Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Author Gayle Carline's Carrot Cake

I had the pleasure of meeting Gayle online when she wrote a story for the Missing Anthology. A few months ago a coworker wanted a carrot cake recipe, and Gayle tweeted me back immediately with this great one. I knew she had a new book out about Peri, who is also featured in Missing, so I asked her to guest blog. Enjoy!-Amy
I don't consider myself a cook, so I feel a bit intimidated to be asked to contribute to Amy's lovely site. Don't misunderstand – I can follow directions, so I can probably make a few of the delicious recipes on this blog. But when I screw up, it's in the biggest way possible, with the least ability to salvage the dish. I mean, what do you do when you've used 1/2 cup of flour instead of 2-1/2 cups in a cake and then baked it?

By the way, it looked like a torte, but wasn't quite as tasty.

Peri Minneopa, the lead character in my debut novel is a 50-year old housecleaner-turned-detective. We share a few qualities: we are observant, optimistic, and impatient. We love to read, surf the Internet, and watch classic movies. But I didn't give Peri my maternal instincts or my meager cooking skills. I already envy her long legs (she is 5' 9" and I am five-foot-nearly-two), as well as her courage; I wasn't about to make her perfect.

After all, if I blended her qualities and mine, we'd have Wonder Woman, right?

When I think of Peri trying to cook, I start laughing. For example, take my carrot cake recipe. It's pretty simple.

* * * * *

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups veggie oil
4 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups carrots, grated
1/4 cup pineapple, crushed


Preheat oven to 325. Combine sugar, oil & eggs. Sift dry ingredients. Add to sugar mix, beating well. Add vanilla, carrots & pineapple. Pour into greased & floured pan(s). Bake approx. 45 min or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

* * * * *

Just top it off with some cream cheese frosting and you've got a little slice of heaven. Easy, right? Not for Peri

I can picture her, standing in the aisle of her local grocery store, holding an index card in one hand and her cell phone in the other. She's curling the edge of the recipe while waiting for her BFF, Blanche, to answer. Blanche may be the Assistant Orange County Coroner, but she's also a wife and mother of two, and knows how to throw a meal together.

"Beebs, you gotta help me," Peri would snap at the phone. "This thing calls for sugar, but there's so many different kinds. There's brown stuff, and fluffy stuff, and stuff in paper bags - what? The paper bags? How am I supposed to know that? You can't see what's in the bag. And what's a tisp?"

Blanche would explain recipe abbreviations, and Peri would complain about buying a big bottle of nutmeg just to use one-half of a tisp.

At home, my intrepid heroine would try to measure and mix ingredients using the spoons in her silverware drawer and the bowl she uses for popcorn. She might have to rinse out the measurer for the detergent in order to have a cup for the sugar.

The next scene I imagine is Peri, sitting at her table with a beer. Her t-shirt is covered in flour, and she's trying to clean the batter from under her nails, when she hears a knock at the back door.

It's Blanche. "How'd it turn out?" she asks as she walks in.

Peri points to a pan on the stove. Blanche goes to look at the pan, and looks down… into the pan. There is a brown and orange layer of lumps, about 1/4-inch thick, crusted across the bottom.

Blanche tries to be kind. "Um, Peri… what the hell happened?"

"I have no clue. I followed the directions. They're obviously wrong."

She and Blanche go over the recipe, step by step. "So I put the sugar and oil together," Peri begins, pointing to the ingredients, still on the counter.

"You used olive oil?"

"The recipe says 'veggie' oil. Olives are veggies, aren't they?"

"Only on a pizza, dear." Blanche looks back at the mess in the cake pan. "How did it stay so flat?"

"How should I know? I scrambled the eggs, then added them to the sugar-"

Blanche interrupts. "Wait. You 'scrambled' the eggs. You just mixed them, right? You didn't cook them."

"Well, of course I cooked them. Raw eggs are unhealthy, right?"

Oh, well, nobody's perfect. Peri eats out a lot, and joins Blanche's family at the dinner table often. To find out more about her, and how her crime-solving skills make up for her lack of culinary talent, Freezer Burn is currently available for purchase on, Barnes & Nobel (, or at the publisher's website, If you'd like an autographed copy, I have a Paypal button on my website. Just visit to order!

I'd like to thank Amy again for allowing me to take up some space on her site. I love reading recipes, even when I can't possibly make the dish, and she's got some delicious entries!


Patricia Stoltey said...

Priceless post, Gayle. You've just sold another copy of your book. Nice job.

©DGreer said...

I haven't been here in forever! Great post, Gayle - you're a hoot as usual. I won't get into the misunderstanding about a recipe I shared that included "five cloves of garlic". Bet that guy still stinks! LOL. You know what he did, don't you?

Happy 4th!

Pam Ripling said...

Boy, am I behind on reading this blog! How did I miss Gayle's hilarious tale?

Contrary to Peri's worries about raw eggs, my daughter and I are terrible about eating raw cookie dough. I know. I confess. It's wrong on so many levels.

Looking forward to my guest spot, coming soon!