21 Years of Carrot Cake

 

During times of inordinate stress, pressure, or change, I find that more than any amount of yoga or breathing, the best meditative practice is simply the act of remembering. Remembering is an act of the heart. It gathers the images and energy of the people we associate with the past experience, and we cannot help to feel a pang of gratitude that we were there to share that specific moment in time together. It’s a practice we can do anywhere, anytime. Driving home from work, checking out books from the library, making the bed… you get the idea. We bring these memories into focus and suddenly the many worries and preoccupations of our day fade to the background. The wisdom of friends, family, and strangers who occupy these memories should remind us that the love and admiration we feel for them is reciprocal – they love and believe in us just the same. Some of the most powerful memories we can access, especially during times of self-doubt or criticism, are the ones of our younger and enthusiastic selves. As children, we were not buried deep in worry, restraint, or stress. Our full time jobs were to explore a world in its limitless intricacies. We were constantly seeking, questioning, creating, laughing, and enjoying. When I think of myself at three or four years old I see a little girl who was uninhibited, and free. She beamed with light and exuberance, and felt blissfully content to be who she was. The words “you can’t” were not in her vocabulary yet and she was assured that the entire world was at her fingertips. I remember that girl. She was amazing. I remember her smile, her confidence, and certainty. But then I realize… hey, that girl is me! That same spirit and lightheartedness still lives inside of me. I can still be free like her; and so can you. We should remember the energy and lightness of our childhood and give ourselves permission to cultivate it in our seemingly constrained lives. Conjuring the memory of such a lightness and warmth can even be enough to push you up the hill on a hard day. Carrot cake is a dessert that brings together the best memories of my both my childhood and of my mother. All twenty-one of my birthdays (which is actually in December) have been celebrated with an original carrot cake recipe that she has saved from the 80s. When I emailed her asking for the recipe last week I think she was probably expecting me to completely transform it into a fat-free sugar-free relative. But I couldn’t – memories associated with this keepsake are of an auspicious nature, and I needed to (mostly) maintain its integrity if for no ones sake but my own. A few tweaks to the icing and oils, but otherwise pretty darn accurate. For me, carrot cake celebrates life, love, remembrance, and the many more memories to be made in the future. I will always remember the way my Mom made this cake for my Birthday. Her love, her compassion, her strength, her goofiness, her joy. I would like to be remembered by this cake too. I hope to celebrate the daughter of my future and all her potential with this recipe. May it bring you a moment of lightness and tenderness in the way it did for me this weekend. - Happyolks

What you will need

3/4 cup raw sugar

2 cups all purpose baking flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup melted coconut oil

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 heaping cups of grated carrots

1 cup roughly chopped walnuts

1 1/2 cups crushed pineapple (strained lightly)

1 cup (optiona) raisins

1 cup reduced fat coconut milk

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup brown rice syrup

sprinkling of shredded coconut

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