Recipe Review

I Tried the Divorce Carrot Cake Reddit Is Obsessed With (Yes, I’m Still Married)

updated Oct 13, 2021
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Credit: Kelli Foster

I’m a sucker for the nostalgia of old recipe cards passed among family and friends — especially when the recipe has an interesting name or good backstory. It will come as no surprise, then, that I thoroughly enjoy the r/Old_Recipes subreddit, where people share this type of recipe daily.

Fellow fans of r/Old_Recipes will know that a particular recipe has recently taken the subreddit by storm: a carrot cake recipe shared by Redditor u/spider_hugs. What’s made it so popular? It’s name — Divorce Carrot Cake — likely has a lot to do with it. According to u/spider_hugs, the cake got this moniker when her dad sheepishly asked her to make her mom’s carrot cake for his birthday, despite the fact that her parents have been divorced for over 20 years. (I was just relieved that the cake doesn’t cause divorce.)

Not only does the original post have more than 300 comments, but upwards of 30 Redditors have also made the cake themselves, uploading their own photos and writing about how moist and tender it is. Many claim it’s the best carrot cake they’ve ever had! Carrot cake happens to be one of my favorite cakes, so of course I had to bake it and see for myself. Here’s how it went.

Get the recipe: Divorce Carrot Cake

How to Make Divorce Carrot Cake

The ingredient list and instructions for this cake come straight from a hand-written recipe card. It calls for basic, easy-to-find ingredients, and at first glance looks extremely straightforward.

To start, you’ll grease and flour two cake pans (I used two 9-inch round pans). Stir together flour, ground cinnamon, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Then combine oil, honey (the recipe calls for 1/2 to 3/4 cup; I used 1/2 cup), eggs (I used large — the standard in baking), and drained, crushed pineapple in a large bowl. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, along with “any remaining items,” which include the grated carrot (you’ll need 4 medium carrots to get the 2 cups grated carrots called for), shredded coconut, chopped walnuts, and raisins (I used 1/2 cup). Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes.

Cool the cakes slightly in the pans, then invert them onto a wire rack to cool completely. The recipe doesn’t include the frosting, but the original post says to use a cream cheese frosting. I opted for Kitchn’s recipe, which I prepared after the cakes were completely cool.

Credit: Kelli Foster

My Honest Review of Divorce Carrot Cake

While the simplicity of the recipe and vagueness of the instructions left me a little skeptical, the backstory and rave reviews were so compelling that I still had high hopes. I wanted to love this cake so much!

I’m sad to say that I actually found this cake to be pretty unremarkable. It wasn’t bad, by any means — just not one I’d make again. As many Redditors noted, the cake is extremely moist (largely due to the crushed pineapple), but it also had a loose crumb that easily fell apart. But what was really missing for me was the fragrance of warm spices throughout the cake — the overall flavor was simply lacking. I will say that considering it’s made with honey, sweetened coconut, pineapple, and raisins, I was pleasantly surprised that the cake wasn’t too sweet.

Next time I’m craving carrot cake, I’ll probably stick with this one.

Credit: Kelli Foster

If You’re Making Divorce Carrot Cake, a Few Tips

  1. Line the cake pans with parchment. In addition to greasing the pans, it’s also helpful to line the bottoms with parchment. This will ensure the cake doesn’t stick and comes out clean.
  2. Add more spices to the batter. In addition to the ground cinnamon, add 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves. This will give the cake more flavor, with a perfume of warm spices without being overwhelming.
  3. Add a pinch of salt to the batter. This isn’t called for in the recipe, but a pinch of kosher salt (about 1/2 teaspoon is just fine) will help bring out some of the flavors.
  4. Toast the walnuts before adding them to the batter. This isn’t called for the in the recipe, but makes for a nice upgrade. Toasting the walnuts gives the cake a little more depth of flavor and adds a rich, nutty undertone. If you want to make this step extra speedy, you can even toast them in the microwave.

Have you ever made Reddit’s Divorce Carrot Cake? Tell us what you thought!

Credit: Kitchn