Carrot cake

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Carrot cake
A slice of carrot cake with frosting
Typesheet cake, layer cake, cupcake
Place of originDisputed; either England, France, Switzerland or Denmark
Region or stateWestern Europe
Main ingredientsFlour, eggs, sugar, carrots, and baking powder
VariationsHazelnuts, lemon, kirsch,[1] cinnamon, almonds, walnuts

Carrot cake (also known as passion cake) is cake that contains carrots mixed into the batter.


The origins of carrot cake are disputed. Published in 1591, there is an English recipe for "pudding in a Carret [sic] root"[2] that is essentially a carrot stuffed with meat, but it includes many elements common to the modern dessert: shortening, cream, eggs, raisins, sweetener (dates and sugar), spices (clove and mace), scraped carrot, and breadcrumbs (in place of flour). Many food historians believe carrot cake originated from such carrot puddings eaten by Europeans in the Middle Ages, when sugar and sweeteners were expensive and many people used carrots as a substitute for sugar.[3]

Variations of the carrot pudding evolved to include baking with a crust (as pumpkin pie), steamed with a sauce, or molded in pans (as plum pudding) with icing.[3]

In volume two of L'art du cuisinier (1814), Antoine Beauvilliers, former chef to Louis XVI,[4] included a recipe for a "Gâteau de Carottes",[5] which was popular enough to be copied verbatim in competitors' cookbooks.[6][7] In 1824, Beauvilliers had published in London an English version of his cookbook which includes a recipe for "Carrot Cakes" in a literal translation of his earlier recipe.[8][9]

Another 19th-century recipe comes from the housekeeping school of Kaiseraugst (Canton of Aargau, Switzerland).[10] According to the Culinary Heritage of Switzerland, it is one of the most popular cakes in Switzerland, especially for the birthdays of children.[10]

The popularity of carrot cake was revived in the United Kingdom because of the rationing during the Second World War and also because of the promotion of carrot consumption by the government.[11][12]

Regional variations[edit]


Brazilian Bolo de cenoura (lit.'carrot cake') is a fluffy and moist cake that is commonly served with a chocolate ganache topping. As opposed to other Brazilian desserts that originated with the Portuguese, Bolo de cenoura is much more recent and only began appearing in Brazilian cookbooks in the 1960s. The inspiration behind Bolo de cenoura comes from the American recipe for carrot cake.[13]

February 3 is National carrot cake day in Brazil.[14]


Swiss Rüeblitorte features almonds and hazelnuts and is often covered in glacé icing containing kirsch and topped with decorative carrots made from marzipan.[1]

UK and US[edit]

Modern UK and US recipes typically feature a white cream cheese frosting. Sometimes nuts such as walnuts or pecans are added into the cake batter, as well as spices such as cinnamon, ginger and ground mixed spice. Toasting pecans and using brown sugar can add extra flavor and moisture.[15] Fruit including pineapple, raisins and shredded coconut can also be used to add sweetness.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b (in German) Rüeblitorte in the online Culinary Heritage of Switzerland database.
  2. ^ A. W. (1591). A Book of Cookrye: Very Necessary for All Such as Delight Therin. Edward Allde.
  3. ^ a b "The History of Carrot Cake". The Carrot Museum. Archived from the original on 10 August 2022. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  4. ^ Furlaud, Alice (12 July 1989). "What Do You Do Apres la Revolution? Go Out to Eat". The New York Times – via
  5. ^ Beauvilliers, Antoine Auteur du texte (31 July 1814). L'art du cuisinier. T. 2 / par A. Beauvilliers,... pp. 127–128 – via
  6. ^ A. Viard; Fouret (1820). Le cuisinier royal: ou l'Art de faire la cuisine, la patisserie et tout ce qui concerne l'office, pour toutes les fortunes. J.-N. Barba. pp. 405–.
  7. ^ Colburn's New Monthly Magazine. 1842. p. 12.
  8. ^ Beauvilliers, A.B. (31 July 1824). The art of French cookery. London, England: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green. p. 227.
  9. ^ Antoine B. Beauvilliers, The Art of French Cookery … , 3rd ed. (London, England: Longman, 1827), page 227.
  10. ^ a b (in French) Véronique Zbinden "Patrimoine culiraire suisse (9/14). Rueblitorte, gâteau végétal et fédéral", Le Temps, Thursday 31 July 2014, page 10.
  11. ^ Olver, Lynne. "Cake History Notes". The Food Timeline. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  12. ^ Capucine (11 September 2019). "#Toutsavoir : la fabuleuse histoire du Carrot Cake". Petit Côté (in French). Retrieved 31 January 2023.
  13. ^ "O queridinho bolo de cenoura" [The beloved carrot cake]. Universidade Metodista de São Paulo (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  14. ^ "Bolo de cenoura: conheça a história e 8 receitas do doce" [Carrot cake: learn the history and 8 recipes of the dessert]. Casa e Jardim (in Brazilian Portuguese). 23 September 2022. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  15. ^ McKenney, Sally (23 March 2015). "My Favorite Carrot Cake Recipe". Sally's Baking Recipes. Sally's Baking Addiction. Retrieved 19 February 2023.


External links[edit]