This Sunday, February 3rd is National Carrot Cake Day!
Carrot cake is a signature dessert at Benny’s Chop House in Chicago, IL and Pastry Chef Aaron Lindgren shares his recipe for this tasty dessert. “Using the highest quality ingredients with chunks of crushed pineapple and spices like clove, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg, the cake is rich and moist but not too sweet. My recipes are all less sweet than most,” Lindgren said. “The cream cheese frosting has 40 percent less sugar than traditional recipes, and with the addition of fresh Tahitian vanilla bean, citrus zest, butter and cream cheese, the end result is a very tasty dessert that’s smooth, luscious and satisfying.”
A little carrot cake history…
Carrot Cake has a long and interesting history. It is often referred to as Passion Cake, and was voted as the favorite cake in the United Kingdom, according to a survey in the Radio Times in 2011.
Carrots have been used to sweeten cakes since the Middle Ages. Back then, sugar was scarce and expensive while carrots, which contain more sugar than any other vegetable except for the sugar beet, were much easier to come by. Carrot Cake reached a new level of popularity in Britain during World War II, when sugar was rationed but carrots were very accessible.
In the 1960’s, Carrot Cake was the en vogue dessert, found in every restaurant from neighborhood diners to four-star culinary jewels. At first it was more of a novelty dessert, but people liked it so much that Carrot Cake became an American dessert standard.
According to the Food Network, Carrot Cake was one of the top five food trends of the 1970s. Over the years, with increased interest in foods made from wholesome ingredients, Carrot Cake has become a must-have on restaurant dessert menus.
Carrot Cake Recipe by Pastry Chef Aaron Lindgren
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup cooking oil
- 2 eggs
- 1¼ cup grated raw carrots
- ½ cup crushed pineapple (drain syrup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Cream cheese frosting
- 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 fresh vanilla bean (scraped)
- Pinch of salt
- 2½ cups sifted powdered sugar
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- Combine dry ingredients in a large mixer bowl.
- Add oil, eggs, carrot, pineapple and vanilla; beat with a whisk until there are no lumps.
- Pour batter into greased 9″ x 9″ x 2″ baking pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees about 35 minutes, until top springs back when touched.
- For frosting, cream together cream cheese and butter; beat in vanilla extract, fresh vanilla and salt.
- Gradually add powdered sugar; beat until light and fluffy.
- Once cake has cooled completely, spread frosting with spatula.
- Garnish with toasted walnuts and serve at room temperature.