National Carrot Cake Day on February 3rd, America celebrates one of its favorite flavors of cake. In the carrot cake, we get to eat our cake and veggies, too!
- The carrot’s natural sweetness may have been selected as a substitute in the Middle Ages when sugar was hard to find or expensive. Carrot cake most likely developed from a carrot pudding which could be savory or sweet.
- Through times in history when access to sugar was non-existent or very hard to come by, people have used sweet vegetables to make their desserts sweet. During World War II, the government of Britain needed to ration food and luxury items to their population. During the war, the Ministry of Food in Britain encouraged people to try many different recipes that used carrots as a sweetener. They suggested carrot cakes, carrot puddings, and carrot filled pies! It is also something to note that carrot sweetened confections are healthier for you.
- The word “carrot” comes from the Greek word “karoton.” The beta-carotene that is found in carrots was actually named for the carrot itself. The word carrot is first recorded in English in a 1538 book of herbs.
- There are documents that record President George Washington would enjoy this tasty treat in Lower Manhattan. He would go to a tavern called Fraunces Tavern.
- There was a cookbook that was put together to record and honor early American recipes. The Thirteen Colonies Cookbook was created by Mary Donovan, Amy Hatrack, and Frances Schull. In this book, they offer the exact recipe for President Washington’s favorite.
- Carrots were first cultivated in North Africa & the Mediterranean. They originally were purple or grey in color. Introduced to Europe around 1000 years ago.
- The weed/flower “Queen Anne’s Lace” is actually a wild carrot.
- Jello in the 1930s offered ‘carrot pie’ flavored gelatin.
- People first grew carrots as medicine, not food, for a variety of ailments.
- Carrots are one of the rare vegetables which are more nutritious cooked than raw.
- By the 16th and 17th centuries, carrot pudding was being served either as a savory side dish or a sweet pudding with an egg custard. This would have been baked inside a pastry tart, like a pumpkin pie, and served with a sauce.
- Recipes for carrot cake can be found in recipe books from as early as 1827 and the oldest known recipe of carrot cake dates from 1892, in a book of housekeeping tips and tricks from Switzerland.
- In 1941, British scientists developed a special radar system, to help the Royal Airforce spot Luftwaffe planes at night. To keep the system a secret, the British government began running campaigns for citizens to eat more of the orange root. The reason? The ads claimed that carrots helped you see at night. The German command fell for the plot and the result was a skyrocket in the sale of carrots (and the making of carrot cakes) and the end of the Blitz in May of that year.
- The illustrious dessert came to America during the 1960s
- Eating too many carrots can cause a person’s skin to turn yellowish orange, especially on the palms or soles of the feet. This is called carotenemia. It is completely reversible once the consumption of carrots is reduced.
- Carrots are a root vegetable that originated in Afghanistan. They were purple, red, white, and yellow, but never orange.
- They are a member of the Umbelliferae family, which also includes celery, parsley, dill, cilantro, caraway, cumin, and the poisonous hemlock.
- Cultivated carrots are usually made up of about 88% water, 7% sugar, 1% protein, 1% fiber, 1% ash, and 0.2% fat.
- Orange carrots get their color from beta carotene.
- They have more beta carotene than any other vegetable. One cup of carrots has 16,679 IU of beta-carotene.
- The world’s largest carrot producer is China, which in 2011, accounted for over 45% of the global output.
- There are around 350 calories in a piece of carrot cake with icing.
- The term “carrot cake” first appeared in 1827.