INTRODUCTION TO CARROT CAKE
When one thinks of carrots, the first thing that may come to mind is
perhaps Bugs Bunny chomping on a bright orange carrot asking that ever
popular question, “What’s up, Doc?” The carrot, a root vegetable rich in
vitamin A is credited with being able to improve eyesight is very rich
in natural sugars.
The History of Carrot Cake
Because of its saccharine quality,
the carrot became a natural sweetener that was used in preparing
puddings, breads and cakes. Desserts sweetened with grated carrots
enjoyed great popularity in medieval times long before Marco Polo
brought sugar to Europe from the east, when sugar was scarce or not
available at all. The sugar beet is the only vegetable that contains
more sugar than carrots, but carrots were much easier to come by.
When sugar became more easily accessible, making desserts with grated
carrots became less fashionable. However, with the onset of World War II
and the rationing of sugar and other commodities, the carrot cake’s
popularity began to soar once again.
How They Are Made
Carrot cakes, often called passion cakes, are made with grated
carrots mixed with a batter. While the batter recipe may vary from
kitchen to kitchen, the basic ingredients include eggs, milk, flour,
baking powder and vanilla extract. As the cake bakes, the grated carrot
softens in the cooking process, giving the cake a soft, dense texture.
The carrots enhance the flavor, texture and appearance of the cake.
Certain cake lovers use the presence of vitamins in carrots and the
addition of raisins, apples, walnuts and pineapple as an excuse to eat
more carrot cake.
Carrot cake may be eaten plain, but it is usually either glazed or
topped with white or cream cheese icing. Carrot cakes are often
decorated with chopped walnuts or colored frosting made to look like
The Carrot Cake Travels to America
In the United States, carrot cake first became available in
restaurants and cafeterias in the early 1960s. At first the dense carrot
cake was simply at first a novelty item that was savored only by the
adventurous. Eventually, however, Americans overcame their trepidation
about the strange looking dessert and opened their mouths and hearts to
the carrot cake.
Before long people in America liked them so much that carrot cake
became standard dessert fare. The carrot cake became so popular that in
2005, the Food Network, the American-based television network dedicated
to the preparation and serving of all things edible, listed carrot cake
with cream-cheese icing as number five of the top five fad foods of the
In the thirty years since earning that honor, carrot cake has
done nothing but grow more widely accepted, more popular and has become
a staple on desert carts in homes, cafeterias and restaurants every
place where delicious tempting cakes can be found throughout the UK,
Canada and the US. The carrot cake, once an alternative to desserts made
with sugar is now one of the most sought after desserts ever.