carrotsYou might recall that my husband and I had no Thanksgiving plans other than packing and unpacking. Thank god our friends had a sweet surprise in store for us.

I am really not a carrot cake fan. Not at all. It’s quite possible that I hold a childish resentment against it for dressing up a vegetable as dessert (I tend to look at zucchini bread with the same jaundiced eye, truth be told), but more than that, I just never had a carrot cake I liked enough to make it myself or voluntarily choose it for dessert.

Enter Catherine and Jeff. Since they were stopping by after their Thanksgiving feast, we thought we’d offer them a Prosecco nightcap, a cozy chat, and a tour of our new home (still in a state of dishabille). To our surprise, Catherine showed up with a sizable hunk of carrot cake just for us. My husband tore into it right away, but I held back since I was still digesting my Thanksgiving frozen pizza and, as I mentioned, I’m not a real fan of the beta carotene-enriched cake.

After our guests left, I snagged a small curious bite before packing the cake up for the night. And then I had another one. And another one. The frosting had none of that off-putting sourness that some cream cheese frostings have. On the contrary, it was sweet and rich, perfectly complemented by a topping of addictive pecans. Also, there was a happy lack of raisins, an ingredient I always have to eat around. (Give me oatmeal chocolate chip or give me death!)

Not that long ago, Catherine got me all okra obsessed; now she’s achieved a carrot cake conversion via her grandmother’s recipe.

The following morning, we finished our hunk of Catherine Carrot Cake with steaming cups of Earl Grey tea, the perfect complement. Now it’s all gone, and I miss it.

I guess I’m gonna have to make some more.

Delicious Carrot Cake

Serves: 12


For the cake:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs (or equivalent egg substitute)
3 cups grated carrots

For the icing:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter
1 1-pound box confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts


For the cake: Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour three round cake pans. Sift together all dry ingredients. Add oil and stir well. Add eggs one at a time, stirring after each to mix well. Fold in the carrots. Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the icing: In a large bowl, beat the softened cream cheese, butter, and confectioner’s sugar. Stir in vanilla. Once cool, ice the top of each cake, placing one on top of the next until you have three tiers, then ice the final top and sides. Sprinkle nuts on top.

Giving Thanks for Friends and Carrot Cake 1 December,2008Stephanie Lucianovic

  • Millicent

    How wonderful that you enjoy this cake as much as we do! I really think it is THE best carrot cake ever. And congratulations on your new home!

  • catherine

    mmm, yummy, that is the best carrot cake if I do say so myself and I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Down with the raisins!

  • It really is quite amazing. I said to Mark tonight, “I might have to make that cake.” His response: “But then what are you going to eat?”

  • i’ve found that a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of a slice of carrot cake improves it by about 800%. i mean, i like all cakes a la mode, but carrot cake – for me, it’s just not complete without the ice cream.


Stephanie Lucianovic

A former picky eater, Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic is a writer, editor, and lapsed cheesemonger in the San Francisco Bay Area. A culinary school grad with an English lit degree, she has written for,, Popular Science, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. Additionally, she has been writing for KQED’s Bay Area Bites since its inception and is the website editor for KQED’s Emmy-award winning show “Check, Please! Bay Area.”

Stephanie was an original recapper at Television Without Pity and worked on a line of cookbooks for William-Sonoma as well as in the back kitchen of a Jacques Pépin cooking show. Her first book, SUFFERING SUCCOTASH: A Picky Eater’s Quest To Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate (Perigee Books, 2012) is a non-fiction narrative and a heartfelt and humorous exposé on the inner lives of picky eaters that Scientific American called “hilarious” and “the perfect popular science book for a reader that doesn’t think he or she wants to read a popular science book.”

Stephanie lives in Menlo Park with her husband, three-year-old son, assorted cats, and has been blogging at The Grub Report for over a decade.

Follow her on Twitter at @grubreport

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