Recovery and Carrot Cake

I absolutely adore carrot cake; in fact I might go so far as to say that it’s my favourite cake in the world, and me and my boyfriend Matt made it this weekend when we went back to Birmingham for his brother’s birthday because I needed baking to cheer me up. This is where this post takes a turn for the worst:

Something I haven’t mentioned before on this blog (mainly because I wanted this to be a place where I could really indulge my love for cooking and baking without worry or fear, but also because some of my friends and family read this) is that I’ve been battling with Anorexia since I was about 17ish (I’m 19 now). I think it became a real problem after I went travelling last summer; I volunteered for a month in a Nepalese orphanage and lost quite a lot of weight, and then when I went to university I had full control over what I was eating, so the problem became worse and my friends started to notice. It’s an incredibly secretive and destructive illness, and only a few weeks ago I finally worked up the courage to tell my Mum about it, and I’ve been trying to receive help and give recovery a go ever since. The waiting list for anorexia treatment on the NHS is pretty long at the moment though, so I’m trying to challenge myself on my own, and trying to recapture my love of food and eating again – mainly by making food fun.

I basically wanted to write this down in the hope that it’ll inspire me to properly give recovery a go, as I’ve tried myself before and it didn’t really work; I’ve got a big support system this time round, and hopefully this means more substantial and nutrient-filled recipes will be coming your way soon :)

Tofu and Mushroom Sandwich (taken ages ago)

So back to the carrot cake after that rather depressing digression;Β Matt has been incredibly supportive about everything, and after I went to the GP about it only a couple of days ago (still haven’t been referred to the eating disorder clinic yet because of the new computer system at uni, will update when I get more news) he’s been helping me with my little challenges, one of which was to make a cake and actually eat it for once. So we made carrot cake (recipe below) and also went for afternoon tea at the Whale Tail Cafe in Lancaster, right by our uni – it’s really lovely in there, an amazing atmosphere, and they’re so welcoming of vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free diets. We’ve been a couple of times, and they have really good salads and lunch options – in fact Matt said that the bean burger he had there was better than any meat burger he’d tried!

Enjoying my afternoon tea :)

So here are some pictures of the food from the cafe, our carrot cake and recipe (nicked from this website: Β but with some lovely lemon curd added in the middle) and the promise that from now on, I won’t be posting calorie counts, and I will try to eat some of each and every recipe I post.

Love, Emily x

P.S. Feel free to comment with any personal posts about struggles with eating disorders, I’d love to be able to talk to people going through the same thing. Also if you have any questions feel free to comment, or email me at

Our Epic Lemon-Filled Carrot Cake

Carrot cake :D


For the cake

225g of grated carrot

170g of caster sugar

170g of sultanas

280g of self-raising flour

1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger

200g of vegan margarine

200ml of orange juice

1 teaspoon of orange zest

Half a teaspoon of vanilla extract

A pinch of salt

For the icing

115g of vegan margarine

170g of icing sugar

Half a teaspoon of vanilla extract

A little bit of orange zest for the top

Lemon curd or apricot jam to fill (optional)


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius, and prepare two round cake tins by greasing the sides and lining with greaseproof paper
  2. Cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the grated carrot and sultanas
  3. Slowly add the orange juice and zest
  4. Add the flour, salt, spices and vanilla and mix (but do not over mix, it makes the mixture all rubbery and horrid)
  5. Spread into the cake tins and bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through
  6. Once they’re cool, spread lemon curd over one cake and put the other cake on top so that the lemon curd sandwiches the cakes together to make one – then spread the top with the icing (just mix the icing ingredients until creamy) and top with either some orange zest or chopped nuts – I went for orange because I don’t really like nuts.

Serves around 8 depending on how big your slices are :)


34 thoughts on “Recovery and Carrot Cake

  1. Pingback: Guest Post by Desirable Body and Competition! | Emily Cooks Vegan

  2. Hey could any of you tell how you managed to get back to normal eating?I mean how do you take that first step?I’m 19 now and I’ve been anorexic for 5 years.I’m just tired of feeling this way and want to get back to normal.

    • I could speak for hours and hours about this! Would you feel comfortable emailing me? My blog email address is:,uk – that way I could tell you my own advice as well as asking any questions you might have?

      If not, then my biggest tip would just be to challenge yourself with one scary thing per day. It takes time and effort and sadness, but the more you challenge yourself, the more it becomes a normality and you’ll eventually see “fear foods” as just normal food that you enjoy!
      First step could be going for a small meal with a friend or loved one? That was my first step into recovery I think, telling a friend about it over a small lunch :)

      Hope you feel better xx

  3. Im dealing with the same thing and it truly is heart warming knowing others are going through similar occurrences in their life. I always try to hide it, but I think I need to embrace it more.

    • I really feel for you, and hope you’ll do well with your recovery, it’s so worth it :)
      Trying to hide a mental illness only makes it worse and worse, so if you have a friend you can trust tell them about it, it’ll make it so much easier to deal with. If you ever need to talk to someone my email is open xx

  4. Hey emily, I just recently came out of a eating disorder clinic and am a newly turned vegan and just started a blog too cuz I absolutely love baking and cooking, but the thing is that it’s a real stuggle to cope so I totally can relate with you, my blog is ganna be my way to capture my love for eating again to and get healthy instead of being sick and skeletal
    Stay strong
    Iman xx

  5. Pingback: Autumn ‘Carrot Cake’ Porridge | Emily Cooks Vegan

  6. My mom still struggles with a bit of an eating disorder, and will chastise herself if she puts on as much as an ounce or two over the course of a day. I know that it is hard, but keep on the path to recovery, and you will find that you can do amazing things!

  7. Pingback: Chunky Minestrone Soup | Emily Cooks Vegan

  8. You are so brave to be tackling it on your own! I went through it for a long time, went through a lot of treatment programs(some better than others) and am finally in a much healthier place. I can say with confidence things will get better for you, it sounds like your heart is in the right place:)

  9. Wow what an awesome and honest post. I think it is amazing that you are even able to share your struggles with the world. Very inspirational! Thank you!

  10. What a gorgeous looking cake! (And a beautiful post to match). I just want to add my voice to the chorus of people saying well done for being able to talk about your eating disorder so publicly, and I am so glad you are making a start on recovery.

    My thoughts are with you on this path.

    Much love,


  11. Aww goodness, reading this post was like reading my own mind. I was so touched you liked my blog post and then to come here and see you write so elegantly about one of the issues that i feel i can’t write about myself was inspiring. I too am anorexic and i too often find solace in the form of baking. I am also a vegan and i know that a lot of people frown upon the prospect of recovering and veganism going hand in hand.
    I truly hope you get the help you deserve that allows you to believe in the strength you have inside of you to fight this awful illness.
    I have lost so much to my ED, i’d hate to see the same happen to you, and whilst i am not a shining example of recovery- currently ng fed at home- it doesn’t mean i don’t believe in recovery. If you ever want to talk about anything then please know i am here and won’t ever judge you. Anorexia is cruel beyond belief but the silence it makes us create and the lonliness is something that when you can overcome weakens the illness so much. Keep talking about it, keep letting people in and helping you, you are worth it, very much so.
    Hope the baking allows you to feel more at ease around food, you clearly are very talented, that cake looks amazing.
    Take care

    • Oh my… I swear I nearly welled up reading that, I’m genuinely so happy that you would say all this lovely stuff to me :D
      I’m having a hard time this week but I’m trying to just push through because ultimately, my health and happiness is faaarrr more important than being ‘thin’, which I see now – please keep on going yourself, being NG fed sounds utterly terrible, but as soon as you want recovery for yourself then it’ll start to feel clearer and easier; I’m just so thankful that I’ve sought help before it got that bad, I feel so much for you knowing that you’ve suffered beyond me.
      I’m trying to experiment a little around food and feeling more comfortable – and I’ve even booked an appointment with a specialist so I’m definitely getting there :)

      Thank you so much for your comment, it really made my day – it means so much to me that a stranger would tell me such positive things from a really personal place – feel free to add me on facebook or email me personally if you need any support (Emily Rose Chudy –

      Lots of love, Emily x

      P.S. Your cake looks divine as well, your family were right, it looks so tempting with the oozy jam and cream in the middle :)

  12. Hello! Came here after you liked my blog! Thank you for sharing your journey battling your eating disorder. I can’t believe there is a waiting list on the NHS, it’s terrible! Hope you won’t waiting too long.

    Meanwhile, that carrot cake looks divine! Love the idea of using lemon curd in the icing. There is vegan cream cheese out there, but this is much more inventive!

  13. Emily, it’s remarkable that you can talk about your eating disorder while lovingly posting about food. Your recipes look delicious, your blog looks great and it sounds like you are surrounded by great people who will help along the road to recovery. Good luck. Will have to try the vegan carrot cake

  14. Hi Emily –
    I am a retired social worker, and am not an eating disorders specialist, but have been working for a long time with someone who is severely anorexic. She has a team of eating disorder specialists, and I’m so glad you’ve gotten on this quickly rather than waiting for years as she did.

    I’ll be praying for you!

    • Thank you very much :)
      I hated the idea of going into recovery, and I’m still nervous about it, but I thought there was no point in waiting for it to get worse before I ask for help – and I hope your friend gets better as well x

  15. Thanks for stopping by my blog :-) I too love carrot cake; I like your idea of adding lemon curd, yum. You are doing the right thing by taking charge of your own recovery from ED and bringing in the expertise of professionals and the support of your family. Even though you are ready to be done with your ED, sometimes the recovery process can take longer than you like, but don’t get discouraged! Work hard in therapy, be honest and you will thrive. Best wishes~

    • Thanks very much :)
      Yeah it’s been hard so far, but I’m taking little steps and trying not to push myself too far atm, so I reckon it’ll work out in the end.
      And I do love lemon curd – I really wanted to fill it with something and it just seemed like it was meant to be! x

  16. I would like to commend you for the steps you have taken as well. I haven’t dealt with an eating disorder but I have a friend who has. She is a talented, beautiful, and healthy mother of 4 now and an inspiration to all who meet her.
    I believe you will conquer this! Praying for you!

  17. After study some of the content on your web site these day or two, i truly like your personal style of blogging. I book marked it to my favorite features web site record and will also be looking at back in the near future.

  18. Rock on girl, you will get through this, you’ve taken the first step which is telling family and friends and seeking out help! You inspire me with your courage to post about something as personal as that on your blog, but it will only bring you closer to recovery. Sometimes people use ‘control over food and their weight’ when they feel things happening in their life are out of their control. Maybe take a look at what’s going on with you at this point in your life, and if you feel really stressed or uncertain about certain things in life, try to resolve these feelings and know that things will work themselves out naturally:)

    • Thank you very much :)
      Yeah, I wanted to get it out in the open because I’ve been hiding it away for a long time, and I can admit now that it’s not going to get any better if I just try and tackle it on my own. I reckon starting uni probably pushed me over the edge a little, but hopefully it’ll get easier to deal with as I settle in more. Thank you for the kind words :D x

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