Wanda’s Carrot Cake

I use this blog, in part, to document cherished family recipes. Wanda was my childhood best friend’s mom and the woman who taught me a lot about cooking. Here is one of her best recipes: a carrot cake chockfull of many spices, pineapple, coconut and nuts — and carrots too! I had lost the recipe and her family did not have a copy either. My younger sister reached out to our late older sister’s daughter-in-law to see if she had our sister’s copy. Our sister Marion used Wanda’s recipe to make my wedding cake (as well as Lisa’s and my friend Carol’s, plus I would guess others). I’m so glad my sister Lisa was able to track it down.

  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon, 3/4 tsp. ginger, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. mace
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 20-oz. can crushed pineapple, undrained (reserve 1/3 cup for frosting)
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 2 cups chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
  • 1 cup coconut

Mix oil, sugar and eggs together throughly. Add vanilla and mix.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, spices, baking soda and powder and salt. Add dry mixture to wet mixture, beating well. Add pineapple, carrots, nuts and coconut.

Pour into a 13 x 9 baking pan and place in pre-heated 350-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until done. Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.

ADDENDUM: Lisa had reached out to two sources that she thought had this recipe, and later heard back from the second person. The one they had documented called for 1 1/2 cups of oil (which they then noted to reduce to 1 1/4 cups), vs. Marion’s note of 1/2 cup. And unlike Marion’s written copy, it said to “drain” the pineapple, which from what I remember when making this in the past, I always did drain it. The second one also called for 1/2 to 1 tsp. of grated orange rind (zest) to add in the last step (I think that sounds like a good addition). I’m going to experiment, and research other carrot cake recipes with pineapple and coconut to see what they use for the proper amount of oil.

3 thoughts on “Wanda’s Carrot Cake

  1. !!! WOW Cool!!!! Thank you for sending this. It is now in a special recipe file. It will be fun to make this for some special occasions in the future. : D


  2. Marion made this cake for my wedding back in the 90’s and it’s a recipe I will hang onto for as long as possible. This is a VERY YUMMY recipe!!! Thank you for sharing Sharon. I thought I had kept this in my recipe box and was very sad when I couldn’t find it there one day a couple months ago. Hopefully I won’t lose it again! : )

    1. I know I had had it in my recipe box, which I had reorganized a few years ago and discovered it was lost. Nobody in Wanda’s family had it and I was sad, too. Luckily Lisa thought to reach out to Cheryl, Marion’s daughter-in-law, thinking she probably had some of Marion’s recipes, and she did have this one. I’m happy it has been found for fans of it but mostly for Wanda’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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