The carrot cake is a popular variety of spice cake that includes the use of grated carrots in the batter. During the baking process, the presence of the grated carrots helps give the cake's layers an added amount of texture and density that many people like. Traditionally topped with a simple cream cheese frosting, carrot cakes are often enjoyed at family celebrations and holiday events.
Strictly speaking, carrot cake is not a cake, but rather a quick bread. Quick breads are baked products that use a process of mixing all the wet ingredients together, then adding the combined wet mixture to the dry ingredients. This process is thought to aid in creating the firm and dense texture that helps to set carrot cake apart from other sweets.
There are a number of different recipes for carrot cake. Some recipes call for the addition of crushed nuts, such as almonds, pecans, or walnuts. Raisins and coconut are also frequent additions to the basic carrot cake batter. There are even recipes that call for the addition of chopped apples or sections of pineapple as part of the batter.
When it comes to the basic cream cheese frosting that is usually used with the carrot cake, there are also some variations. Chopped nuts may be whipped into the frosting or added as a topping after the cake is frosted. Some frosting recipes call for the addition of whipping cream along with the cream cheese, resulting in a fluffier texture.
While the carrot is considered to be an essential vegetable in a balanced diet, the consumption of carrot cake should not be understood as a recommended means of obtaining a serving of vegetables. As with all types of cakes, the carrot cake has a high amount of carbohydrates, fat, and cholesterol. While delicious, carrot cake should not be part of the daily diet for anyone who is attempting to lose weight, or is trying to reduce cholesterol or blood glucose levels.