Back in late May, I ordered a decorated sheet cake for my girlfriend Tammie’s birthday celebration. Trying to decide which cake would be best, I settled on the Bakehouse’s 24 Carrot Cake. All the Bakehouse cakes are good, but it’d been a while and I thought it might be nice to have it for the late spring celebration. Man, it was delicious!
I hadn’t eaten any (I’m not a big sweets eater) for ages, but when I took the first bite, I smiled, and went straight back for another. The Bakehouse’s 24 Carrot Cake is impressively excellent. And speaking of good improvements, we’ve started making it with freshly-milled whole wheat flour—you really can taste the difference!
If you need a cake for a birthday party, a Tuesday evening get-together, or a Sunday afternoon coffee klatch, consider ordering one today. Keep in mind that historically, Carrot Cake has sometimes been known as “Passion Cake.” Planning a wedding? We do them as wedding cakes—what a great way to mark a very special occasion.
A Brief History of the Carrot Cake
Carrot puddings have a history going back to at least the 11th century in the Middle East, and then later, in England. Molly O’Neill says George Washington was served a Carrot Tea-Cake at Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan on November 25, 1783, during what came to be known as “British Evacuation Day.” Carrot cake became particularly popular in Britain during WWII when home bakers needed alternatives to sugar, which was being rationed. It took off in the U.S. in the second half of the 20th century as a healthier dessert option. Today it’s an American classic.
The Bakehouse crew says of the 24 Carrot Cake:
We grate nearly 30 pounds of carrots to make one batch of this cake. All those carrots add an incredible moistness and a fresh sweetness to this classic. Combine that with toasted walnuts, aromatic spices and the complex flavor from freshly milled grains … you get a great cake that’s totally delicious on its own. Cover it with a generous amount of cream cheese frosting and it becomes irresistible.
As the late Edna Lewis once said, “No one has ever complained to me that there’s too much frosting on their carrot cake.” Swing by the Bakehouse or the Deli to grab a slice soon!
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In 1982, Ari Weinzweig, along with his partner Paul Saginaw, founded Zingerman’s Delicatessen with a $20,000 bank loan, a Russian History degree from the University of Michigan, 4 years of experience washing dishes, cooking and managing in restaurant kitchens and chutzpah from his hometown of Chicago. They opened the doors with 2 employees and a small selection of specialty foods and exceptional sandwiches.
Today, Zingerman’s Delicatessen is a nationally renowned food icon and the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses has grown to 10 businesses with over 750 employees and over $55 million in annual revenue. Aside from the Delicatessen, these businesses include Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Coffee Company, Creamery, Roadhouse, Mail Order, ZingTrain, Candy Manufactory, Cornman Farms and a Korean restaurant that is scheduled to open in 2016. No two businesses in the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses are alike but they all share the same Vision and Guiding Principles and deliver “The Zingerman’s Experience” with passion and commitment.
Besides being the Co-Founding Partner and being actively engaged in some aspect of the day-to-day operations and governance of nearly every business in the Zingerman’s Community, Ari Weinzweig is also a prolific writer. His most recent publications are the first 4 of his 6 book series Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading Series: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business (Part 1), Being a Better Leader (Part 2), Managing Ourselves (Part 3) and the newly-released Part 4, The Power of Beliefs in Business. Earlier books include the Zingerman’s Guides to Giving Great Service, Better Bacon, Good Eating, Good Olive Oil, Good Vinegar and Good Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Ari regularly travels across the country (and world) on behalf of ZingTrain, teaching organizations and businesses about Zingerman’s approach to business. He is a sought-after Keynote speaker, having delivered keynotes for Inc. 500, Microsoft Expo Spring Conference, Great Game of Business Gathering of Games, Positive Business Conference at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, American Society for Quality (ASQ), and the American Cheese Society. Most recently, Ari and Paul Saginaw were invited to address an audience of 50,000 for the University of Michigan 2015 Spring Commencement.
One of Zingerman’s Guiding Principles is being an active part of the community and in 1988, Zingerman’s was instrumental in the founding of Food Gatherers, a food rescue program that delivers over 5 million pounds of food each year to the hungry residents of Washtenaw county. Every year Zingerman’s donates 10% of its previous years profits to local community organizations and non-profits. Ari has served on the board of The Ark, the longest continuously operating folk music venue in America.
Over the decades, the Zingerman’s founding partners have consistently been the recipients of public recognition from a variety of diverse organizations. In April 1995, Ari and Paul were awarded the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County’s first Humanitarian Award. In 2006, Ari was recognized as one of the “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America” by the James Beard Foundation. In 2007, Ari and Paul were presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award from Bon Appetit magazine for their work in the food industry. Ari was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Cheese Society in 2014. And Ari’s book, Building a Great Business was on Inc. magazine’s list of Best Books for Business Leaders.
Notwithstanding the awards, being engaged on a daily basis in the work of 10 businesses and 21 partners, writing books on business and in-depth articles on food for the Zingerman’s newsletter, Ari finds time to be a voracious reader. He acquires and reads more books than he can find room for. Ari might soon find himself the owner of the largest collection of Anarchist books in Ann Arbor outside the Labadie collection at the University of Michigan library!