Carrot cake closely resembles a quick bread in method of preparation (all the wet ingredients, such as
Many carrot cake recipes include optional ingredients, such as kirsch, cinnamon, nuts, pineapple or raisins. The most common icing on carrot cake is icing sugar and lemon juice or icing sugar and kirsch (Europe) and an icing with icing sugar, butter and cream cheese (United States).
As the cake is relatively moist, it can be conserved longer than many other types of cakes.
Carrot cake may be eaten plain, but it is commonly either glazed or topped with white icing or cream cheese icing and walnuts, usually chopped. It is often coated with icing or marzipan made to look like carrots. Carrot cake is popular in loaf, sheet cake and cupcake forms, and (in the United Kingdom, as well as North America) can be found pre-packaged at grocery stores, and fresh at bakeries. Some carrot cakes are even layered.
Carrots have been used in sweet cakes since the medieval period, during which time sweeteners were
|Carrot cake cupcakes with candied ginger icing|
The popularity of carrot cake was probably revived in Great Britain because of rationing during the Second World War. Carrot cakes first became commonly available in restaurants and cafeterias in the United States in the early 1960s. They were at first a novelty item, but people liked them so much that carrot cake became standard dessert fare. In 2005, the American-based television channel Food Network listed carrot cake, with its cream-cheese icing, as number five of the top five fad foods of the 1970s. Carrot cake was voted as the favorite cake in the United Kingdom, according to a survey in the Radio Times in 2011.
Another story indicates that following the Second World War there was a glut of canned carrots in the United States. A business man named George C. Page hired master bakers to find uses for the cans of carrots. He somehow promoted the idea of carrot cake to help create a demand for the product.