LOS ANGELES - February 3 is National Carrot Cake Day. On this holiday, the debate rages on: is carrot cake a dessert or a vegetable? A sweet treat or a deceptive crime against food?
With their natural sweetness, carrots have long been used as a sugar-substitute and played an important role in the development of modern day cakes.
Food historians believe carrot cake evolved from “Carrot Pudding,” which was made in the middle ages, when sugar was scarce, but dessert had to be had.
Leap ahead a few hundred years and the carrot cake was revived in Britain due to food rationing during World War II.
In America, once we had the recipe for chiffon cake in 1948, bakers began experimenting with oil-based cakes made with eggs— which resulted in moister, denser, more tender carrot cakes.
The 1960s saw the inspired addition of cream cheese icing. By the 1970s, carrot cake was everywhere. And unlike many food fads of that era (such as hamburger helper, watergate salad, and cheese balls) it’s still a classic.
So is it a dessert or a vegetable? We say it’s both.