When I was in Kindergarten (one year before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon), we had a next door neighbor named Pete Johnson. I don't know what her real first name was, but everyone called her Pete. Except me. I called her Mrs. Johnson.
Mrs. Johnson gave her "famous" Surprise Carrot Cake recipe to my mom and that became THE family carrot cake recipe. This cake is seriously great!.
In 1982 (one year before Sally Ride became the first woman in space), I used the Surprise Carrot Cake recipe in my Fundamentals of Speech class.
In 1997 (one year before 77-year-old John Glen returned to orbit in the space shuttle Discovery), I made the Surprise Carrot Cake for my daughter's 6th birthday. And every year after that for the Surprise Carrot Cake became her birthday cake.
Coincidentally, it also became the only cake that I bake during the year.
This year, for my daughter's 24th birthday I made the Surprise Carrot Cake and that's when I realized that this cake is absolutely misnamed. I am hereby renaming the Surprise Carrot Cake to the Oh Crap Carrot Cake and here's why:
2008 - Daughter's 18th birthday - "Oh Crap! I forgot the carrots!" (though in my defense, my mom had passed away the day before and it was a crappy day in general)
2011 - Daughter's 20th birthday - "Oh Crap! I forgot the raisins!" Wait! There aren't any raisins in the recipe, but for some reason I always think there are.
2013 - Daughter's 22nd birthday - "Oh Crap! I forgot the pineapple!" Fortunately, the cakes had just gone in the oven so I stirred the crushed pineapple into them.
2015 - Daughter's 24th birthday - "Oh Crap! I forgot the cream cheese!" Fortunately, I had only iced the center section so the icing could be scraped off and the cream cheese added. (I was wondering why the icing was such a funny color and there wasn't much of it!)
But every year I get through it and every year it's delicious! And every year, my family asks why we only have it once a year.