The Waldorf Astoria Carrot Cake

The Waldorf Astoria Carrot Cake

The Waldorf Astoria Carrot Cake, Food, Culture, Place: Stories, Traditions and Recipes of Newfoundland.

Food, Culture, Place: Stories, Traditions and Recipes of Newfoundland

Many homes in Newfoundland still hold well-stocked pantries of bottled moose or rabbit, freezers of corned capelin, and eider ducks at the ready, waiting for a special meal. Food Culture Place celebrates the land these foods come from and encourages everyone to put more traditional foods back on their plates. 

Lori McCarthy and Marsha Tulk have been collecting and cooking their way through the wild foods of Newfoundland for decades. This book showcases their experiences and shares the stories they have captured through their work and the people they’ve met. Through it all a runs a deep love of everything that it takes to harvest, hunt and prepare these foods to be enjoyed. 

Food Culture Place leads readers through a one-year food journey. 

Fish are caught, game hunted, berries and plants foraged. Food is prepared, preserved, and stored. Throughout are recipes for traditional dishes, regional delicacies, and modern preparations written for today’s home cook. 

Food, Culture, Place: Stories, Traditions and Recipes of Newfoundland is available at and   

The Waldorf Astoria Carrot Cake

My husband and I took a quick vacation to New York one year before Christmas and stayed at the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan. We made sure to make a reservation at the restaurant in the hotel, the Bull and Bear. We were sure to order one item from the menu that night: the famous carrot cake.

Famous, because I had been entrusted with a sacred family recipe passed down to only the girls in the Tulk family. On the recipe card my mother-in-law had written:

Gran Tulk kept this recipe within the family circle. The story behind it—Gran’s sister Madge in Halifax and her friend visited New York and had lunch at the Waldorf Astoria. This cake was served, and the friend asked the chef for his recipe of the cake. He obliged her with his recipe and a bill for $250! Gran always called this “The Cake.”

I wasn’t sure if I would receive a copy, since I was only married into the clan, not born into it. I have made this recipe for my husband’s birthday for many years. When we received the menu at the Bull and Bear and scanned the dessert selection, we were surprised not to see carrot cake listed at all. Under the B&B Bread Pudding and, of course, New York Cheesecake was the Waldorf Astoria Original Red Velvet Cake. We placed our order and asked about the carrot cake. The waiter politely said that he had never seen a carrot cake on the menu in the many years that he had worked there. We ordered, received, and thoroughly enjoyed our meal, ending it with Red Velvet Cake and an aperitif.

We never questioned the authenticity of the recipe story until recently. Apparently, it is a common story that many families have told: the sacred carrot cake recipe being passed on through generations. If you search the web, hundreds of personal posts will come up about this cake. I will still make it for my husband each March for his birthday with some beautiful sweet carrots from Butler’s farm in Holyrood from my root cellar. It will be even better than the last.

Recipe by Madeline Tulk


1 cup white sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp salt

1  tsp baking powder

1 1/3 tsp baking soda

1 1/3 tsp cinnamon

2 cups carrots, finely grated

1 cup slivered Brazil nuts or walnuts


8 oz cream cheese

2 cups icing sugar

¼ cup butter

2 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 300°F and grease two 8-inch round cake pans.

Combine the sugar and vegetable oil and beat well. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Add to the egg mixture and beat well. Fold in the grated carrots and nuts. Pour into the pans. Bake for 1 hour. Cool completely.

Mix all ingredients for the frosting until completely smooth.

Place one cooled cake on a cake plate. Cover with one-third of the frosting mixture. Place the other cake on top of the iced cake. Use the rest of the icing on the final cake. Decorate with candied carrot swirls and crushed nuts.

Recipe printed with permission from Boulder Books.

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