Cakeformation you need to know
Carrot cake - that unlikely yet winning combination of cake and vegetable. With its natural sugars and ability to bring delicious moistness to any dry ingredients, it’s perhaps not such an unlikely idea at all, but we salute the person who first dug up a carrot and then went renegade with the flour, eggs and sugar.
No one is entirely sure when carrot cake was first invented but food historians think it is likely to be a descendant of carrot puddings, which were eaten in Medieval Europe. By the 16th and 17th centuries, carrot pudding was being served either a savoury 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. Other versions may have been steamed, more like a plum pudding, and served with icing, so you can see how the carrot pudding edged slowly but surely towards cake.
The exact point at which pudding morphed into cake no one is sure but it was certainly during World War Two that carrot cake as we know it today became popular. As Britain was urged to ‘dig for victory’ carrots were in much more plentiful supply than sugar, which was rationed, and they had the double benefit of being both a sweetener and a bulking agent in a cake. We imagine a slice went down very nicely with a strong cup of tea during a tedious afternoon in an air-raid shelter, too.