CONFESSION OF A CARROT CAKE JUNKIE

carrot cake

Let others eat their chocolate cake, brownies, and candy, but

I AM A CARROT CAKE JUNKIE.

How bad?  I prefer to eat it slowly, with a shrimp fork, and  an entire pot of tea.

I blame graduate school.  When traveled out of state to attend graduate school, I encountered Entemann’s Carrot Cake at a restaurant, and fell madly in Lust with Carrot Cake.  Before then, I had neither heard of nor eaten Carrot cake, nor cream cheese icing. It was so amazing that I had to stop myself from licking the plate.

After grad school I moved to Philadelphia, where I accidentally rented an apartment a block away from a shop called The Carrot Cake Man, run by a man with his sister, and a cousin.  it wasn’t fancy but, the three of them worked all day in the store from Monday thru Saturday, 11AM-7PM, making NOTHING BUT CARROT CAKE.  Literally.  The place sat 12, and they didn’t provide any drinks or anything else. They made 28 varieties and combinations but only in  carrot cake–with blueberries, strawberries,peanuts, walnuts, you name it.  Sizes ranged from cupcakes, and mini-loaves to enormous sheet cakes.  It was Heavenly.  To get you hooked, they offered free samples of the plain cake, but that was all it took.

Just so you don’t think it was only me, I once took a date there for dessert, since he had paid for dinner.  While I was choosing my cupcakes, my date was given a sample.  When I looked up at him a few minutes later, he had a loaf in each hand and said, “So what are you buying?”.  I took him back to my place to get coffee to eat the cakes, and when I came into the living room carrying the drinks, he had peeled back the plastic on one of his loaves and was half-finished–no plate, no napkin, nothing.  When I made my usual Saturday run to Carrot Cake man the next weekend, the owner said, “You know your friend  you brought here last week?  He was pacing in front of our doors before we opened on Monday morning.”  {Note:  Carrot Cake man closed around 2000, and the last I heard he had developed a twitter following that received daily tweets about where they could find him as he traveled from store to store…..}

Moving to NYC a few years later, I assumed I’d be able to find killer carrot cake in the gastronomic center of the US.  Nope.  There were many pretenders–spice cakes with a carrot made of icing on top, and a few carrots inside–which were sweet but tasted like nothing in particular.  I quickly learned that if the cake had a light color inside, don’t bother buying it; it wouldn’t be worth my time. I will walk into delis and ask them to turn the carrot cake around so I can see the color of the cake, and I’m sure they think I’m crazy when I say, no not dark enough.  I’ve eaten in restaurants and if they present me with a light-colored cake on their dessert tray, I just skip dessert.  I’ve been known to mutter, “That’s not real carrot cake”.   I am searching for good cake in Harlem–there are various shops there that have been recommended, but I have hit a major snag.  I had to change to a gluten-free diet this past year. Now my options for a good cake are even smaller.

Most gluten free dessert options are chocolate, which hides the different taste and consistency of the flours used to replace wheat. I found a gluten-free carrot cake in a health-food store, but it wasn’t great; only better than nothing.  Maybe my best option is to make one, but I don’t want to be alone in my apartment with  a cake that feeds 10!

Has anyone out there found a really good gluten-free carrot cake in a store?  Or maybe a simple recipe; preferably one using molasses?

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3 thoughts on “CONFESSION OF A CARROT CAKE JUNKIE

    1. gretacabaret Post author

      Thank You! I finally found a decent gluten-free flour, so it’s worth a try. The biggest hassle is that the liquid balance is always off. One second it’s fine,and the next your batter sets up like jello….

      Reply

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