Wedding of the Week-circa 1995 and my Vegan Gluten Free Carrot Cake Recipe

Nineteen years ago today, we stood under a blooming willow branch, with a friend reading us the wedding ceremony we wrote, joyful in our love, happy that our worlds were joining, hoping for the future.


Wedding Vows- Jean McFadden Layton and Edward Layton
Wedding Vows-
Jean McFadden Layton and Edward Layton

We made the decision to marry quickly.
No, not for necessity, although I do seem to be posing with a baby bump.

Cutting the Cake
Cutting the Cake

Our romance moved quickly to this ultimate conclusion for two reasons.

Ed knew he loved me.

I knew I loved Ed.

We had both been married before.

Knew what love could do to both make and break your heart. We were willing to do it all again.
So we brought together our loved ones, friends and family, on the one day we thought no one would have to be working.

A Saturday in Spring that fell on the same weekend as Passover, Easter and Tax Day.

Many of our friends worked with us, catering to high end clients. Any other weekend, most would be working, passing drinks or cooking for them. We truly wanted to get them together to celebrate.

Alas, it was not to be. Some debutante wanted to have a tea party too. So we were missing one of our best buddies.

At least my mother could be there, sick as she was.

Ed feeding me cake
Ed feeding me cake
Wedding of the Week 4/15/1995
Wedding of the Week 4/15/1995

We had a glorious day, full of joy, dancing, friends and great food.

We cooked all of our meal ourselves that morning downstairs where I worked.

In the kitchens of God’s Love We Deliver, roasting turkeys and hams, toasting rolls and hors d’oeuvres.

Everything but the cake.That was a gift to us from Chuck the baker at GLWD. A beautiful Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese icing.

I know the print is hard to read on this Wedding of the Week.  Sometimes working for a not for profit can bring you special joys.  When I announced my engagement in the kitchen, one of the volunteers asked if I would mind if  the New York Times could cover my wedding as a way to get God’s Love We Deliver some press. Ed and I happily agreed.

I’ve taken inspiration from that cake and created my Vegan Gluten Free Carrot Cake recipe. We’ll be eating it for dessert tonight.

Vegan Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Recipe
Vegan Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

Wedding Vegan Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Gluten-Free
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This cake has become one of my family's favorites. Without frosting, it is truly a healthy breakfast, full of fiber rich carrots, applesauce and raisins with a healthy dose of protein from the toasted walnuts. With the frosting, it becomes a treat dessert. I've included both ways to make the frosting, dairy full and dairy free. Even my vegan friends prefer the dairy version.
Recipe type: Vegan Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
Serves: 12
  • 3 large carrots- grated
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger- grated
  • 113 grams (1/4 cup) light olive oil
  • 20 grams (2 teaspoons) vanilla extract
  • 400 grams (1½ cups) organic applesauce
  • 85 grams (3/4 cup) coconut shreds
  • 70 grams (1/2 cup) raisins or currants
  • 200 grams (1¼ cup) Whole Grain Flour Mix
  • 100 grams (3/4 cup) White Flour Mix
  • 69 grams (1/3 cup) organic cane sugar
  • 53 grams (1/3 cup) brown sugar
  • 15 grams (1 tablespoon) baking powder
  • 5 grams (1 teaspoon) baking soda
  • 20 grams (2 teaspoons packed) Pixie Dust
  • 12 grams (1 tablespoon)cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon each nutmeg and cloves
  • 5 grams (1/2 teaspoon) salt
  • 120 grams (1 cup) walnuts-toasted Chop ¾ cup and reserve remaining for topping.
  • 8 ounces cream cheese or vegan cream cheese
  • 4 ounces butter or vegan butter
  • ½ cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. To toast walnuts: place on cookie sheet in 350 degree oven for 6-8 minutes till lightly browned. Stir after 5 minutes. Allow to cool before chopping
  2. Leave oven on for baking the cake.
  3. Grease two 9 inch cake pans.
  4. Combine in a large bowl: carrots, ginger, oil, vanilla, applesauce, coconut and raisins.
  5. Stir together the flours, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, pixie dust, spices and salt.
  6. Blend the two mixtures together.
  7. Pour into the prepared pans equally.
  8. Bake for 40-45 minutes or till center springs back when tapped and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center.
  9. Remove from oven, let cool 5 minutes then turn out onto cooling rack to complete cooling.
  1. Beat together the cream cheese and butter.
  2. Add sugar and vanilla, beat till smooth.
  3. If you are making the vegan version: combine all ingredients and beat till just combined. If you attempt to beat well, the vegan cream cheese will break and become a gluey mass with oil pouring out.
  4. Once the cake cools completely, smooth ½ cup or so of the frosting on top of one layer.
  5. Add second layer and frost top of that.
  6. Sprinkle with reserved walnuts and serve

Keeping this cake Vegan Gluten Free Carrot Cake Recipe simple means that anyone can make a great cake for their wedding or celebration. But even better, it stirs together so quickly that it is one of our favorite breakfasts.

So many changes have happened in the intervening time. By the time we got to our first anniversary, I was an orphan and Ed had lost his father.

We moved to New Jersey and then to Portland Oregon to go to Naturopathic college for me and Acupuncture school for Ed

We  had our beautiful twins (in the middle of medical school), moved to our small town and raise lots of our own food.
But our love hasn’t changed, just deepened and grown.


  1. Debbie KW says

    Hi Jean,
    I made your carrot cake recipe for Easter. I left out the nuts and coconut and added extra carrots. I frosted it with cream cheese frosting and dusted it with cinnamon sugar. Everyone loved it, including our non-GF family!!! Thank you for sharing another delicious recipe!!

  2. Wendy says

    Happy Anniversary!

    My husband’s maternal family is McFadden and we have been doing some ancestral snooping. Know anything about yours?

      • Wendy says

        Hi Jean,

        Think origin is from the Isle of Mull, family name MacFaddyan, from what we have found. Migrated to Ireland to avoid the Clearances and then US to avoid the famines.
        Just what we have found so far. Kinda fun stuff!

  3. Don Burton says

    Lovely pictures. We had our 50th on the 4 of April. I hope they have been a pleasant 19 years and may you have many more.

  4. Chris says

    April 15, 1995 was a glorious sunny day in NYC, made even more so by the joy of two families coming together to celebrate your wedding. And what a gift that Mom could be there too, smiling at us all. She was one determined lady (ever wonder where your backbone comes from … take one look at her and Dad).

    Love you loads, sis.