Carrot cake has earned its place as a timeless classic in the world of baking. This delectable treat perfectly combines the earthy sweetness of carrots with the rich, moist texture of cake. With its garden origins and well earned status as a beloved dessert for any occasion, carrot cake has proven its versatility and ability to captivate hearts with every delicious bite.
Carrots are renowned for their health benefits, making them a nutritious addition to a well-balanced diet. Carrots are rich in nutrients providing a good source of essential nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Vitamin A is particularly important for maintaining healthy vision, skin, and immune function. They also have antioxidant properties; carrots contain antioxidants like beta-carotene, which gives them their vibrant orange color.
Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body and helps protect cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals and promotes eye health. Regular consumption of carrots may help prevent conditions such as night blindness and age-related macular degeneration (Food Smart Colorado). Carrots also aid in digestion due to fiber, are low in calories, provide hydration, and support heart health.
Fun fact: Originating in Iran and Afghanistan, carrots were originally many colors, ranging from red and purple to black. The iconic orange color and sweet taste that most people prefer in carrots today did not appear until the 17th century in the Netherlands, a product of cross breeding by botanists (Food Smart Colorado).
Colorado carrots are typically available August through November and can be stored through the winter in the appropriate setting (Food Smart Colorado).
You can find several other ways to make this carrot cake even more Colorado Proud by purchasing local flour, eggs, dairy as ingredients. Find your closest local producer, farmers’ market, or local grocery retailer on ColoradoProud.com. In the meantime, try this delicious recipe from Jennifer Yu and make your next dessert memorable!
Recipe from Jennifer Yu, Use Real Butter
Yield: 8 slices | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 35 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp allspice
- 2/3 cup cooking oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup finely shredded raw carrot
- 1/2 cup crushed pineapple (with syrup)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup of walnuts, chopped
- 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1 lb. confectioner’s sugar
- Stir dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add remaining cake ingredients and mix until moistened.
- Pour batter into a greased and lightly floured baking pan. For a 9x9x2 inch baking pan, bake at 350°F for about 35 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean or with moist crumbs.
- Or bake in 2 6-inch round pans at 375°F for 45 minutes (at elevation).
- Remove cakes from the oven and when slightly cooled, invert onto a cooling rack out of the pan and let cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cream the butter and cream cheese together until completely blended.
- Add vanilla and salt. Blend.
- Gradually beat in confectioner’s sugar to desired consistency.
Note: Make as a layer cake with 1.5 times the amount of frosting. If there is any leftover, the frosting works beautifully on cinnamon buns.
Colorado Wine suggests pairing with a Riesling as carrot cake’s cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla flavors work well with wines that have apple flavors while offering a crisp taste in contrast to the cream cheese frosting. Find off-dry or sweet rieslings at The Storm Cellar Wine.
For non-alcoholic alternatives, try drinks from Oliko’s. Oliko’s ginger beers are made with a cultured Ginger Bug (a community of gut-healthy bacteria and yeast). This tangy base is blended with fresh, Peruvian ginger to create standout beverages.