“Carrot cakes are not so wholesome a way to serve carrots, but may be tried for a change, and they taste very good.” – as reported in The Baltimore Sun, 1910.

The above news report about how to use carrots, was then followed by a “recipe” which appeared to be more of a description of a carrot hash brown than what we would call a carrot cake today. I’m pretty sure a carrot mashed into a hash brown shape is still much more wholesome than an actual carrot cake!

I found recipes for sweet carrot cakes appearing in United States newspapers shortly after The Baltimore Sun report, in 1911 and later. This is consistent with the research reported at The History of the Carrot Cake. Which is not to say that the carrot cake was invented circa 1910, but rather that American cooks only started talking about it using that exact name, around 1910. History also tells us that Americans didn’t start icing the cake with cream cheese frosting until the 1960s.

Now, onto making the actual cake. I am not a professional baker and I have been known to just buy the boxed mix. So it is totally ok if you want to do that too.

I just need to tell you, if you do not already know, that carrot cake is best eaten on the same day it is baked. Also you need to make sure to mix your dry ingredients really well. And be careful measuring your baking soda – follow a tested recipe exactly. The reason is because baking soda turns carrots green. And that is hard to explain when you cut into a freshly baked cake. Btw, if this happens to you, the green carrots are ok to eat, but it may mean you need to scale back on the baking soda next time you make that recipe.

The scratch recipe that I recommend is from Cookies and Cups. This cake can be made into a layer cake or just dumped into a rectangular pan. She is also very flexible about the additives and the frosting, so you’re sure to find a way to get this cake to your liking.

However you enjoy your carrot cake, just have fun with it. I felt like a carrot cake was so ideal for this time of year.

(Image credit: Jakub Kapusnak)

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