Arlo's Carrot Cake

I love a good cake. More importantly I love an occasion that demands a good cake. This weekend was one of those occasions: two of my oldest and dearest friends were coming to visit. These are the kind of friends who bring out the teenager in me. When we’re together it’s goofy voices, dad jokes and giggles that turn into guffaws. We are rarely together. Since we first met in the smallest dorm on campus in Seattle we’ve been strewn across the United States and beyond. We’ve moved from struggling students, to being older struggling students, to changing careers, having a first child, finishing a first book, landing a dream job and a sprinkle of the rest of life. This weekend was the first time in five years that all three of us would be in the same place. This demanded a very special cake.

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I don’t know why I settled on carrot cake or on using this grand occasion to experiment with making my own recipe, either way, the stars aligned and this Gluten-Free Carrot Cake will henceforth be top of my favorite cakes list.

I have one rule about carrot cake: NEVER USE RAISINS. Raisins I are not friends. In my estimation, they are the surest way to spoil a good carrot cake. This recipe is built on a moist, tender crumb and a flavor that doesn’t require frosting. Honestly, this cake would be perfect without anything on top, however for the sake of tradition I’ve opted for a naked cake with the layers cushioned by citrus cream cheese frosting.

On seeing the cake, my friend’s son who’s just beginning to talk, announced “Arlo’s Cake” because naturally this cake was solely for him. Find an occasion, bake a cake my friends.

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Ginger Date Bars


I want to tell you a fascinating story about how this recipe came to be, but the honest-to-goodness truth is simply this: I was hankering for something sweet and homemade and when I scavenged my cupboard I found a bag of oats and dates and thought, "‘Yessss, this will do quite nicely.”


Also I had cabin fever. So I needed a recipe to make me feel productive while I drank a glass of wine. Cause drinking wine while sitting is vacation, but drinking wine while baking is productive. Just nod your head and smile or skip down to the wine segment at the bottom to join me in my productivity.

The truth is I’ve been working on this recipe for awhile and per usual with the gluten-free life I was struggling to get it less crumbly. But I think I’ve done it. These are perfect, chewy, buttery, datey- which is not a thing. If you want to heighten the impact of the ginger I would go ahead and grate some ginger into the date mixture.


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Wine Pairing

Guimaro Tinto
Grape Mencía
Year 2017

Color deep ruby color
Scent ripe raspberry, limestone, earth
Taste lightly sweet up front but drying earthy finish, ripe raspberry, lush blackberry, fruit forward.

About the Wine
The Rodriguez family makes wine in the Ribeira Sacra DO. They named their label after their grandfather’s nickname “Guimaro” meaning “Rebel” in the local dialect. This particular wine is unoaked and made from the Mencía grape, a varietal known for lush fruit and earthy tones. This wine is great for sipping while you cook but will pair easily with most dinners.