B and I are hosting Easter again this year, a tradition we started 3 years ago because B always has to work on the Saturday before Easter. B’s family is coming down today, and we have a great Easter dinner planned (more on that later). So I’m not in the kitchen the entire time his family is here, I decided to make dessert ahead of time. I had a lot to do in a little time, so when debating whether to make the cake from scratch or a box mix, easy won out (and I’m not much of a baker to start with…). However I couldn’t just use a box mix and call it a day, I decided to spruce it up a bit. Yes, I pulled a Sandra Lee. That chick was on to something- just adding a few things to store bought basics is definitely a great shortcut that (hopefully) most people won’t notice! I’m not usually a big Sandra Lee fan- I’m a Giada girl myself- but come on, who doesn’t love cocktail time and themed tablescapes?? Anyway, back to the point of the post, which was my semi-homemade carrot cake. I took a box of Duncan Hines deluxe carrot cake mix, threw away the dried carrots and raisins packet that came with it (sorry, raisins in cake? No thank you), and substituted in a cup of fresh shredded carrots. I also took a concept from another Food Network favorite, Ina Garten, and added pineapple (half a can of crushed pineapple with juice). I made my own cream cheese icing, which was easy (cream cheese, butter, confectioners sugar and vanilla). With all the upgrades, I’d say it doesn’t even count as cheating! Who cares if I didn’t measure out dry ingredients? The cake mix was my base, so I was free to improvise from there, which was more fun anyway. Learned lesson of the day, Sandra Lee was on to something!