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Bonding Over Carrot Cake

This dessert recipe keeps these long-distance friends close.

Carrot Cake

My best friend, Kathy, and I met up for lunch at a restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia. We were digging into dessert, big slabs of cake, when she suddenly put down her fork. “This is so bland,” she said, pushing her plate away. “Why is it so hard to find a piece of good ol’ fashioned carrot cake?”

I never knew Kathy liked carrot cake! I thought. It’s been way too long. We really need to catch up.

It had been 13 years since Kathy and I first met when we were teenagers at church camp. We bonded instantly. Over the years we both moved around the country, never landing in the same town. We managed to stay close though—tying up the phones and sending cards and letters like crazy.

Now we were both living in Georgia, less than two hours’ drive from each other, and I recognized a perfect opportunity. “You know, Kathy, I make a pretty mean carrot cake,” I said. “You’ve got to try it sometime.”

I’ve been making carrot cake for so long that I can’t even remember how I got my recipe. There’s something about the vegetable-laden cake and smooth cream-cheese icing that I just simply can’t resist.

“I’d love to! To think, I didn’t even know you baked!” she laughed.

A few weekends later I grabbed some ingredients from my pantry and drove over to Kathy’s place. If I wanted her to try carrot cake my way, I thought it would be a nice treat to prepare it in her kitchen.

I peeled, grated and mixed at lightning speed. Once the cooled cake was frosted I cut a big slice and set it down in front of her.

“Now this is a good ol’ fashioned carrot cake,” I exclaimed, waiting for her reaction.

“Wow! This is incredible!” she said.

We talked and laughed all weekend like we were teenagers again. Before long, the cake was gone.

“We should try to get together like this every month,” I told Kathy.

“At least!” she agreed.

Two years later Kathy’s husband, Marty, got transferred to a job in New Jersey. Not another move, I thought. Lord, my best friend and I always seem to be apart. Help us stay close.

We went back to our regular phone calls and sending letters, but it just wasn’t the same.

One afternoon Marty called. “Kathy’s birthday is in a few days,” he said. “I know how much it will mean for her to see you. I’ve already booked your flight.”

That entire weekend Kathy and I were inseparable. The morning of my flight home, I sent Kathy off to work with a big hug. The second the door shut behind her I marched right into her kitchen. I’m sure you can guess what I made!

There was a message on my machine when I got back home. “What a treat!” Kathy said. “No cake will ever measure up to yours. Just like our friendship, it’s one of a kind.”

Over the years that carrot cake has had a funny way of keeping us close. Like the time Kathy and I were living on different coasts and met up for a girls’ trip to Florida. After a long flight and a few snags checking into our hotel, we couldn’t wait to unpack and relax in our room.

I unzipped my suitcase. “You didn’t!” Kathy shouted when I pulled out a container of my carrot-cake cupcakes.

Kathy isn’t the only person who likes my carrot cake. When I was planning my wedding five years ago, as you might imagine, my husband, Rob, and I chose a carrot wedding cake. And of course, there was no one better to serve the cake to our guests than my best friend, Kathy, and her husband.

When I asked God to keep Kathy and me close, did I ever imagine that a simple carrot cake was part of his plan? Never. But I thank him every day for it.

Today Kathy and I are going on 33 years of friendship. There’s nothing—not even a delicious carrot cake—that’s sweeter than that.

Try Kathy’s Favorite Carrot Cake!

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