Carrot Cake: A Sweet Way to Eat Your Vegetables!

Farmer Bob's Carrot Cake. Photo by Sue Frause.

I don't recall the first time I had a piece of carrot cake, but it was probably in my early 20s. My mom wasn't into baking cakes from scratch -- she was more of a Better Crocker | Duncan Hines cake maker. And it certainly wasn't the wedding cake du jour; wedding cakes were mostly white back then.

According to a fun blog site called cakespy.com, the idea of using carrots in desserts dates back to Medieval times when carrot pudding was served as a sweet at banquets. You can read more about the history of the carrot at the World Carrot Museum, a virtual museum based in the UK. 

I used to love Oregon Farms' carrot cake, and thought it was a good substitute for the real thing. On one occasion, my mother wanted to bring over some of her cousins to our house one evening after dinner. They were visiting from Iowa, and since I didn't have time to whip anything up, I served them carrot cake made by Oregon Farms. They raved about it, and later one of them sent me a thank-you note, asking for the recipe. I obliged, not mentioning the fact that I had bought that carrot cake at the store, and sent them my favorite carrot cake recipe. Note: Sadly, Oregon Farms is no longer in operation. So back to the ovens we go! 

Carrot Cake
Epicurious.com
Click on for a printable copy

Cake

2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped, drained pineapple
1 cup finely grated carrot (about 1 large carrot)

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8-oz pkg cream cheese
6 Tbsps butter
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar

Preparation

Preheat over to 350F. Butter a 9 x 5 or 4-1/2 x 8-1/2 loaf pan. Coat the pan with flour, tapping out the excess. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Sift into a second bowl to make sure the spices are well combined. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and eggs until blended, then stir the egg mixture into the flour with a rubber spatula. Fold in the walnuts, pineapple and grated carrot. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. 

Bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool until easy to handle, and turn out onto a cake rake. 

While the cake is cooling, make the frosting. In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and confectioners' sugar. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld mixer, beat on medium speed until well combined and fluffy, about 10 minutes or until smooth. Spread the frosting on the top of the loaf.

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