My thoughts

Carrot cake isn’t my go to cake of choice, but yet people love carrot cake!! Surprisingly enough, this cake is somehow always a hit at parties and other events. When it comes to just carrots, those same people run for the hills. I guess getting people to eat healthier is going to be harder than I thought.

Carrot Cake Recipe

History of Carrot Cake

Like most foods with an extensive history, carrot cakes origins are disputed.  We can say one thing for sure, I did not originate in America. This history lesson takes us back to the medieval Europe.

The foods we know and love today most likely evolved from something else over time, carrot cake is no exception.  According to food historians, The carrot cake most likely evolved from the medieval European dish called , carrot pudding. Written history of this dish traces all the way back to a 10th century Arabian cook book, T’Khabis al-jazar(carrots). This dish was enjoyed by most people in Europe. By this time, carrots had been used for quite some time as a sugar substitute because sugar was very difficult to come by. Often times, sugar was to expensive as well. So they had to make due with natural sugars of fruits and vegetables.

Time passed by, and the beloved carrot pudding began to take new forms. Some variations of this carrot pudding involved baking with a crust, similar to the pumpkin pie we know today. While other variations involved molding in a pan, similar to a gelatinous fruit cake that no one eats.

The carrot cake made the history books in 1783, on Broadway in Manhattan, New York. On the BritishEvacuation Day, George Washington made 13 toasts celebrating his victory, as the general of our “rebel” forces, at a little place called Fraunces Tavern. It was there he tried their signature cake called, “The Fraunces Tavern Carrot Tea Cake”. This was a shortbread style cake with no icing, but President Washington loved it! In fact, he loved it so much he would serve this cake at parties for his friends to try.

Time passed and the carrot cake/ pudding remained in this limbo-like state with no identity. It wasn’t until France, 1814, that a legendary restauranteur named Antoine Beauvilliers created a recipe  for carrot cake as we know it today.

Antoine Beauvilliersis a man whose reputation is larger than life in the food industry. First and foremost, he opened up the first prominent grand restaurant in Paris. Where others failed, he succeeded! His success came from his elegance of service from his handsome well trained staff to his superior kitchen. His ability to cater to the upper class of society only enhanced his reputation in Paris. He was author to a two volume legendary cook book called, L’Art du Cuisinier ( the art of French cooking) . On top of all that, he dressed very fashionably and carried a sword.

In Antoine Beauvilliers’ cook book, he featured a recipe named, “Gâteau de Carottes” also known as carrot cake. This alone was more than enough to electrify this recipe back to life, and in a major way. This recipe was so good, competing authors took the recipe word for word and published them as their own. In 1821, when his two volume set was translated to English the recipe took off. Other variations of this cakebegan popping up through the ages in cookbooks all over.

Fast forward to the 20th century. World War II sent the world into chaos. America began to take preventative measure to ensure our safety during the war. Rations were in effect in the USA. During these rations, one adult could only get 8 ounces of sugar per week. That is a tablespoon a day. Being as creative as we are, cooks and chefs reverted to old methods of cooking and started using carrots as sweeteners again.  This movement motivated the ministry of agriculture to encourage the cultivation of more carrots! Not only were these vegetables healthy but they were your duty as a citizen. This chain of events is directly related to the rebirth of the American Carrot Cake.

Ever since the 1960s, the carrot cake we all know and love has flourished on a global scale. Now it is served with an unlimited amount of decoration, variations, shapes and sizes. In the 1970’s,Carrot cakes were deemed a heathy cake, which made them all the more popular.  Luckily, we realized that they are not healthy shortly thereafter. By that time we were hooked as Americans, and ever since then our loyalty has not waivered. 

What is Carrot Cake?

A carrot cake is a moist spice cake that has carrots, in some form, mixed into the batter. The common batter for this type of cake contains: Shortening, cream, eggs, sweeteners, shredded carrots, and spices.

Carrot Cake Recipe

You will also see creative additions folded into the batter of a carrot cake. Dried fruits such as raisins, pineapple, and shredded coconut sometimes find their way into the mix. Nuts like walnuts or pecans, are sometimes added into the batter for extra flavor. Carrot cakes are usually decorated with cream cheese frosting after the cooking process. 

What Does Carrot Cake Taste Like?

This all depends on what you put inside the cake. Believe it or not, even though it is called carrot cake, it doesn’t taste much like carrots at all. Carrot cake is a spice cake with carrots folded in, so you will taste more spice notes than anything. Depending on the sugar your use, you will get that as well.  Don’t get freaked out by the name, carrot cake is very good.

Carrot Cake Ingredients

Carrot cakes are impossibly different from one another. You will see all kinds of variations and additions, with that being said, I’m going to explains the basics.

Carrots

Carrots are root vegetables, usually orange in color, that are native to Europe and parts of Asia.  There are many different species of carrots ranging in all colors of the spectrum. These root vegetables have been cultivated for thousands of years.

Carrots are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. With these nutrients come a solid line up of health benefits.  Top on the list, solidifies the common myth that carrots help with vision. We that is somewhat true, carrots contain vitamin a which is known to reduce the risk of certain eye disease.

Carrot Cake Ingredients

The high levels of anti-oxidants can help prevent and/or reduce the risk of cancer. Too many free radicals in the body can in crease the risk of certain types of cancer. Good thing anti-oxidants help reduce the amount of free radicals.

Nutmeg

Nutmeg is the seed from a dark leaved evergreen tree. This tree is known as Myristica and is cactually cultivated for two products. Th other product is called mace, and that is the seed covering of nutmeg.

Nutmeg is also used for an essential oil and nutmeg butter. This spice needs to be ground to be edible and is usually eaten in small amounts.

Ginger

Ginger is a flowering plant whose rhizome, or ginger root, is used as a spice in many cuisines. This root is also used as an alternative medicine in some cultures.  The ginger root contains gingerolwhich does have medicinal properties. This root has been known to treat nausea, osteoarthritis, and promote weight loss. This root is also suspected of improving risk for heart disease in high amounts.

Ginger may also drastically lower blood sugars. So eating it in high quantities may have negative effects on the body.

Canola Oil

Canola oil is a vegetable oil that is extracted from a variety of rapeseed. This is where the rumors of canola oil containing toxins come from. Contrary to popular belief, canola oil has been deemed completely safe by the FDA. Canola oil is low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat making it a healthy choice of cooking oil.

Carrot Cake Tricks and Tips

Measuring Ingredients

Always measure your ingredients as precise as possible. Baking is a science and requires accurate measurements to work. You don’t want to waste your time.

Sifting Dry Ingredients

To ensure your cake has no clumps or inconsistencies, be sure to sift your dry ingredients. The proper tools would be to use a sieve or a sifter, but if those are not available to you then you can always use a whisk and a mixing bowl.

Room Temperature Ingredients

Plan ahead and have your ingredients set out before mixing them. Room temperature ingredients are a good practice for making cake batters because they emulsify better and easier. In turn you have to whisk less, therefore ensuring the batter never gets overmixed. This will result in a lighter, fluffier cake.

Gluten- Free Substitutions

Substitution products have come a long way in the recent past. You can now pretty much mold any recipe to your dietary needs. You can make any of these recipes gluten free by switching out the flour with Bobs 1 to 1 gluten free flour.

Grating Carrots

Grating the carrots wrong will mess you cake up before it began. Grate your carrots properly using the large holes on a box grater. These cakes bake in a relatively short period of time. This doesn’t give large carrots enough time to cook properly.

Carrot Cake Ingredients

Over mixing

Once the ingredient are incorporated, turn the mixer off! Overmixing the batter makes a crappy cake. Once the ingredients are combined its good!

Adding Extra Ingredients

Be careful what you add into your batter. In my opinion, nuts and coconut are great in a carrot cake. Where people start to mess up is adding dried fruit. First off, dried fruit don’t pair well with anything in the cake. Secondly, dried fruit will absorb a lot of moisture during the cooking process.

If you want to add nuts and/or coconut to the cake, go right ahead! Just make sure you properly toast those ingredients to maximize their flavor.

Checking Doneness

There are multiple ways to check your cakes doneness without being to invasive.

The first way to tell your cake is cooked, if when the sides pull away from the cake pan. This indicates your cake is completely cooked.

The middle of the cake should be springy! There should be a pillowy resistance to the touch in the center of the cake.

When the cake tester comes out clean, but moist. Sticking a cake tester in the dead center of the cake and pulling it out can tell you a for sure answer of whether its cooked or not.

When the cake stops making noises. This may sound odd, but when the cake stops crackling and sizzling, its done.

The internal temperature is around 210F.  when in doubt, use an instant read thermometer to gauge doneness. If the center of the cake is around 210F ( 5 F below 210 is still ok) then its ready to come out!

 Leveling

It’s important to follow this tip when going to layer your cake. Naturally cakes develop a crest when baking. The crest it is the highest point on top of the cake. This can obviously pose to be a problem when layering your cake.

A simple fix to this obstacle is to take a bread knife or another long knife you have on hand and to slice it off! See not that difficult. You obviously do not have to level the top section unless you want too.

Icing

The icing is an important factor in these recipes. It cannot be too thin because it will just run off the cake. It can’t be too thick or it won’t spread easy and possible damage your cakes. Also, too much icing it very pleasant to eat either. I have formulated a nice basic frostinghere with variations.

Layering

Some say this goes without saying, but I had to learn the hard way. Layering the cakes require a touch of skill and patience. Be sure to use a light amount between the layers for structural and flavor purposes. Also be aware of the amount of icing going in between layers because you will probably be putting someon the outside.

Equipment needed

  • 2- 3 9 inch cake pans
  • 1 whisk
  • 1 rubber spatula
  • 2-3 mixing bowls
  • 1 wire cooling rack
  • 1 sifter
  • 1 bread knife
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • stand mixer or hand mixer
  • toothpicks
  • parchment paper
  • pan spray

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Any of these recipes can be made into cupcakes. To do so you will just need to take into account a few factors.

  1. Reduce the cooking time considerably to bake cupcakes. At 350 F you should bake the cupcakes for 12 – 16 minutes. You also should rotate the pan in the oven half way through. Lastly, bake the cupcakes in the center of the oven.
  2. Use high quality cupcake liners to ensure the best results.
  3. Portion the cup cakes using a ice cream scoop to ensure they all bake at the same rate. Only fill the cups 3/4ths the way up.
  4. Once cooked, leave the cupcakes in the pan(s) for only a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
  5. Let cool completely before frosting. Be sure to cover the entire exposed area of the cup cake with frosting. It acts as a seal for the moisture.
  6. Carrot Cake Recipe

Carrot Cake Recipe

Carrot Cake Recipe

Yields: 16 servings ( 9 inch 2 layer cake) or 22-24 Cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Cook Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3              Cups      Carrots, finely shredded
  • 3 ¼         Cup        Cake Flour
  • 2              Cups      Brown Sugar
  • 1 ½         Cups      Coconut Milk
  • ½             Cup        Shredded Coconut, toasted
  • 2              tsp          Baking Soda
  • 2              tsp          Baking Powder
  • ½             tsp          Salt
  • 1              tsp          Cinnamon, ground
  • ½             tsp          Nutmeg, ground
  • ½             tsp          Ginger, ground
  • 1 ½         tsp          Vanilla Extract
  • 1              Cup        Canola Oil

Frosting

Recipe for Frosting/Icing

Carrot Cake Recipe

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. While the oven is preheating,Line the bottom of the cake pans with parchment, then grease the sides and bottom of the pans with pan spray or brush with oil.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift to combine all the dry ingredients (AP Flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger) and whisk thoroughly.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, mix the wet ingredients (brown sugar, coconut milk, vanilla extract, and canola oil) and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix until just incorporated. Be careful not to overmix. Once incorporated, add the shredded carrots and toasted coconut and fold in.
  5. Pour the cake batter into your greased cake pans. Only fill the cake pans about 3/4ths the way full to allow the cake to rise during the cooking process.
  6. Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes. The internal temperature should be right below 210 F, or you can use a toothpick to check doneness.
  7. If they are completely cooked, transfer the cake pans to a wire cooling rack to cool properly. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes before taking the cakes out. The cakes should be completely cool before applying the frosting.

Nutrition Facts

 

Easy Carrot Cake Recipe

Easy Carrot Cake Recipe

Yields: 16 servings ( 9 inch 2 layer cake) or 22-24 Cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Cook Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2              Cups      Cake Flour
  • ½             tsp          Sea Salt, fine
  • 2              tsp          Baking Soda
  • 2              tsp          Cinnamon, ground
  • ½             tsp          Nutmeg, ground
  • ½             tsp          Ginger, ground
  • 1 ¼         cup         Canola Oil
  • 1              Cup        Sugar
  • 1              Cup        Brown Sugar
  • 1              tsp          Vanilla Extract
  • 1              Cup        Banana, ripe&puree
  • 3              Cup        Carrots, fine shredded
  • 1              Cup        Pecans, chopped fine

Frosting

Recipe for Frosting/Icing

Easy Carrot Cake Recipe

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. While the oven is preheating,Line the bottom of the cake pans with parchment, then grease the sides and bottom of the pans with pan spray or brush with oil.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift the dry ingredients (cake flour, sea salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger).
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients ( oil, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and banana puree) and whisk thoroughly.
  4. Add the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix until just incorporated. Be careful not to overmix. Once incorporated, add the shredded carrots and toasted pecans and fold in.
  5. Pour the cake batter into your greased cake pans. Only fill the cake pans about 3/4ths the way full to allow the cake to rise during the cooking process.
  6. Bake at 350F for 35-45 minutes. The internal temperature should be right below 210 F, or you can use a toothpick to check doneness.
  7. If they are completely cooked, transfer the cake pans to a wire cooling rack to cool properly. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes before taking the cakes out. The cakes should be completely cool before applying the frosting.

Nutrition Facts

 Gluten Free Carrot Cake

Gluten Free Carrot Cake

Yield: 16 servings ( 9 inch 2 layer cake) or 22-24 Cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Cook Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3              Cups      Almond Flour
  • 1              tsp          Baking Powder
  • ½             tsp          Baking Soda
  • 1              tsp          Salt
  • 2              tsp          Cinnamon, ground
  • 1 ½         tsp          Ginger, ground
  • 1              tsp          Nutmeg, ground
  • 1              Cup        Brown Sugar
  • 4              Tbsp      Maple Syrup
  • 1              Cup        Coconut Yogurt
  • 1              Tbsp      Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4         Cup        Canola Oil
  • 2              Cups      Carrots, shredded
  • 1              Cup        Coconut, toasted

Frosting

Recipe for Frosting/Icing

Gluten Free Carrot Cake

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. While the oven is preheating, Line the bottom of the cake pans with parchment, then grease the sides and bottom of the pans with pan spray or brush with oil.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift the dry ingredients ( almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg).
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients ( brown sugar, maple syrup, coconut yogurt, vanilla extract, and canola oil) whisk this mixture thoroughly.
  4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet, in 1/3 increments. Do this until all th dry is incorporated into the wet. Be careful not to overmix. Once incorporated, add the shredded carrots and toasted coconut and fold in.
  5. Pour the cake batter into your greased cake pans. Only fill the cake pans about 3/4ths the way full to allow the cake to rise during the cooking process. Be sure to smooth the tops of the cake batter.
  6. Bake at 350F for 35-45 minutes. The internal temperature should be right below 210 F, or you can use a toothpick to check doneness.
  7. If they are completely cooked, transfer the cake pans to a wire cooling rack to cool properly. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes before taking the cakes out. The cakes should be completely cool before applying the frosting.

Nutrition Facts

 

 

 

FAQs

  1. Can I make carrot cake ahead of time? How long?

Yes, you can. The cake layers can be made a day ahead of time. Just wrap in plastic and store in the fridge. The icing on the other hand can be made a few days ahead, and it also needs to be stored in the fridge. Wait to apply the icing a few hours prior to when you need it.

 

  1. How do I store the cake once it’s been iced?

Since these cakes contain vegetables, it needs to be stored in the fridge. Especially, after its been iced. Just make sure its properly covered and it will last up to a week.

 

  1. Can you freeze carrot cake?

Yes, you can. To freeze, I would cut the cake into slices and individually bag them. You can also freeze the whole cake or just the layers. However you see fit. I personally would freeze the layers and then ice the cake when I need it.

 

  1. Can I make just one large carrot cake from this?

Yes you can. You can make a Bundt cake, a sheet cake, or a rectangular loaf style cake. You would just have to adjust the cooking time for these different shapes.  These recipes will fit in a 12- cup Bundtpan and a 9 x 13 rectangular pan. You will have to increase the baking time by 20-30% with the Bundt pan.

  1. Can I replace the coconut yogurt or banana puree for apple sauce in these recipes?

Yes, those are the binding agents. I chose those because they go well with the flavors, not necessarily for the binding properties. If you want to substitute, use a 1 to 1 ratio.

 Sources

Museum, C. (n.d.). History of Carrot Cake. Retrieved December 02, 2020, from https://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/carrotcake.html

Katherine Zeratsky, R. (2019, February 20). Canola oil: Does it contain toxins? Retrieved December 02, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/canola-oil/faq-20058235

 

 

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Author

My name is Mason Bostwick. I am the owner and creator of freshvegplate.com. I have been a chef all my life, it is the only profession I have ever had. Cooking means more to me than it should, but for my constant obsession of food I have seen much success in my career.

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