World's Best Carrot Cake
The original recipe for this carrot cake came from a friend. Deborah
Stanley then made her unique changes to the cake adding the
pineapple and the olive oil. (She is part Italian after all.) It is
so rich, moist and flavorful that when she first brought it to a
family gathering we all thought we had gone to cake heaven.
Now we can
hardly have a family gathering without this cake.
You can make it
in layers or single sheets. Any way you serve it you can be assured
of having the best carrot cake in the world.
According to the food historians, our modern carrot cake most likely
descended from Medieval carrot puddings enjoyed by people in this part
of Europe. Carrots are an old world food. imported to the Americas by
European settlers. In the 20th century carrot cake was re-introduced
as a "healthy alternative" to traditional desserts. The first time was
due to necessity; the second time was spurred by the popular [though
oftimes misguided] wave of health foods. Is today's carrot cake
healthy? It can be. It all depends upon the ingredients.
"In the Middle Ages in Europe, when sweeteners were scarce and
expensive, carrots were used in sweet cakes and desserts. In
Britain...carrot puddings...often appeared in recipe books in the 18th
and 19th centuries. Such uses were revived in Britain during the
second World War, when the Ministry of Food disseminated recipes for
carrot Christmas pudding, carrot cake, and so on and survive in a
small way to the present day. Indeed, carrot cakes have enjoyed a
revival in Britain in the last quarter of the 20th century. They are
perceived as 'healthy' cakes, a perception fortified by the use of
brown sugar and wholemeal flour and the inclusion of chopped nuts, and
only slightly compromised by the cream cheese and sugar icing which
appears on some versions."
Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press: Oxford] 1999
From Deborah Stanley
2 cups - flour
2 teaspoons - baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons - baking soda
1 teaspoon - salt
1 can (14 oz.) - Dole Crushed Pineapple (including
1/2 cup - chopped walnuts*
2 tablespoons - cinnamon
2 cups - sugar
1 cup - extra virgin olive oil
4 each - eggs
2 cups grated carrots
8 oz. - Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese
1/2 cup - butter
1 teaspoon - Pure vanilla Extract
1 lb. - powered sugar
Preheat oven to
350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
two - 9 x 2 inch (23 x 5 cm) cake pans with butter or spray.
(If you have parchment paper you can line the bottom of the pans.)
the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon in
a bowl and set aside.
Beat the eggs
until frothy (about 1 minute) in bowl of electric mixer (or with a
the sugar and beat until the batter is thick and light colored
(about 3 - 4 minutes).
Add the olive
oil in a steady stream.
Add the flour
mixture and beat just until incorporated.
Fold in the
grated carrots and chopped nuts with a spatula.
the batter between the two prepared pans and bake 25 to 30 minutes
or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Put the cream
cheese and butter into the bowl of an electric mixer (or with
a hand mixer).
Beat the cream
cheese and butter, on low speed, just until blended and there are no
Add the powdered
sugar and beat, on low speed, until fully incorporated and smooth.
Beat in the
When the cake
cools to room temperature assemble and ice the cake in layers or
Serves 8 to 10
Note: No Baby Carrots were harmed in the making of
this carrot cake. Save the Baby Carrots!
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Carrots are an "Old World" vegetable. They adapted readily to "New
World" soil. Notes here:
"Carrot. A root vegetable of the Umbelliferae family--and thus related
to parsley, dill, and celery...although originally native to
Afghanistan, is now found all over the world in many shapes, sizes,
---Cambridge World History of Food, Kennth F. Kiple & Kriemhild Conee
Ornelas [Cambridge University Press:Cambridge] 2001, Volume Two (p.
"In her New York
Cookbook (1992), Molly O'Neill says that George Washington was served
a carrot tea cake at Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan. The date:
November 25, 1783. The occasion: British Evacuation Day. She offers an
adaptation of that early recipe, which was printed in The Thirteen
Colonies Cookbook (1975) by Mary Donovan, Amy Hatrack, and Frances
Schull. It isn't so very different from the carrot cakes of today. Yet
strangely, carrot cakes are noticeably absent from American cookbooks
right through the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth.
Before developing a new pudding-included carrot and spice cake mix,
Pillsbury researched carrot cake in depth, even staged a nation-wide
contest to locate America's first-published carrot cake recipe. Their
finding: A carrot cake in The Twentieth Century Bride's Cookbook
published in 1929 by a Wichita, Kansas, woman's club. Running a close
second was a carrot cake printed in a 1930 Chicago Daily News
Cookbook...Several carrot cake contestants also sent Pillsbury a
complicated, two-day affair that Peg Bracken had included in one of
her magazine columns sometime in the late '60s or early
'70s...Whatever its origin, carrot cake didn't enter mainstream
America until the second half of this century."
Century Cookbook: The Most Popular Recipes of the 20th Century, Jean
Anderson [Clarkson Potter:New York] 1997 (p. 435)