Carrot cake: when carrot met olive oil

What sweet words do you think Bugs Bunny says to his carrot? Whatever it is, it is definitely worth it, since the carrot is a nutritious vegetable with many benefits for our health. In our new sweet article we will learn the nutrients of carrot and we will make our own healthy carrot cake with extra virgin olive oil from Nature Blessed and cream cheese frosting. And of course we will look for the history of the carrot cake!

Carrot cake with cheese cream frosting and in the background two individual carrot cakes from Eat Dessert First Greece!
We made our carrot cake with Nature Blessed extra virgin olive oil, born at the foot of Olympus!
At the festive table with vasilopita and Christmas cookies…

Carrots are extremely healthy vegetables. We read that they are full of carotene, which gives them the characteristic orange color. In addition, they contain vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, C, E, K, choline, and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, and phosphorus. Carrot is a vegetable that consists mainly of carbohydrates, is an excellent source of fiber and does not contain any saturated fat or cholesterol. Finally, carrots are low in calories, so they are good for a balanced diet, as well as for weight loss.

Someone is watching our carrot cake!

Thanks to the high content of antioxidants, carrots help maintain the health of the body, and reduce the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer. They also have a positive effect on vision, help reduce blood pressure and regulate blood circulation. As with everything we eat, overconsumption should be avoided because it can have negative side effects.

Carrots are eaten raw or cooked in savory and sweet recipes. One of them is the carrot cake to which we will dedicate this article.

Individual carrot cakes from Eat Dessert First Greece

As we read on the website of the World Carrot Museum, the modern carrot cake probably comes from the puddings enjoyed by Europeans in the Middle Ages. At that time sugar and other sweeteners were scarce and expensive, so carrots were used as a substitute for sugar. Recipe for carrot pudding has existed since the 10th century in an Arabic cookbook. The recipe was simple: melt the carrots with a mortar and pestle, along with sugar and oil and simmer. When it cooled the mixture became solid and delicious.

A more modern carrot cake!

In the New York Cookbook (1992), Molly O’Neill reports that George Washington tasted carrot cake at the Frances Tavern Restaurant in Lower Manhattan on November 25, 1783. The famous recipe was as follows:

George’s Washington cake

2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tbsp ground cinnamon, 2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, ¾ cup canola oil, 2 cups sugar, 4 eggs, 2 cups grated carrot. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (177⁰C).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a Bundt pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, combine the oil, sugar, eggs and carrots and mix well. Add the flour mixture and stir until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake until a tester comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in the pan 2 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a rack to finish cooling.

George Washington (source)

Until the 19th century there are no references to carrot cake. The term cake may have appeared in the 13th century, but many older solid puddings were essentially cakes. According to Alan Davidson, author of the Oxford Companion to Food (1999), carrots were used in Europe to make sweet cakes. These are the forerunners of today’s carrot cake. Because sweeteners were so expensive in World War II, carrot pudding was the alternative dessert in the United Kingdom.

A carrot cake for Christmas!

It is said that due to poverty people combined a couple of luxurious ingredients with plenty of flour. But carrot cake does not belong to this category. Books of the 19th century aimed at rich cuisines included recipes for carrot cake. At the beginning of the 20th century American confectioners made carrot cake as an exotic German delicacy. Carrot cake was therefore the food of the rich.

In America we read that carrot cake came after World War II. A story goes that after the war there was a large stock of canned carrots. A businessman hired confectioners to find out what to do with so many carrots. The solution they found was carrot cake!

The carrot cake in individual size

It was originally an innovation but retained its place in restaurant menus. Carrot cakes became especially popular in the 1970s as they were considered healthy. Of course, when the carrot cake is garnished with a thick layer of cream cheese, butter and sugar, it starts moving away from the category of healthy foods. The cream cheese-coated carrot cake was probably made in the 1960s, when the Philadelphia Cream Cheese company released many recipe leaflets.

Carrot cake with nuts

We find, then, that carrot cake is a classic, timeless choice. There are variations: others add walnuts, others apple or pineapple, others still put other nuts or not at all. We will put walnuts in our healthy carrot cake, however!

In our cake we will use extra virgin olive oil from Nature Blessed, a family business from Thessaloniki that is occupied with the standardization, marketing and export of olive oil. The company cooperates with excellent Macedonian olive growers and the extra virgin olive oil is the result of different olive varieties (Halkidikis, Amfissis, Koroneiki etc). It is a natural blend with a special taste that is produced with respect to man and the environment. With low acidity and unique aroma and taste, the extra virgin olive oil Nature Blessed fit perfectly in our preparations!

Many thanks to Nature Blessed for the extra virgin olive oil and the organic extra virgin olive oil they sent us!

Our recipe

Carrot cake with extra virgin olive oil and cream cheese frosting

Ingredients for the carrot cake

All-purpose flour250 gr
Extra virgin olive oil300 ml
Sugar400 gr
Baking soda2 tsp
Salt1/2 tsp
Cinnamon 1 tsp
Vanilla extract4-5 drops
Walnuts70 gr

Ingredients for the cream cheese frosting

Cream cheese200 gr
Powdered sugar100 gr
Heavy cream100 ml

How to make the carrot cake

In a bowl, mix the solids, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Grate the carrots in a blender and cut the walnuts into pieces.

Put the extra virgin olive oil and sugar in the bucket of the mixer and beat until the sugar melts. Add the eggs one by one, waiting for the previous one to be incorporated before throwing the next one. Add the vanilla extract.

Remove the bucket from the mixer and gradually add the solids, the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, stirring with a spatula. Finally add the grated carrots and walnuts.

Put your mixture in the mold you are using -we used an rectangular cake pan and two individual moulds. Bake in a preheated oven for 45-50 minutes the rectangular cake pan and 30 minutes the individual molds. Check with a toothpick -if it comes out dry then your cake is ready.

How to make the cream cheese frosting

Beat the heavy cream with the icing sugar in the mixer until it acquires the texture of yogurt. In another bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Combine the two mixtures by folding gently with a spatula.

Wait for your cake to cool and when it is ready, garnish it with the cream cheese frosting. If you want you can cut the cake in half and put an intermediate layer of cream cheese. We covered it all around.

Happy sweet creations everyone!

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