Speaking from a history of impatience, I can tell you it helps, at least a little, if you can mentally psych yourself up for the things you have to wait for. Like, it takes time to learn things, have you noticed that? It doesn’t matter if you’re picking up a new instrument, taking driver’s ed, meeting a stranger or experimenting in the kitchen: nine times out of ten, you’re not going to get it the first time—ten times out of ten, if you’re me.

Then there’s the post office. It will be crowded, trust me, no matter when you go, so bring your iPhone and catch up on Words with Friends games while you listen for your number to be called. Rush-hour traffic? We all know what that’s like. Expect delays or, you know, quit your office job to avoid traffic altogether.

Just knowing these things, simply anticipating the waits, makes it easier to push through them, easier to handle. At least for me. That’s why I wish I could always know time frames beforehand, I really do.

It’s kind of like this carrot cake.

sliced spelt carrot cake

I made this dark, fragrant cake Saturday night, thanks to a mad craving, at around 10 PM, using a quick adaptation of a recipe that is in itself pure simplicity: stir together dry ingredients, add wet, add carrots, bake, frost. When I pulled it out of the oven, it was all I could do (in my classic, act-now character) to wait 15 minutes before frosting and slicing myself a big hunk.

Then. My immediate, in-the-moment reaction? Eh. Quite frankly, I went to bed disappointed. What I’d expected as soft and spiced and comforting was odd and muddied with flavors and unexciting. Ho-hum.

have a slice of spelt carrot cake

I’d basically written the cake off until for some reason the next day, probably because it was quick to slice, I cut out another piece, and wow, was I in for a surprise. Moist and spiced, nicely complemented by the hints of maple in the ricotta frosting, it was like a different cake to me. Everything was the same temperature now, no longer warm in the base and cold in the frosting. This was the carrot cake I had wanted! This was the one I had to have at 10 PM at night! This, it turns out, was a carrot cake that takes time. I just hadn’t known that.

Of course the problem with always needing to know how much time things will take is that much of life is unknown, indefinite. You don’t always know when change will happen or how. I am (of course slowly) learning that. But meanwhile, while I wait to wait better in many areas of life, I am happy to know what to expect in this one: when you make this carrot cake, eat it tomorrow.

Spelt Carrot Cake
Adapted from Ripe the Organic Grocer

For the carrots – I used about a pound of them, but I did something kind of new to me and after shaving their outsides, threw them in the food processor. This gave me very, very fine pieces and I think an overall better texture in the cake.


1 cup white spelt flour
1 cup whole grain spelt flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sucanat
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 large eggs
3/4 cup olive oil
3 1/2 cups finely grated carrot

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix eggs lightly. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add egg and oil, and mix through. Add grated carrot, then mix till combined. Bake in a greased nine-inch-round cake pan lined with greased parchment paper, for around 35 to 45 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from tin.

Ricotta Maple Frosting

2 cups ricotta
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Are you ready for the easiest recipe of all time? Mix ingredients together with a spoon. Done.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 31 Comments

  1. Summer @ Simple Healthy Real

    I love this post. I have some carrots that I picked up at the farmers market that desperately need to be used. I was thinking about baking with them, now I know what I’m going to make. Thank you for the post!

  2. leslie [the whole plate]

    i adore this. the phenomenon of the unexpected is what i love about not only cooking (i don’t – and well, can’t – bake), but life in general. i continue to learn how beautiful the unknown is – even life isn’t what you expect it will be, it tends to surprise you in ways that can still make you happy. your slice of carrot cake certainly looks marvelous, even if it wasn’t up to par on the first go-round!

  3. Tim

    I enjoyed this.

  4. Angie C.

    It is so good to know I am not the only that cooks late at night thanks to cravings! :) I have been to your blog before from Just Simply Live but I ended opening a new food blog since I found myself posting more and more about food. Hope you stop by!

  5. Jacqui

    It’s always so hard to wait! But sometimes so worth it. I like the idea of putting the carrots in the food processor, sometimes I don’t like biting into too much carrot in my cake. Love the ricotta frosting!

  6. IslandEAT

    Well, I wish I could embrace the “patience is a virtue” cliche/aphorism, but no such luck…waiting is still a challenge for me. I concur about the helpfulness of knowing time-frames for waits – they’re great if they are precise or generous…. Thanks, Dan

  7. Shannon @ bakeandbloom

    I think any cakes that are based on fruit & veg are better left to mingle overnight. Choc/beet, choc/zucchini, apple/walnut…all better overnight in my opinion.

    I made some vegan choc cupcakes on the weekend too. I thought they were fantastic fresh out of the oven but oh boy did some magic happen when I left a couple for 2 days.

  8. Niki

    Ricotta maple frosting sounds delicious! I’ve never heard of it… but on top of a spicy carrot cake? Wow, that def must have been good!

  9. Evan @swEEts

    Carrot cake is one of my favorites.. and with ricotta maple icing it sounds even better than the norm! I can never seem to find spelt flour.. do you think it would be the same with all purpose?

  10. Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog)

    I love carrot cake. That frosting is so unique. I never would have thought to use ricotta, it sounds amazing!


  11. Shannalee

    Summer, You know, I saw some beautiful carrots at my farmers market this weekend and didn’t buy them, and I was kicking myself later when I got this craving and had to run to the store. Yay for farmers markets! And carrot cakes! Hope you enjoy this!

    leslie, what a nice perspective you have. beauty in the unknown… ah, I am trying to remind myself of that even as I type.

    Tim, I thought you would.

    Angie, Oh, you’re among friends at this blog. I am a classic craver. When I want something, I will want it right away, ha! I guess that all goes back to the first line of this post, though. Impatience runs deep.

    Jacqui, It is! It is! And I have to say: my food processor is such a great kitchen tool. I use it all the time!

    IslandEAT, Small steps, Dan. Small steps. While I can’t say I like waiting, I can say I want to. : )

    Shannon, Good point! And those cupcakes sound lovely.

    Niki, I am finding I like ricotta in just about everything! : )

    Evan, I’d probably try half wheat and half all-purpose if you were looking for a substitute. Of course you could do all-purpose as a complete sub, but it will just be a little less hearty and the texture might be affected. As far as spelt flour, are you near a Whole Foods? That’s where I buy mine. Sometimes health stores are a good source, too.

    Jenn, Thanks! I just love ricotta!

  12. Maria @ ScandiFoodie

    I’ll have to try this! My partner is on a trial diet and can’t have wheat (spelt is allowed), so this is definitely something he could enjoy too! Thanks for sharing, I love your blog!

  13. Shannalee

    Awesome, Maria, I’m so glad! You should also look into buckwheat flour – a more distinguishable flavor but loads of health benefits.

  14. Kim

    YUM! Also…Words With Friends? Yes, please. (kimskitchensink)

  15. Anne

    I’m not a fan of carrots (and thus cake) so I’ve been a little slow to turn to this post. But the end note – about letting things develop as they will, is perfectly timed. Thanks.

  16. Shannalee

    Kim, Made. My. Day. I look forward to many games, my friend.

    Anne, I honestly so understand, and not just because I didn’t like carrots for a looooong time. Sometimes I don’t feel excited about an ingredient or recipe, and that alone makes me kind of apathetic about reading a post. But I think it’s the best blog readers that read them anyway and are able to find good in them. Thanks for sticking with me! And here’s to letting things develop. Indeed.

  17. Jane

    I know just what you mean about the whole waiting thing. It’s interesting, too, with baking, how some things improve with age–even several hours of aging! The recipe for your frosting is very intriguing. I am curious: How did the frosting, what with the ricotta in it, hold up after hours on the cake, and did its flavor seem to evolve as well?

  18. Gemma

    Oh I know this feeling – I am so impatient at times, I just want things to be right immediately! And this cake sounds great but it is the frosting that I need – love maple frosting. Gx

  19. Shannalee

    Jane, That’s a good question. Over about five days, the frosting tinted a little so it was kind of tan, but it still tasted great, and the flavors hadn’t changed.

    Gemma, Glad I’m not alone! And maple is one of my favs, too. : )

  20. Sues

    Yay, I love when things are better the next day! I just posted about my risotto made with spelt… Spelt is most definitely my new obsession. I need to get some spelt flour!

  21. Shannalee

    Sues, Now see, not only have I never had spelt risotto but I think I’ve had risotto a total of one time. Ever. You’re inspiring!

  22. sara

    yum, shanna! looks so healthy but decadent at the same time. Even the frosting is lightened up… I am a big fan of this.

  23. Shannalee

    Aw, thanks, Sara!

  24. Dana

    I love the sound of the frosting. Yum yum yum.

    They keep saying patience is a virtue, but it’s just so boring to wait. 😛

  25. Shannalee

    Dana, HA! You sound like me.

  26. Heather @ chiknpastry

    Love the additionof spelt flour and the ricoota in the frosting. Will have to give this a try! And, oh – great story – totally agree!

  27. Shannalee

    Heather, I hope you do! And thanks!

  28. Eric

    Thanks for the recipe! I needed this cake for Sunday night, but the only time I was able to make it was on Thursday night. The cake rose more than I expected, almost overflowing the cake pan. After 3 days in the fridge, it tasted fantastic. Next time, however, I would frost it at the last minute instead of after baking, as the frosting began to turn shades of brown in some places (I suppose due to the vanilla and maple syrup).

  29. Shannalee

    Glad you enjoyed it, Eric! And yep, that’s definitely true with this frosting… it’s much better right away. Several people have suggested a cream cheese frosting instead, which I’d love to try next time. : ) Thanks for coming back to tell me how it went!

  30. Eve

    I’m making this into carrot cupcakes…any idea for the cooking time for these cupcakes?

    Also, replacing spelt with buckwheat flour to make them gluten free…ideas on that and how it would change?

    Thanks! (awesome cake)

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Hi Eve, When I switch cakes to cupcakes, I usually lower the baking time by 15 minutes or so and watch it — since I haven’t made this recipe as cupcakes, that’s the best advice I can give you. (But let me know how it goes!)

      And as far as spelt and buckwheat, they are not one-to-one swaps, unfortunately, so switching the spelt for buckwheat will definitely change the cake, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work. It just means you’ll have to experiment with proportions. Good luck!

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