then add the honey, vanilla extract and salt to the bowl. Beat until combined – the mixture will probably look curdled again when you add the honey, keep beating until it no longer looks curdled. Use the buttercream right away.
*If you’re not using right away, store in an air tight container in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before using. If it’s curdled, simply rewhip it in the stand mixer until it smoothes out.

I love using Swiss Meringue for frosting cakes because it slices so clean. I mean look at that, a perfect slice.

And now a huge bite. Just imagine, each slice translates to a couple servings of vegetables.

Now for the giveaway…

For my birthday I’m giving YOU a present. Honey. Not just ANY honey, Honey Ridge Farms Creme Honey. Have you ever had creme honey? It’s absolutely WONDERFUL. My first taste of creme honey was earlier this year when my dad brought me honey some Huckleberry Creme honey from his visit to Yellowstone. I fell in love. So when Honey Ridge Farms offer to send me 6 varieties of their creme honeys, I just about fell out of my seat. Since I already knew creme honeys were outta this world, I was beyond thrilled to try a few different flavors.

I can’t pick a favorite flavor. Their flavors are SO good and all for different reasons. As soon as I saw they spiced creme honey though, I had to try it, IMMEDIATELY. OH MY GOODNESS. 3 HUGE spoonfuls later, I decided I should probably take a breather and save some for my family to try too.

Giveaway: 2 flavors (of your choice) of Honey Ridge Farm’s Creme Honey
Giveaways entries will run form Friday November 11th – Thursday, November 17th.
A winner will be announced on Friday, November 18th.

The winner will be chosen at random using random.org’s number generator, it looks something like this:

How to Enter
Leave a separate comment for each of the entry options listed below. If you don’t leave separate comments for each entry we can’t include them in the giveaway.

3 ways to enter (we can only ship in the Continental U.S., sorry):

1. Comment. Leave a comment saying whatever you want.
2. ‘Like’ Honey Ridge Farms on Facebook.
3. Sign up for Honey Ridge’s Newsletter.

Thanks for entering, good luck!