Foods are often inextricably tied to milestones — see: wedding cake, Valentine's Day pasta or breakup ice cream. But when a recipe called "Divorce Carrot Cake" blows up on Reddit, one must ask the question, "What's up, doc?"
To find out just what was up with this moist-looking masterpiece with an off-putting name, I did some digging into the recipe's backstory, posted by user spider_hugs on Reddit. My initial thought was that this "divorce" cake could end a marriage as quickly as Ina Garten's "engagement chicken" could begin one, but the poster, Elizabeth (who asked to not use her last name), told me this was not the case.
About three years ago, Elizabeth's dad, who is no longer married to her mom, had a "sheepish" request for his birthday: for Elizabeth to retrieve the recipe for her mom's beloved carrot cake and make it for him. Impressed that the cake could "survive" 25 years in her father's heart after his marriage ended, Elizabeth lovingly titled it "Divorce Carrot Cake."
"Some folks seem to think the name implies that the cake will make you get divorced or some other sort of bad juju from naming it as such. I believe the opposite! I find it incredibly touching that my dad remembers something positive about his relationship with my mom," Elizabeth told me on Monday. "I also made it for my boyfriend when we were first dating, and we just got married on Saturday, so I would say it’s a good luck charm for positive marriage vibes."
Once I confirmed this cake wouldn't end my marriage, I grabbed the ingredients (most of which I had already) and got to work. The task came at an opportune time to test out the tastiness of one of my favorite desserts (that 3-ingredient creme brûlée from TikTok is a close second). It was a rainy day and I had two small sous chefs to help me in the kitchen during virtual recess.
The recipe is straightforward and doesn't require too many steps. I was able to whip it up in about 15 minutes, including the time spent shredding the carrots and chopping the walnuts.
First, I mixed up the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients separately. Then, I dumped the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients, and mixed everything together, along with all the other goodies like raisins, walnuts, shredded carrot and shredded coconut. There's no nutmeg, allspice, vanilla or sugar, but the honey, crushed pineapple and double dose (two teaspoons) of cinnamon give it some nice sugar and spice. The mixture turned out a little chunky, dense and not too liquidy.
Once prepared, I divided the batter evenly to two 9-inch baking pans and popped them in the oven for 45 minutes. The timing was right on the nose — my cakes came out a deep golden-brown and filled the house with the warm smell of fall spices.
The final result was just the type of carrot cake I adore: incredibly moist with plenty of personality. Plump raisins, crunchy bits of walnut and flecks of slightly chewy coconut were abundant in every bite. The honey and pineapple made it sweet but not saccharine. The lemon juice in the icing really brightened everything up, though I could have used a little bit more (the recipe said "to taste," so I squeezed the juice of half a lemon), but it was luscious, creamy and easy to spread.
Overall, I'd say this carrot cake will live on for many years in my recipe box. Though I may have to rename it "Together Forever Carrot Cake."