A REAL Carrot cake recipe

OK, my sister loves carrot cake while I absolutely abhor it. it’s my understanding that carrot cake became popular in WWII as the sweetness of the carrots were a substitute for rationed sugar. However, carrot cake nowadays contains sugar, be it from a box or from the bakery. So, does anyone know of a WWII-type recipe for carrot cake with similar sweetness without sugar?

Joy Of Cooking is your friend.
They have a great recipe - yes, lots of oil and sugar, but it is one of the best, moist carrot cakes you will ever taste. Plus it is easy to make!

Here’s mine, which has been very popular over the years:

Ruth’s Carrot Cake (Ruth being my grad school roommate)

2 cups grated carrots (approx. 3 large)
1-1/2 cup oil
2 cups sugar
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 t vanilla
1 t cinnamon
4 eggs
2 cups flour
nuts (usually walnuts) – about a cup
(sometimes I throw in a cup or so of raisins)

Grate carrots; mix everything together. Batter will be extremely soupy. Bake in greased, floured, 9x13 pan for an hour at 350 degrees.

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1-1/2 t almond extract
approx. 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Beat together cream cheese, butter, and almond extract. Beat in the powdered sugar a half cup or so at a time until the frosting is a consistency that is pleasing to you.

I don’t know why you couldn’t cut back on the sugar in a regular recipe till it suits you, OP.

My recipe, makes 9x9 pan:

2 eggs
1 c sugar
3/4 c oil
10 oz canned carrots, drained
1 tsp vanilla

(hit it with the electric mixer, then add and beat)

1 1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 walnuts
6 oz canned pineapple, drained
Some raisins if you like…I don’t.

Pour into greased/floured 9x9, bake till it passes toothpick test.


8 oz cream cheese, softened (room temp, not melted)
1/2 stick butter, softened (room temp, not melted)
1 c to 1 box of powdered sugar
1 Tb vanilla

Mix till smooth with electric mixer.


Original recipe called for like amount of baby food carrots, but canned are already softened and they’re cheaper.

For healthier: use 3/8 c oil and 3/8 c applesauce (roughly)

I’m uber generous with the cinnamon in the cake and with the vanilla in the frosting.

Now I’m all hungry for it! :smack:

A little prelimanary googling turned up very little - seems like everyone’s gone back to sugared carrot cakes. According to wiki, carrot cake didn’t get popular in the US until the 60’s, by which time I suspect it was no longer sugar-free, so if you’re really into this, you’re probably going to need a UK cookbook from the forties. Google books doesn’t turn up a damn thing, so unless you’ve got an antique-British-cookbooks section in your local used book store, you may be stuck with later recipes.

I did, however, find a Google Answers question about unsweetened vegetable cakes - there are two carrot cakes in there, one that calls for a cup of honey/applesauce and no sugar, one that calls for six tablespoons of sugar, that might be amenable to a reduction. Can’t vouch for either one, though. Best luck!

Interestingly, I checked my circa 1943 Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and there was no carrot cake recipe in it.

Why the hell do we seem to always use cream cheese as a frosting?? I remember, when I was young (and not so young, as a matter of fact) we used to have good ole BUTTER frosting, which was infinitely superior, in my most humble opinion??:mad:

And** DMark **have you EVER had a carrot cake that wasn’t moist??:stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve never heard of a carrot cake that uses canned carrots. Has anybody else?
Other than that the recipe sounds great. Out of curiosity what is the reason behind the canned carrots? I’m lazy enough that I might give it a try.

Checking my 1964 Joy of Cooking, I don’t find a carrot cake listed. But America’s test kitchen to the rescue.
In the book America’s Best Lost Recipes I found a recipe for Real Carrot Cake. According to ATK legend has it that George Washington was served carrot cake in 1783, so apparently it goes back further than WWII.
“The history of carrot cakes in America has undergone a lot of twists and turns, disappearing from cookbooks for a while and then returning with a vengeance in the 1960s”
This one has sugar, but not as much as some other recipes I have seen.
Anyway here is their recipe:

3 Cups + 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts chopped
1 cup raisins
5 large eggs @ room temperature
1-3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 Lb of carrots peeled and grated

1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon dark rum

heat oven to 325 Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan
Whisk the 3 cups of flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together.
coat the walnuts and raisins with the remaining flour by tossing in a small bowl.
use a mixer at medium-high speed and beat the eggs and sugar until combined. Reduce speed to medium and slowly add the oil until incorporated. Increase speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Fold in the dry ingredients, and the carrots.
Put into the bundt pan and bake 50-60 minutes until done.
Cool for 30 minutes, remove from pan and allow to cool 1 hour more before topping.
Brush the wine over the cake until absorbed. Combine the sugar, buttermilk and rum, whisk together and drizzle over the cake.

Did they have carrots back in 1964?

Butter frosting…never had it. Got a recipe?

I think the original recipe was 6 oz of baby food carrots, like the Gerber jars of the stuff. I like it more carrot-y so going to 10 oz wasn’t a biggie.

I don’t recall the first time I used canned. Maybe necessity being a mother and all I couldn’t find the baby food and substituted. Anyway, the electric mixer chews through the soft carrots quite easily and if you stuck with it, you could probably puree them. I’m too lazy for that. Besides, I like to be able to see small chunks of carrots.

BTW OP Target used to sell some quite tasty soft oatmeal cookies. They were sweetened with “raisin puree,” though they may have had some sugar as well. I don’t like raisins at all but that’s b/c of the texture—in the cookies, the puree was fine and I suspect helped keep them moist. Anyway that might be another alternative way to add a little sweet without making it too cloying.

“what is the reason”???

Who wants carrots with shredded bits of pink knuckleflesh mixed in? :wink: That’s what happen when you use real fresh carrots, that have to be grated.

I’ve got a recipe that calls for baby-food carrots also. As the person who gave it to me said, the carrots get cooked into mush anyhow so why not start out that way! (though that’s not accurate: a true carrot cake generally has some visible shreds of carrots in it).

No sugar carrot cake

[quote=“lobotomyboy63, post:11, topic:490358”]

Butter frosting…never had it. Got a recipe?

Are you kidding?!? I hardly know how to boil an egg! But it’s a fact that some carrot cakes I’ve eaten over the ages DID have butter cream frosting and they were delishhhh

Lots of buttercream recipes here :slight_smile:

I like the tang of a cream cheese frosting on spice-type cakes (which I consider carrot cake to be). Helps it stand up better to the strongly-flavored cake, IMO. Also based on my experience in that thread, I think it helps the frosting remain cut-able vs. a pure butter frosting (the stuff I made flaked off the cake in chunks when I tried to cut the refrigerated cake).

It’s my understanding that the UK carrot cakes (and similar items) of WWII were not devoid of sugar, they just used less sugar than more modern recipes since the carrots could provide some of the sweetness. Brown sugar was more readily available than refined white sugar. There’s a number of recipes about (check British recipe sites) that use brown sugar in carrot cake recipes and honey can be substituted in some cases as well.

It seems to me that over the years desserts in general have become sweeter, probably due to the fact that sugar is cheaper and easier to come by now. I am not a fan of the trend - I tend to cut out at least a third of the sugar called for in newer bread and cake recipes.

[quote=“omni-not, post:14, topic:490358”]

Back up the truck. My recipe has cream cheese and butter (plus sugar and vanilla) for the frosting. We call that “butter cream” frosting. I thought “butter” frosting was different…maybe like butter brickle or something. :confused:

[quote=“lobotomyboy63, post:17, topic:490358”]

My bad, lobo. I should have said butter cream. French is my mother tongue, soooo… bear with me:)

[quote=“omni-not, post:18, topic:490358”]

Pas de problème…:wink:

I checked my 1946 Good Housekeeping Cookbook. No cake under carrot and no carrot under cake. I guess it hadn’t been invented yet.

There was a recipe for a “sugarless” cake that included a cup of corn syrup. The thought of it makes me gag, so I won’t post it.