The Carrot Cake Family Traditions Are Made Of

March 24, 2018
The Carrot Cake Family Traditions Are Made Of - It's the carrot cake that people fight for the last piece, leaving all others behind. Traditionally inspired, yet somehow unbeatable

“My idea of a perfect day is frozen custard at Shake Shack and a walk in the park (followed by a Lactaid).  My idea of a perfect night is a good play and dinner at Orso (but no garlic or I won't be able to sleep).  The other day I found a bakery that bakes my favorite childhood cake, and it was everything I remembered; it made my week”    ~ Nora Ephron | I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections

The Carrot Cake Family Traditions Are Made Of - It's the carrot cake that people fight for the last piece, leaving all others behind. Traditionally inspired, yet somehow unbeatable The Carrot Cake Family Traditions Are Made Of - It's the carrot cake that people fight for the last piece, leaving all others behind. Traditionally inspired, yet somehow unbeatable

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Most parents panic when their phone rings at 10 pm.  Mine know it's their nocturnal daughter wanting to chat.  Never once have they said “We sure wish you'd call at a more reasonable hour”  I love them extra for that

This week I was curious about the carrot cake my mom made for decades.  “Did you mix the coconut into the frosting?  Or simply sprinkle it on top?”  It didn't take long before we were venturing deep into family rituals

Take, for example, my grandfather's recipe collection.  After he passed, the recipes my dad searched for were those powerful enough to transport him back to childhood.  He and his dad grating potatoes for hours through the smallest holes in the grater.  His mom manning the griddle

I flip over to Instagram and know the potato pancakes he loved as a kid wouldn't be trending.  Nor would the boozy mustard we hoped to replicate

Something about that seemed terribly nice

The Carrot Cake Family Traditions Are Made Of - It's the carrot cake that people fight for the last piece, leaving all others behind. Traditionally inspired, yet somehow unbeatable The Carrot Cake Family Traditions Are Made Of - It's the carrot cake that people fight for the last piece, leaving all others behind. Traditionally inspired, yet somehow unbeatable

A few days later, I ask my son what are the meals he remembers from growing up?  Were they some I always hoped the kids would remember?

Weekend pancakes made the list

Standing on chairs, the kids were tall enough to peer into the pan and watch as the batter hit the bubbling butter.  One helped measure the flour, helping himself to whatever bits of batter he could scoop, lick or steal as I mixed.  The other tenderly arranged berries into patterns as the pancakes as they rose.  Sometimes hitting the mark, most times hitting the floor

The pancakes were pretty ok.  We loved them beyond reason

I think family traditions are like that.  They don't have to be special to feel special

The Carrot Cake Family Traditions Are Made Of - It's the carrot cake that people fight for the last piece, leaving all others behind. Traditionally inspired, yet somehow unbeatable The Carrot Cake Family Traditions Are Made Of - It's the carrot cake that people fight for the last piece, leaving all others behind. Traditionally inspired, yet somehow unbeatable

My grandfather kept his collection of handwritten recipes and clippings in a big folder, and a shoebox of sorts.  I have to wonder what he'd think of this space.  My own personal shoebox.  A place where I store all of my favorite odds and ends.  The vintage pyrex and old dishes.  The smudged and splattered recipe card with the rips, tears.  The dog-eared cookbooks.

An official repository for many of the things I love and am grateful for

Every week I come here, to this humble white space and blinking cursor to leave behind something I want to remember.  A recipe, a story, maybe a photo or two.  It's fun to look back, pulling out memories one by one.  Nibbling at the crumbs while making grocery lists and dinner plans

At the same time, just as my parents have the culinary treasures my grandfather left behind, I hope to do the same for my kids as well.  I'd love for them to one day read through the stories and know a little bit more about who I was.  The things I thought about, the life I led, how much they were loved, and some of our family's history

Such is the case with this carrot cake.  It's been part of our family's tradition for as long as I can remember

And now it's been deposited

The Carrot Cake Family Traditions Are Made Of - It's the carrot cake that people fight for the last piece, leaving all others behind. Traditionally inspired, yet somehow unbeatable

Carrot cake, I've discovered is a dessert that for many people (myself included) brings back the best memories of growing up.  I can't count how many birthdays or special occasions have been celebrated with the back-of-the-bag recipe my mom saved in the 80s

Since being diagnosed with Celiac a few months ago, I've tried in vain to transform it into a healthier version of itself.  Finally accepting that it's futile, but I can still remember just how good it tastes.

Friends, this cake is incredibly moist, light and forgiving whether you make it with or without nuts and raisins or extra spices.  The pineapple is undetectable.  While it doesn't call for raisins, I like to add them from time to time.  The cream cheese frosting is fluffy, sweet, and as close to utopia as icing can get.

It's the carrot cake that people fight for the last piece, leaving all others behind.  The carrot cake to end all carrot cakes.  The piece de resistance of carrot cakes.  Traditionally inspired, yet somehow unbeatable.



ps:  Bon Appetit has some really great advice for avoiding common carrot cake mistakes

pps:  More fun recipes and stories from Spaghetti Saturdays

— — —

~ Recipe from Baker's Angel Flake Coconut bag, 1985

The Carrot Cake Family Traditions Are Made Of


Carrot Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup oil (neutral-tasting, such as sunflower or grapeseed)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs (large or XL)
  • 1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple in juice
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 ⅓ cups coconut flakes, toasted
  • ½ cup chopped nuts (we always use walnuts)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup coconut flakes, toasted
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla


Carrot Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350° F and grease a 9 x 13" pan.
  • Mix the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Thoroughly beat the oil, sugar, and eggs.
  • Add the flour mixture; beat until smooth
  • Add the pineapple, carrots, coconut, and nuts.
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool on rack

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Lightly toast the coconut and allow to cool
  • Cream the butter and cream cheese
  • Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and half of the toasted coconut

Finish and Serve

  • After the cake has cooled, frost with the cream cheese frosting
  • Top with the rest of the coconut
Serves: 24
Nutrition + Show
Calories 355
Total Fat 19.5g
Saturated Fat 7.6g
Carbohydrates 43g
Fiber 2g
Sugars 32.8g
Protein 3.2g
Print This Recipe

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  • Reply David Allen Elliott March 25, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Traditions are such beautiful things. They help us to connect with certain times and memories in our lives. I know my family has had plenty of them over the years. I think they have become more important a people have passed on and are no longer with us. I definitely miss my grandmother and all of the family gatherings and having everyone there around us. I really miss it. As for carrot cake, I agree. It’s totally one of those recipes that reminds me of my youth and happier times in so many ways. I didn’t usually get it at home, but at social gatherings and such.

  • Reply Laila March 26, 2018 at 3:29 am

    My mom is a great cook. She made sure that we were all well fed when we were growing up. Now that she’s old (she is a few months shy of her 80th birthday), she is extremely critical of the her dishes that we try so hard to replicate. Her lemon chiffon cake is our favorite, and all these years, that is all I have trying to perfect. Hopefully, someday I will pass her taste test.

  • Reply Mellissa March 26, 2018 at 4:39 am

    This post is so beautiful. It does not have to be special. It makes us feel special. This carrot cake though is so gorgeous. Carrot cake takes me back to coffee dates with my girlfriends in my 20s.

  • Reply Stacie March 26, 2018 at 6:18 am

    Those look so good! The best thing about food is how it can be a bridge to so many great memories in addition to being delicious. I think that’s why it’s such a huge part of everything we do.

  • Reply Komal March 26, 2018 at 6:38 am

    I wish my grandma had melt a cookbook. She was the best. Not a fan of carrot cake but with these gorgeous pictures and the coconut frosting I think I am in!

  • Reply Candy March 26, 2018 at 7:16 am

    love hearing about family traditions. Carrot cake is an all time favorite of both myself and my daughter. Love a cream cheese frosting

  • Reply Amber Myers March 26, 2018 at 7:16 am

    These do look fabulous, that’s for sure. I’ve always been a fan of carrot cake. It’s always awesome when recipes are passed down. I don’t cook or bake much, but there are some recipes that I have from my grandma.

  • Reply Karen Morse March 26, 2018 at 7:17 am

    I love this. Recipes that remind you of your childhood, those that bring back the days when all you cared about was playing with friends and running to the house to eat. I think this carrot cake is a must try, it looks gorgeous and it’s just in time for Easter. Definitely something to build memories with.

  • Reply Val March 26, 2018 at 7:42 am

    My parents never question the hour to which I call, they have always been loving and supportive and happy to hear from me. I wish my Grandma had written or shared some of her recipes before she passed. And I wish I’d been old enough and mature enough to know I should have asked and would want them later.

  • Reply Jeanette March 26, 2018 at 7:58 am

    I made these last night using my new Wilton SQUARE cupcake pan that I’m in love with! The cakes are so darn cute. Then I made little carrots out of some pre-made orange icing in a tube I had from a meringue snowman project that I never got around to. Cute!

    Oh and they are very tasty too. LOL

  • Reply Sarah-Mae March 26, 2018 at 9:03 am

    I love hearing about family traditions and how that is paralleled through the recipes that you are sharing! It makes cooking very personal and fun!

  • Reply Cherri Megasko March 26, 2018 at 9:47 am

    Just seeing those photos made my mouth water. One of my best memories with my mom was driving to a friend’s house to make carrot cakes. It was back before all these fancy shredding appliances, so we had to grate them all by hand on a box grater. It took forever, but those cakes were awesome. These look just as good.

  • Reply Sigrid March 26, 2018 at 10:00 am

    Oh my…I am hungry right now and I love carrot cake. This is making me drool!

    I wonder when I will get to the point of the kids being independent and all. Right now, they are both very dependent on me. Sometimes, it makes me tired. But then again, I try to appreciate this season in our lives because I know that they will not be little for very long. <3

  • Reply Jeanette March 26, 2018 at 11:15 am

    I love family traditions and I know that was my child gets older he can look back and smile at all the things that we did together. These carrot cake look beautiful. I would absolutely love them.

  • Reply Audrey March 26, 2018 at 11:19 am

    Talk about a trip down memory lane! I think we all clamor for those recipes from mom, dad, or our grand parents that we remember from our childhood. Much like you were referencing: peeling and shredding potatoes with mom or dad, or a family favorite cake. This carrot cake recipe looks divine! I love the coconut sprinkled thoroughly on them!

  • Reply Terri Beavers March 26, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Carrot cake is part of our family traditions as well. Of course, mine never look as good as yours, I need to be more creative with mine I see.

  • Reply Tomi C March 26, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    After my great grandmother passed, many of us were left wondering why we never wrote any of her recipes down. She was such a great cook and she made everything from scratch. Food really plays a huge part in family traditions.

  • Reply Destany March 26, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    My mom loves carrot cake. To the best of my knowledge none of us kids (or the grandkids) care much for it. But we’re all a bunch of rebels. One of my brothers ONLY likes key lime pie haha! The tradition of several different desserts at gatherings has to happen 🙂

  • Reply Michele Dennis March 26, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    Oh how food can bring back so many memories.. I remember thinking my grandmother made the best chicken noodle soup! When I got older I realized Campbell’s chicken noodle soup tasted EXACTLY like my grandmother’s… lol! My husbands grandfather was an amazing cook, but he kept all his recipes in his head.. I’ve spent the last few years trying to replicate his Christmas stuffing recipe, I’m so close I can taste it! For this reason I have written all my recipes down!?

  • Reply Sarah Bailey March 26, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    I often talk to my parents around 10pm it’s just before they go to bed and I always think it’s nice to say goodnight, though sometimes these days it is a more a text than a phone call, but we always talk in some way around then.

  • Reply Ashley March 26, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    These carrot cakes are adorable. I like the mini size, perfect for parties or single serving portions

  • Reply Debra Hawkins March 26, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    I have honestly never even tried carrot cake! I need to make this, this weekend for Easter!

  • Reply Anosa Malanga March 26, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    I love that you mentioned having carrot cake as a family tradition, I guess if I will relate to it, a black forest cake would be ours. I never get a chance to do a carrot cake but probably give it a try then.

  • Reply Sara March 26, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    This carrot cake looks so amazing! I like that they are individual cakes so that each person can have just one! The icing looks awesome, I need to try this recipe soon!

  • Reply Joanna March 26, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    And now I totally need a mini bundt pan! Not only are these cute, but they look so good!

  • Reply Mimi Green March 26, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    I am making this while home on spring break. Carrot Cake is my absolute favorite cake, my favorite spot that had it went out of business. I am in desperate need of a fix.

  • Reply Marysa March 26, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    Love what you did with the coconut! Sounds like some amazing carrot cake. I’d love to try this recipe!

  • Reply Tasheena March 26, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    I’ve never had coconut carrot cake. I’ve been really missing out. Can’t wait to make this for the family soon.

  • Reply Heather March 27, 2018 at 12:01 am

    This looks and sounds amazing. When I was little, my Nana used to make carrot cake so the taste and smell always brings me back.

  • Reply Fi Ni Neachtain March 27, 2018 at 3:49 am

    These look absolutely amazing! I’ve never had a carrot cake like this before. I think they actually look like little fluffy bunny tails so they’d be perfect for Easter too 🙂

  • Reply Dalene March 27, 2018 at 4:30 am

    Now I understand why you’re such a perfect, and the most perfect cook!If it is in-born and descended right from your grandpa, well, there is no doubt! Memories , and especially good memories like your’ dad’s tying to recall his time making meals with his dad make everything seem more special. Anyway, these carrot cakes look as tantalizing and I’m definitely pinning this one for future eats.

  • Reply Ricci March 27, 2018 at 5:09 am

    These carrot cakes are gorgeous and I bet they taste amazing!! I need to make a carrot cake!!

  • Reply Aditi March 27, 2018 at 5:43 am

    Our family loves carrot cake but we’ve never got around to making it at home though. I honestly didn’t realize that it has coconut or is it only your version? Another thing I wonder is what my kids will recall as my cooking. Hmm, time to ask that!

  • Reply Stephanie March 27, 2018 at 6:14 am

    I love carrot cake so much, it has to be one of my favorites. But I love the idea of these mini ones. Makes it so much easier to sere. I have the perfect little containers to make there too!

  • Reply Kathy March 27, 2018 at 9:11 am

    These look very good. I love carrot cake. It’s one of my favorite cakes. I think I’m going to have to make some of these for Easter this year!

  • Reply Lindsey March 27, 2018 at 9:12 am

    The dish that I remember the most, which I must get the recipe from my mother is her sponge cake with the best frosting and sprinkles, she used to make for my brother when we had our birthday’s. Cooking for me is so important as it brings the family together.

  • Reply Stella March 27, 2018 at 10:40 am

    I love carrot cakes. I have never baked one before but will try my hands on this recipe here. Sounds yummy.

  • Reply Sabrina March 27, 2018 at 10:49 am

    last sunday my sister in law made us taste her version of carrot (and cinnamon) cake; it was delicious but since she loves to change a recreate her recipes, I think I’ll send her this one and I’m eager to taste the results. Once I used to make cakes with my mum, I hope one day me and my kids will prepare sweets together with my partner.

  • Reply Shoshana Sue March 27, 2018 at 11:48 am

    If you sold this cake I would happily buy all of it because you had me at moist and just the yummy photos. So glad to hear your grandpa had a recipe collection that took your dad back in time. That’s heartwarming!

  • Reply Kartika Nair March 27, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    In India there is a dish called carrot halwa . Its a dessert our grandmum used to make . Your carrot cake reminds me of that . I’m gonna try this for sure . Thanks!

  • Reply Sadie March 27, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    What I would give to snack on this at this moment! It looks amazing. Love anything with coconut in it!

  • Reply Ann F. Snook-Moreau March 27, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    It’s amazing how certain foods carry with them very specific memories of the past. My favorite from my family is eating my weight in my Grandma’s mashed potatoes because they somehow tasted better than anyone else’s.

  • Reply Anna Szoke March 27, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    I was on a hunt for the perfect dessert for our traditional family breakfast (yeah heard that right we have Easter breakfast) and I knew I will find it on your site Alison. It seems I soon have enough recipes printed out from you to actually have them as a cooking book 🙂 Did you ever think about publishing your recipes? It would be awesome.

  • Reply Star Harford March 27, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    I love that you are carrying family traditions on and I think your Grandfather would love your version of his recipe box! My Grandmother passed a few years ago and she used to make delicious biscuits for everyone. We called them Grandma biscuits and I really thought the recipe had died with her…until my Grandad spent the next few weeks perfecting them again so he could give them to everyone who missed them. They are now Grandad biscuits and at the age of 90 he makes me a box every time I run out! Hopefully one day (not too soon) I will have that recipe and carry on the biscuit tradition!

  • Reply Madelyn March 27, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    I can still remember baking with my mom. Her cookies were the best. It’s a pity she doens’t make them anymore. And I would love to try a nice carrot cake some day!

  • Reply Jennifer Prince March 27, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    Ok, you got me!! I am the ONLY person in my household that adores carrot cake, BUT I’ve never made it. I’m going to try this and see if I can convince my family. Ha! 😉

  • Reply Vanessa Delia March 27, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    I’m glad they’re ok with their nocturnal daughter calling at a later hour. My mother was NEVER available later at night and I was one of those nocturnal people as well, ha!

  • Reply Laurence March 27, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    oh wow, this looks yummy! Really brings back memories when I was a kid. I really don’t like carrots much, then my Mom put some carrots on muffin, viola.. I’m able to eat carrots. Anyway, really love the carrot cake especially with almonds. Thanks for this one cause I like coconuts too 🙂

  • Reply Carol March 27, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    Oh those sweet memories of being in the kitchen with my grandmother and my mom, they’re always the best. I still have all our family recipes and I love making them from time to time especially when I’m feeling nostalgic. Nothing beats a recipe that you grew up to. These carrot cakes are like little pieces of heaven.

  • Reply Sara Welch March 27, 2018 at 10:46 pm

    My family really loves their carrot cake. I couldn’t imagine a gathering without it.

  • Reply Kita Bryant March 27, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    Now this is a recipe I need to try out. I have never in my life made a carrot cake.

  • Reply Annreeba March 28, 2018 at 12:04 am

    First ever from scratch carrot cake, in memory of my dad….it came out like something from a gourmet bakery! It was great!

  • Reply Lindsay March 28, 2018 at 12:12 am

    This looks incredible and so delicious! With Easter coming I may just have to snag this recipe for our family! Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Pamela March 28, 2018 at 12:53 am

    I don’t know what I liked the most about this post, the story behind the carrot cakes or the carrot cakes themselves! I think family traditions are important, especially as you get older, it is a wonderful feeling to look back and remember the things we enjoyed when we were kids. The carrot cakes look amazing! I have never made carrot cake before, I am not a baker at all, but these definitely make me want to give it a try. Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Chei Pangan March 28, 2018 at 8:05 am

    Ali, this cake is SO good! I made it to take to a potluck at work on Friday and everybody asked for the recipe. I’m so pleased. I also made your brisket recipe this past weekend which I’m never disappointed with! Thanks, as always, for your wonderful recipes. xo

  • Reply Amanda March 28, 2018 at 11:26 am

    I treasure the traditions of family recipes. I have my grandmother’s recipe box and it is so nice to look into her recipe box and see her handwriting, my mom’s handwriting and my aunt’s handwriting.

    Your carrot cake looks amazing. I have been looking for a dessert to share this Easter and this might top the list!

  • Reply Lynndee March 28, 2018 at 11:31 am

    My mom used to bake a lot. And it’s her chiffon cake that I will always have a fond memory of. 🙂 I’ve never had coconut carrot cake before. I would love to try your recipe soon.

  • Reply Corinne March 28, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    I actually never had a carrot cake in my life before! these look so cute and tasty! I grew up with crêpes and waffles at home so that might be our tradition!

  • Reply Kristy Bullard March 28, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    We always have spaghetti on Sunday. Nothing special or fancy, but my kids love it. Those are the things kids remember – like your weekend pancakes. I don’t think your carrot cakes would last long at my house!

  • Reply Aishwarya Shenolikar March 28, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    I usually don’t like coconut much in desserts, but I think in this one, it just adds the x factor. Love how amazing they look! Great job at food photography too!! 🙂

  • Reply Elizabeth O March 28, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    This carrot cake looks incredible! It would make the perfect addition to an Easter family meal.

  • Reply Renata Green March 28, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    The carrot cakes look really nice – the frosting is wonderful. However – how about those potato pancakes from your dad? You should give them a try – and us the recipe (I actually prefer savory food and potato pancakes sound like something that might become my favorite)

  • Reply Emily Fata March 28, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    I’m actually obsessed with carrot cake, and am willing to try any and every recipe. I can’t wait to try yours — it looks amazing, and the frosting seems to die for!

  • Reply Samantha March 28, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    I love carrot cake, but every time I try to make it, it never seems to come out as delicious as when I buy it. I definitely will try this recipe, it seems like a real winner!

  • Reply HilLesha March 28, 2018 at 9:17 pm

    We love carrot cake too, and I use to hate grating the carrots. Then I discovered the Salad Shooter. It grates my carrots perfectly, and is so fast. I do cut the carrots into strips, but other than that it’s a breeze!

  • Reply Claudia Krusch March 28, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    I loooove carrot cake! I usually put chocolate icing, but yours sound sooo good!

  • Reply Emman Damian March 29, 2018 at 3:40 am

    I love a good carrot cake. I also have a passed down recipe from my grandmother. I still kept it in my mini cook book journal. I love a carrot cake with lots of cream cheese. It makes it more yummier!

  • Reply Louise March 29, 2018 at 5:30 am

    Wow, that carrot cake is making my mouth water! I absolutely love it, it’s probably my favourite cake, Which is odd as I’m not a big fan of carrots as a vegetable generally!

  • Reply Becca Wilson March 29, 2018 at 10:42 am

    Carrot cake is seriously my favorite! I have had this as my choice of birthday cake for a while and am going to have to try this out.

  • Reply Lisa Rios March 29, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    These little carrot cakes are adorable! These would be great for a party. We love carrot cake in our family.

  • Reply Lindsay March 29, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    Food can evoke such powerful memories and there is something so special about family recipes that have been passed down through generations. I know there are a few recipes that instantly make me think of my mom or grandma, or great grandma for that matter. I’m not much of a cook, but I hope one day my son has similar memories of something I make. This carrot cake looks phenomenal. Yum!

  • Reply Christopher Mitchell March 29, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    Oh my goodness. I wasn’t hungry before this post, but I officially am. These are honestly great, and I feel like they’d be perfect before company came over. Not to mention the photography is downright beautiful, so well done!

  • Reply Anosa March 30, 2018 at 12:59 am

    As a kid I remember baking birthday cakes with my mum and her teaching me and my cousin how to bake different types of cakes including carrot cakes which is a favourite past time.

  • Reply Autumn March 30, 2018 at 8:17 am

    I so enjoy reading your words, even if you do make me say ‘moisten’ in my head. You’re just the greatest, most lovely, and witty thing to read in the morning with my coffee. Thank you, Ali!

  • Reply LaToyia Dennis March 30, 2018 at 11:27 am

    OMG!!! This looks DELISH! I soooo want one of these NOW! I am not a baker but I am certainly going to try.

  • Reply Cristina pop March 30, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Ali, the only thought I can manage, on the grayest morning of the sleepiest Friday of the most dreary month, is: your writing is wonderful. Thanks for this post and for writing so winningly about the joys of family recipes. xo

  • Reply Chi Mpundu March 30, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    I absolutely love this. Family recipes and traditions are so great, even when they’re extremely simple. The memories that accompany the recipes make them so much better. Can’t wait to give the carrot cake a try!

  • Reply Elizabeth Keend March 30, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    Just beautiful writing. And it didn’t hurt that I’m reading it on a day when the sky is blue, and the sun is shining. Yes, it’s still twenty degrees outside, but with a little sun and a fire going, it doesn’t seem to matter.

    So with something lovely to read, a damn good cup of coffee, and a little sunshine, I’m convinced that at least for this minute all’s right with my world.

    I wish the same to everyone who visits this blog, and, of course, to you, Ali.

    Elizabeth Keene

  • Reply Debbie March 30, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    Delicious! When I was growing up, each member of the family got to choose their birthday cake recipe. My brother always chose carrot cake, and I’m so old that this predated food processors. I always had to grate the carrots by hand, and usually some of my knuckles, too!

  • Reply Amber S. March 30, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    Family meals are a tradition all to themselves! So many of my best childhood are centered around food! LOL. I adore carrot cake, and we have a bakery here that makes a scrumptious one. I wouldn’t have thought to add coconut, but it sounds (and looks) amazing, and now I need to try it!

  • Reply Eliza March 31, 2018 at 7:10 am

    What a wonderful family story and traditions, I would love to cook one very special dish once a year and have all my relatives taste it. I wish to improve it and keep that promise, hopefully, I can make traditions for my generations too. By the way, the carrot cake is way too special, very tempting – I may try this recipe this weekend.

  • Reply Eliza March 31, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    Ali, by chance, have you read Marion Cunningham’s preface to the Fannie Farmer Cookbook (my edition is from 1983)? it will make you weep to hear her talk about how we have to teach cooking to women who didn’t learn from their mothers and grandmothers. xx

  • Reply Laura Dove April 2, 2018 at 6:20 am

    Oh I love a family recipe, traditions like that are so important aren’t they? I love carrot cake, but in all honesty my favourite part of it is the frosting alone!

  • Reply Lizzie April 2, 2018 at 9:45 am

    You are my new best friend!! Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting sounds like a perfect diet breaker. I have a lot to catch up on…all of your other recipes sound marvelously dreamy! Thx!

  • Reply Jess April 4, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    I know a lot of people don’t like carrot cake just based off the name but it is delicious. I’ve never tried to make it myself though!

  • Reply EscapeWriters April 5, 2018 at 11:59 am

    I think Grand Parents are incredible…they always have something special which we used to eat at childhood… we are just fighting for the last piece of our favorite cake…your family seems deeply connected to traditional recipes…Love both your Carrot Cake and the loving family you have…Whenever I will eat that definitely going to remember you!!!

  • Reply Victoria April 6, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    Not sure who I love more, the author or the carrot cakes. I love the personality and creativity of the blog as well as the recipe. Looking forward to trying it! xx

  • Reply Melanie April 6, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    Lol my mum is normally in bed by 9 so I tend to get told off if I phone at 10pm. I first started making carrot cake when I was pregnant 1st time around, it’s yummy and can’t be that unhealthy – it’s made with carrots!!!!

  • Reply Brittany April 8, 2018 at 9:31 am

    You absolutely HAVE to try carrot cake with pistachios in the batter, cream cheese frosting and topped with more pistachios. It’s magical. Seriously. Something special, like telling your mom she doesn’t have to make your favorite cake ever for your birthday and she says okay, but then (SURPRISE!!!) she made it anyways! 😀 (hint: this is the favorite).

  • Reply Iya - Louisa April 9, 2018 at 2:07 am

    My dad loves carrot cake but I hate cream cheese frosting, but then again I think he loves it more so he doesn’t have to share ahaha. Shall be trying this out for him!

  • Reply Joely Smith April 10, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    My grandmother made potato pancakes and I sure wish I could replicate them! Nothing is better than tasting a favorite dish from our childhood! I can replicate her goulash and it’s so good! I LOVE carrot cake! It’s my favorite of cakes! Thank you so much for the recipe! I hope that I can make it in a way that lives up to your family tradition!

  • Reply Bobbi April 10, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    This carrot cake changed my life. I have never had my own birthday cake that someone lovingly made for me each year. I could never settle on just one thing and switched it up every year looking in vain for the perfect birthday cake. Husband (who is NOT a baker) made this for my birthday last weekend and I went to some sort of carrot cake nirvana. I don’t even like carrot cake that much. I’m a chocolate girl. But this is it. The Official Birthday Cake.

  • Reply Sarah April 11, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    Even better the next day! Just had another piece this afternoon after baking it yesterday! No topping this time. The cake is SO DELICIOUS on its own! OMG this is the best! Thanks again!!

  • Reply Jana April 12, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    I made this cake over the weekend to take to a potluck at work. Everyone gave it five stars and we have some picky eaters in the mix! It was very moist and absolutely perfect. I didn’t change a single thing, except used two nine inch round pans instead of one cake pan. I had a little bit of a problem getting the cake out of the pans because of its moistness and density. Next time I make it I will not just spray the pans but also flour them like my mom does, and I’m sure that will help. Very, very good!

  • Reply Lex April 13, 2018 at 1:31 am

    This looks amazing. I kinda like thr mix and i have never had a carrot cake before. New things i keep learning about on your blog makes me want to be in the kitchen someday with you while you teach me all about it. Am sure this tastes good too.

  • Reply Cristina April 13, 2018 at 4:22 am

    I always remember my Grandma baking us a million cakes, and carrot cake was my second favourite (after chocolate of course). I’ve never been able to recreate it but I will keep trying!

  • Reply Jessica April 14, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    I made this cake for my mom’s birthday (which happened to be Easter Sunday), it was AWESOME!!! Everyone loved it. My husband didn’t even have to listen to me cuss at the cake because it was so darn easy to make. Although, my poor steaming hot little kitchen wasn’t very helpful while frosting (Delaware is HOT this Spring) and there were a few choice words. I practically paid my hubby to turn the air in our apartment on a bit early (a big no-no). Other than that, it was perfect – – even if I was lazy and chopped my carrots in the food processor. I also soaked my raisins in about a 1/4 cup of bourbon for a bit and poured the whole thing in. Amazing! And yes, I had a ton of frosting left over which saved the freakishly spicy Trader Joe’s ginger cookies I’ve been debating over what to do with. Best snack ever!!! Thanks so much! Your site is my favorite place to go. : )

  • Reply Cristina Coroiu April 15, 2018 at 8:42 am

    Ok, this recipe has been on my back burner since I discovered your blog. Amazing. We made this weekend as a surprise for my sister’s birthday. (Carrot Cake is her favorite) My true test of a new recipe is when fiance wants to make it for someone else other than us. But the second bite, he asked, “Who else can we make this for?”

  • Reply Pippa April 15, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    This carrot cake looks DELICIOUS, especially the frosting. Carrot cake is one of my favorites, and I typically make it for Easter. I have never made this version though, and might have to give it a try! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply Susana April 15, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    I am big on continuing on family traditions. When my father passed away 9 years ago I promised myself to continue on his tradition of making home made olives, chorizo and prossiuto. This carrot cake looks amazing and I’m going to try it for my mum who LOVES cakes!! x

  • Reply Sigrid June 23, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    Oh my gosh Alison! Now I want to eat carrot cake!!! My mouth waters. But I am very specific with the carrot cake that I want — the one that my friend makes. Too bad she does not make them regularly huhuhu

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