Carrot cake is a confectionery conundrum: it seems you either love it, or you hate it. But either way, theres no denying the appeal of this rich dessert throughout history. Food historians tell us that the origins of carrot cake were likely a type of carrot pudding enjoyed during medieval times. Later, during the Middle Ages, sweetening agents were hard to come by in Britain and quite expensive, so as a result, carrots were often used in place of sweeteners. Interestingly, despite being such a longstanding mainstay in Europe, American cookbooks didnt start listing carrot cake recipes until the early 1900s. And, it was actually in the 1960s before carrot cake began becoming a more common cake in the United States, soon becoming the dessert of choice at summer family reunions picnics and Mothers Day celebrations.
Most all carrot cake recipes have a core group of ingredients in common, which are flour, sugar, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, salt), baking soda/powder, butter or oil, nuts, and of course carrots. More adventurous bakers have branched out to embrace some rather exotic carrot cake recipes, which feature such ingredients as:
o Pureed figs or prunes
o Chocolate chips
o Crystallized ginger
o Mashed sweet potatoes
In terms of carrot cake frostings, some people still prefer their carrot cake plain, although you will still see a lot of recipes for the traditional cream-cheese frosting. However, other carrot cake toppings that are delicious can be fondant icing (like on a wedding cake), Greek yogurt, lightly sweetened, buttermilk glaze with a zest of lemon, Royal icing, and chocolate icing.
Carrot cakes have become such a popular treat that there are many bakeries cropping up in America that specialize in making this vegetable-filled creation. As a result of this popularity, there are many carrot cake experts out there who are sharing their tidbits and secrets for making the very best kinds of carrot cakes. A sampling of those secrets includes:
o The amount of carrots you put into a carrot cake recipe will affect both the texture and taste of the cake.
o Using pureed carrots as opposed to shredding raw carrots will give your carrot cake a much more moist consistency.
o Use oil instead of butter – it will be MUCH moister than if you used butter.
o Use the zest of one orange in the batter for a zippier consistency.
These days, carrot cake-flavored treats come in such varieties as carrot cake latte, carrot cake ice cream, and even carrot cake flavored treats for dogs! Clearly carrot cakes whether made healthy with low fat ingredients, or made gooey with lots of rich ingredients are a crown jewel in the cake family that can finish off any meal in royal style!