In my opinion, cake is usually a form of dessert that is much better served if squashed flat, crammed with chocolate chips, and transformed into a cookie. Most cakes usually seem to be made of too much air and not enough substance, a fact which makes me often twice as more likely to be disappointed after polishing off a cheap grocery-store cupcake with dyed-pink icing than a cheap cookie of any kind.
However, the carrot cake at P&R Baked Goods, Broad Street Market, Harrisburg, is a cake to make an exception for. A single cake takes two days to build, says Nora Proctor, the bakery’s “pound cake diva,” for the cake is first mixed and molded then soaked in a buttermilk mixture overnight. Once baked, the cake is as dense as it is mighty: a wall of raisins, walnuts, and shredded coconut as dense and high as Jericho. Each bite is so brown-sugar moist that it’s almost like eating cake batter. The cake’s dark buttery flavors are cut by the cream cheese icing, which is flavored with lemon juice and a little bit of lemon peel. The result is a sweet-but-not-too-sweet, massive cake — a whole cake is heavy enough to rival a lasagna, weighing in at 8 1/2 pounds.
The carrot cake is “one of the most unique cakes I make,” Nora Proctor told me in 2010, who claims that P&R Baked Good provides “stuff as good as your mama’s.” For this reason — heck, for any occasion — I recommend this carrot cake as a dessert to bring home for the holidays, since a single cake is probably enough to feed an army. Just don’t start taste testing it first.
P&R Baked Goods
Broad Street Market