Raquel is the Communications and Partnerships Manager at The Sylvia Center, a NY- based nonprofit that is focused on nutrition education and youth development. Raquel was born and raised in the Central Valley of California. Growing up in the rural town of Bakersfield provided her with unique insight into various layers of our food system, including agri-business, farmworkers’ rights, and the challenges around food education in public schools -- particularly in lower-income, rural communities. It is because of this upbringing that she is passionate about the intersections of food, education, health and the environment. Raquel started her career as a Chef Teacher at the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley, the country's first Edible Schoolyard project created by Alice Waters and the Chez Panisse Foundation. For the past eight years, she has worked with various organizations to create educational programming in the food space with the intent of providing further opportunities for children, youth and adults to have better health outcomes. She led teams of outdoor educators at the Buena Vista and Grimmway Academy Edible Schoolyards, both projects of the Grimm Family Education Foundation in her hometown. Her leadership was key in promoting school wellness policies and professional development for teachers in the Central Valley of CA. Raquel has also worked in restaurant media, research centers at UC Berkeley and the Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy at Columbia University, where her work was focused on the elevation of food and nutrition programs that can lead to better food environments and public health outcomes. Raquel has two bachelors degrees from the University of California, Berkeley (Philosophy and Ethnic Studies) and holds a Masters degree in Health Education from the department of Health and Behavior Studies, at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Carrot Cake Wedding Cake
with Cream Cheese Frosting

Serves 35-40 people
Makes 3 layers, 12-1/2”, 9-1/2”, and 6-1/2”
Preheat oven to 350*-
Prepare the pans: Spray with oil, Fit the bottom of each pan with a circle of
parchment paper and spray again. Dust with flour on bottom and sides, and
shake out excess flour.
Ingredients
10 cups shredded carrots
2 cup raisins
2 cups org. brown sugar
4 cups WW pastry Flour
4 cup white flour
8 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
2 cup chopped walnuts
3 cups org. sugar
10 organic eggs
2 Tbs. vanilla
2 cups org. canola oil
2 cups apple sauce
Directions
In a large bowl, mix the shredded carrots with the brown sugar and raisins,
and set aside, letting it marinate while mixing everything else. In another
bowl, combine the flours, cinnamon, baking soda and powder, and salt
together. Mix well. Add the chopped walnuts. In a third bowl, whisk
together the eggs with the sugar until it’s a light yellow in color. Add the oil,
apple sauce and vanilla, and mix. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix
well. Add in the carrots and raisins, and mix until evenly distributed.

Bake at 350 until done. The 2 smaller layers will take approximately 50
minutes, and the largest layer will take about 65 minutes, but keep checking.
The cake will pull away from the sides, as it gets done, and a knife inserted
into center will come out dry. Cool on racks for 10 minutes. Invert cakes and
remove from pan, let cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
4 lbs cream cheese
¾ cup half and half
1 cup honey
2-3 cups confectioners sugar, depending on sweetness desired
4 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
Directions
In a stand-up mixer or food processor, combine all of the ingredients, until
smooth. Add more sweetener or vanilla, according to your taste.
To Assemble
Slice each layer horizontally, to create 2 layers of each size. Using a round
piece of clean cardboard, or improvise with a plate or large round spatula,
separate the two layers. Frost the middle, and put the layer back together.
Repeat with the other 2 layers.
Frost the top and sides of each layer.
Either stack the 3 layers together, decorate with flowers, and serve that way,
or you can purchase wedding cake infrastructure, complete with plastic
columns and dowels, and construct a wedding cake that has space between
each layer for decorating with flowers.

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