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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  • March 10, 2010
    11:58 pm

    Hi Julie Anne,Lovely to see you smiling, glamorous as ever, with Daisy on your B'day. It looks like you had a lovely time and Daisy looked so excited with that cupcake you were holding. I love carrot cake and this recipe is interesting as it has pale ale beer in it. Must give that one a go for sure.Great story by the way and gorgeous photos. Enjoy your week and take care.Aussie Mum

  • March 11, 2010
    12:12 am

    Thanks for featuring the recipe in your blog! Happy Birthday and keep up the great stories!ValPS Ironically, I was thinking of making this cake today. It think once my friends read this, I have to make it 🙂

  • March 11, 2010
    1:00 am

    Thank YOU for the recipe Val!!!

  • March 11, 2010
    1:01 am

    I am so happy for you..you definetly deserved all the Love & cake..I love reading your blog,your writing simply flows and it is a joy to read it XOXOXO"Yvonne Wiesnengrund

  • March 11, 2010
    1:49 am

    Thank you Aussie Mum and Yvonne!Yes Aussie Mum, Daisy gets very excited and forgets her manners frequently. She is just so darn cute it is hard to keep a straight face when telling her off. I was just tryng to rescue my cupcake!

  • March 11, 2010
    5:57 am

    What perfect timing. My daughter's birthday is tomorrow and she wants a Red Velvet cake for her party. I'll use your recipe…Kim Phillips Cuccia

  • March 11, 2010
    7:53 am

    I live ina bavarian village (tourist trap) and a bakery here makes the best red velvet cake and they put a hint of horse raddish in the cream frosting, may sound strange but it really goes good with the cake.Mariah Monesmith-Kreider

  • March 11, 2010
    7:54 am

    Hmmmmmm. I'm going to try that next time. Thanks for sharing the tip Mariah.

  • March 11, 2010
    5:38 pm

    I too LOVE some red velvet cake – used to get a yummy homemade one every b-day from my grandma when I lived back in NOLA. I miss those b-days. But my mother in law found a cupcake bakery here in Indy that fills the void nicely with its Red Velvet Elvis flavor.Lisa Ward Rehme

  • March 11, 2010
    10:43 pm

    hahaha…Daisy naughty girl! Nick and Yasmin cooking together??? bwahahahaha!!!Reading the last Yasmin Le Bon's interview on internet she said she often cooks soup for the family and she puts everything out of date in it!!! LOLMartina D' Epifanio

  • March 11, 2010
    10:44 pm

    I find low-key birthdays to be some of the my precious! You look great in the pictures! I'm glad you are healing well!Alison Sherman

  • March 11, 2010
    10:50 pm

    Hey Martina… that is exactly why I thought video of the cake making episode would have been hilarious! It IS really sweet of two culinary inept people to attempt that recipes… it is one of the most difficult cake recipes I've made… the icing is tricky. Thanks Alison. I got a message from Tatjana this morning pleased that I was looking well… it has been difficult for her to be so far away. She has called every day, but I think she was relieved to see a picture proving I am on the mend.

  • March 12, 2010
    4:42 am

    sweet cake!Julia Timewell Madsen

  • March 12, 2010
    8:02 am

    You don't look a day over 40! I'm glad to see you looking so great! Allen did well with his surgery, hopefully if they can get his BP down he can come home tomorrow. We'll see. I hope you had a fabulous birthday, we'll have a luau in June and celebrate you and Allen!Laura Dodd-Hodges

  • March 12, 2010
    8:05 am

    Really happy to hear Allen is doing well! Luau sounds great!

  • March 12, 2010
    9:59 am

    It's always a pleasure to read your blogs. The carrot cake is one I used to bake for my ex best friend, the recipe is slightly different and includes almonds,but it still is one of my fav cakes..and I'm not one for the sweets. Godd to see you are doing better and better :)Nicoletta Appodia

  • March 12, 2010
    9:21 pm

    ook..Julie now you have to teach me how to realize this cake..I am a sweet tooth and I tried not to think about this delicious cake but you're killing me with your decantations…SLURP! :P:P:PMartina D' Epifanio

  • March 12, 2010
    9:22 pm

    Love the photo!Penelope Worley

  • March 12, 2010
    9:23 pm

    Julie… did you eat yasmin and Nick's cake? Who knows which was Yasmin's "secret ingredient"…LOLMartina D'Epifanio

  • March 13, 2010
    4:41 am

    That is no slouch you are with in the cutie pie stakes you have in your profile pic. PS. Daisy was really naughty today, so she is in the proverbial dog house again! She stole a nail polish from my bedside table, and managed to open it! Thankfully I caught her in time.

  • March 13, 2010
    4:43 am

    Daisy would look a little hot with Raven Red …Madeleine Gallay

  • March 13, 2010
    6:46 am

    Okay the carrot cake sounds naughty…pale ale?? But hey I am game to try!Penelope

  • March 13, 2010
    9:29 am

    Daisy stealing your nail polish and then opening it……now that is funny.I wish I could have seen that. She is such a typical girl. At least she knows what she wants. What a cute dog indeed. Have a lovely weekend :)Aussie Mum

  • March 13, 2010
    9:11 pm

    oh, really, Jewels? That is great! Where I can get recipe? :)Dajana Mullen Jr

  • March 13, 2010
    9:13 pm

    You're right Madeleine… maybe I should paint Daisy's nails for her, and se if she starts behaving like a lady!Dajana, the Waldorf Red Cake recipe (the one Nick and Yasmin made for me) is on my website at www.therovingstove.com. Click on recipes, then desserts, and you will find the recipe.

  • March 13, 2010
    9:14 pm

    You look great in these photos! Happy Belated Birthday.Cristina Francis Lourie

  • March 13, 2010
    9:15 pm

    Red velvet is what I've always had for my birthday. My birthday is a few days before Christmas, so the red cake and white icing feels "right".Suzanne Voelker

  • March 13, 2010
    9:17 pm

    Thanks Cristina!Suzanne… Tatjana's favorite color is blue, so I always made the red velvet cake for her with blue food color instead of red. Same goes for anyone with a birthday this week… use green for St. Patrick's day!

  • March 14, 2010
    6:07 pm

    Happy birthday, Jewels! I am a carrot cake fanatic, think it's the cream cheese frosting that does it for me! We have a fab little thing here in Austin called, Hey Cupcake!. It's a cupcake hut in an airstream trailor in 4 different locations around the city…they are absolutely to die for! Here's a link to their site, very cool… http://www.heycupcake.com/story.htmStacey Gibbs Young