Charlie's Vegan Birthday Cake

Charlie's 17th birthday cake, an artistically sophisticated version of the original - same cake inside

Recently, Carol, an imaginative and creative cook and baker friend of mine, sent me the photo below of her daughter's 17th birthday cake. Beyond its artistic quality, I was curious, it is a flourless cake she has been making for nearly 20 years in her family. Intrigued I asked for the recipe and she shared both it and her story below.

Original recipe from The Classic Food Of Northern Italy by Anna Del Conte Story below by Carol

This Lombard version of a carrot cake first came on the scene in my family when I searched for a cake recipe that didn’t require dairy or wheat – a dear friend’s son was allergic and always sat by while everyone else ate dessert. I wanted to make something that he could eat, that we could all enjoy. Part of the experience of having cake is sharing the indulgence.

When I found Anna Conte’s recipe I was intrigued because it was an old recipe that didn’t have any dairy or wheat by chance. So many recipes call for substitutes and the result is often inferior to the original. It was a great hit!

My daughters remember it best when, a few years later, it became an icon as Charlie’s second birthday cake, decorated with orange flowers. She was so little we plopped her beside the cake on the counter as we sang happy birthday and she grabbed her toes and smiled! This photo is her favorite birthday memory (below). Last week, when she turned 17, I re-did the cake, with flowers around as a surprise for her (photo below).

VEGAN CARROT CAKE Original recipe from The Classic Food Of Northern Italy by Anna Del Conte

Charlie's second birthday cake, the original carrot with orange flowers