Carrot Cake is widely known for its sweetness, moistness and carrot taste.
“Carrots gained substantial recognition in British baking during World War II. With there being a food shortage, the British government began to consider alternative cuisines upon the carrot. In an effort to encourage carrot intake the Food Ministry launched the “See in the Dark Campaign.” (Hannah Abaffy) British citizens eventually got creative and started adding carrots to everything they put their mind to. However, Carrots had already been used in cakes back in Medieval times. Sweeteners at that time were expensive to purchase so individuals relied on naturally sweetened vegetables and used it as a substitute for sugar.
When Carrot Cake made its way to America, it made dessert history. Carrot Cake was a novelty item and then was put on menus allowing it to be popularized. It wasn’t until the 1970s when people were concerned about how healthy carrot cake really was. (Jessie Moore) Some people believed that because the carrots were healthy then the cake was healthy too. But in reality, with all the other ingredients combined, the modernized American carrot cake was bound to be made with much higher sugar intake.
From then on, carrot cakes have come a long way.
Carrots are one of my favorite vegetables. Knowing that they are beneficial to one’s health is a bonus. Carrots are highly nutritious. They are a good source of antioxidants, potassium, fibre, vitamin k1 and beta carotene. I have to mention, “Carrots are mainly composed of water and carbs.” (Adda Bjarnadottir) Carrots are very low in fat and contain Vitamins A/B6/K1 and potassium which are good for blood pressure control. Vitamin A promotes good vision, Vitamin B6 aids the conversion of food into energy, K1 promotes bone health and blood coagulation. There are many advantages towards the consumption of carrots.
When I was younger, I was obsessed with my moms’ Carrot Cake. My mother would make a carrot cake every Easter or upon request to satisfy a sweet tooth. We would have family gatherings every Easter and everyone would take a plate of food and of course, my mom being the best baker in my eyes, had the best dessert platter. Everyone enjoyed it. Whenever I ate my mom’s cake during Easter, being in Spring, it brought me a sense of gratitude because my family was all together having a great time. My cousins and I would run around looking for Easter eggs that were stuffed with prizes like little balls, stickers, bracelets and even dollars. My family wouldn’t allow the Easter eggs to be filled with candy as it was something they were against. They opted for more of a wiser, fun, and healthier option rather than giving us plain candy. Therefore, being that we weren’t given candy I would get ecstatic when I would finish my food and was allowed to get a slice of her cake. As a kid, you love anything sugary. Her cake essentially replaced the candy that we weren’t given, though, I’m not complaining because she was trying to be a good mother. As I am older, I try to resist sweet confections. Though it has been tough trying to withstand her cake as it is delicious but here and there whenever I catch her making it, I get a little sample to reminisce all those times that I was a care-free child.
My mom’s cake was not the typical carrot cake that contained raisins, walnuts/pecans and cream cheese frosting. She had got the recipe from a random cookbook and adjusted it along the way. My mom tweaked the cake to our or should I say my preferences. The original recipe used two cups of sugar but it was too sweet so she started using 1 1/3 cups of sugar. I’m one to eat raisins alone but when they’re integrated with something else it’s a no for me. Also, I wasn’t a fan of cream cheese frosting and as a child, I didn’t enjoy any nutty flavors either. So, with my picky fondness, she excluded raisins and substituted hemp seeds (they’re safe!) for walnuts/pecans and depending on the occasion she would add vanilla frosting. For Easter, she would add frosting to the cake but if it was made at home to satisfy a craving, she wouldn’t add any frosting to it. She used the best ingredients she could when it came to baking the cake. She preferred organic ingredients and was cautious of sugar intake. Now that I am grown, I want to share her adjusted recipe so it’ll become a generational thing in my family. I want to keep this recipe going so everyone can know how delicious it is.
Makes Two 9-inch Cakes
Approximately 2 hours
- 2 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
- 2 Teaspoons of Baking Soda
- ½ Teaspoon of Salt
- 2 Teaspoons of Ground Cinnamon
- 3 Large Eggs
- 1 ⅓ Cups of Sugar
- ¾ Vegetable Oil
- ¾ Cup of Buttermilk
- 2 Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
- 1 ½ Cups of grated Carrots
- ⅓ Cup of Hemp Seeds
Optional: Sprinkles, Whipped Vanilla Frosting
The first step would be to turn the oven on to 350 degrees so it can preheat meanwhile you combine all of your ingredients and position a rack in the lower third of the oven
Line both 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper; lightly grease the parchment paper with butter and flour; Set them aside
DRY ingredients- In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon all together; giving it a stir with a whisk
WET ingredients- In a separate bowl beat eggs and then add the sugar, oil, buttermilk and vanilla extract; giving it a stir as well
Add the wet ingredient mixture to the dry ingredient mixture; beat until smooth texture
Fold in grated carrots and hemp seeds to the mixture (can be pecans/walnuts)
Pour and divide batter into the two prepared cake pans
Bake for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick or fork inserted in the center comes out clean
Remove cake from pan by pulling it out with the parchment paper and place it on a wire rack
Let cool for 15 minutes
Once cooled, remove parchment paper and place on a flat plate or surface and frost the cake with a frosting of your choice and decorate to your desire (optional)
All photos by me
Abaffy, Hannah. “Carrot Cake Good Enough to Win WWII.” milkandhoneythebakery.com/carrot-cake-recipe-history-wwii/.
Moore, Jessie. “The Story of Carrot Cake.” http://www.unicornlove.com/blog/2012/8/1/the-story-of-carrot-cake.html
Smith, K. Annabelle. “A WWII Propaganda Campaign Popularized the Myth That Carrots Help You See in the Dark.” www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/a-wwii-propaganda-campaign-popularized-the-myth-that-carrots-help-you-see-in-the-dark-28812484/.
Ngo, Irene. “Baking Technique: Folding.” www.chatelaine.com/recipes/chatelainekitchen/baking-technique-folding/.
Newman, Tim. “What Is Beta Carotene? What Are the Benefits?” www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252758.
Bjarnadottir, Adda. “Carrots 101:Nutritional Facts and Health Benefits” https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/carrots
“Hemp Seed – What You Should Know and Tips for Baking With It.” www.cupcakeproject.com/hemp-seed-what-you-should-know-and-tips/.