This is my husband’s and my favorite cake. So much so that we had it for our wedding cake. If you want to go right to the recipe, then skip down a bit. If you want to hear a funny wedding story, then read on.
We fell in love with a carrot cake served at the bookstore/coffee shop Upstart Crow in downtown San Diego’s Seaport Village. When we decided to get married, we contacted the baker and made arrangements for him to make our wedding cake. The one caveat, however, was that he was a devout Jew who strictly observed the rules of Shabbat. He, therefore, was delighted to be our baker but would have to deliver the cake to us Friday before sundown, which was the day before our wedding.
He delivered a beautiful sheet cake and two large rounds with the most delicious cream cheese frosting…in the world. I may, at times, be accused of hyperbole, but not in this particular case. The two rounds fit nicely in our refrigerator, but the sheet was too large. With his blessing, we set it on a low coffee table in the coolest area of our new house, the living room.
After the rehearsal and dinner, we returned home, exhausted, knowing we needed lots of sleep for the day to follow. On a whim, I walked into the living room and lifted the telltale pink box cover housing our cake. I was quite tired, but suddenly very puzzled. The edges of our cakes seemed to be moving. I blinked a couple of times and took another look. My voice literally caught in my throat.
Marching around the very outer edge of our lovely wedding cake was a quarter inch thick band of the most highly organized brigade of ants I’d ever seen. My soon to be husband came running when he couldn’t make sense of the incoherence coming out of my mouth.
“Holy S*@#!” His words, not mine, although I couldn’t have said it better.
He pulled the cake from it’s pink paper box and set it onto the dining room table. He took a spoon and banged in on the side of the table as to induce fear and panic. Oddly, it seemed to work and a few confused ants fell out of line and made a run for it. He whacked them with the back of the spoon, two among thousands. I looked at him like he was a crazy person and then did the most sensible thing I could think of. I called my mom.
“Honey, don’t worry about it. Every one of us will go to every bakery in the morning and we’ll buy gorgeous smaller rounds. It’ll be beautiful.” She soothed and comforted me and I hung up feeling only a bit better.
It had been a very long day. I, the youngest of nine children was marrying the youngest of nine. Our entire families met earlier that evening for the first time and mingled together amicably, but it had been a logistic feat getting everyone in the same place on the same day from every corner of this country and Europe.
I walked into our tiny kitchen and pulled an enormous butcher knife from the block. “Little bastards,” I muttered under my breath. I was not in the mood for ants on my damn wedding cake. With a steady hand, and in total silence, I cut two inch margins from each sides of the disaster before me, stuffing the pieces and the accompanying ant army into air tight plastic bags. With sharp kitchen shears, I cut the cardboard upon which the cake rested, whereupon it fit perfectly in the refrigerator. It took less than five minutes.
The following morning, we brought our beleaguered cake to Hugh’s, our neighborhood baker who refrosted the entire thing. The pink and purple flowers they’d proudly piped on top were not exactly what I’d asked for, but I smiled with gratitude.
At the reception, whispers went through the Waczek family to “eat the round cakes.” Almost no one was the wiser. When I think back to my wedding day, many things come to mind, however, only one thing comes to mind each time I bake a carrot cake.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 2 hours including cooling time
Yield: 2 single layered cakes or 1 double layered cake – serves 12-16
Special equipment: 2 9″ round cake pans
3 1/2 c. almond flour
2/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. coconut sugar
1 T cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs (or egg substitute for vegan)
1/2 c. grapeseed oil
3 c. grated carrots
1 1/2 c. shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 c. crushed pineapple, strained
1 c. raisins
1 c. chopped walnuts or pecans
*Cream Cheese Frosting
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Mix almond flour, brown sugar, coconut sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt together.
- Mix oil and eggs together and add to dry ingredients.
- Add carrots, coconut, pineapple, raisins and nuts and mix thoroughly.
- Grease 2 9″ round cake pans and divide batter among them.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Cool completely before frosting.
- For a double layer, spread a thick layer of frosting onto bottom cake, then top with the second layer. Frost entirely.
- To serve in a single layer, half the frosting recipe and freeze the other layer for another time.
*omit frosting to keep the cake vegan.