Delicious cake with carrots sticking out of the top on white plate on wooden table background
The Sweet Medieval Origins Of Carrot Cake
By Nico Danilovich
Although President George Washington included carrot cake on menus for parties in the 1700s, it was considered a rare treat in the United States in the 1900s. The treat appeared in the luxurious and opulent kitchens of France's high society members in the early 1800s, but carrot cake actually has humble origins dating back to the Middle Ages.
Sugar was not easy to attain during the Middle Ages, so bakers had to turn to carrots for sweetness, inspiring desserts like sweet carrot pudding, which consisted of eggs, flour, spices, and boiled or steamed carrots. While some historians question these origins, there’s no denying the clear connection between the sweet carrot puddings of the Middle Ages and the modern carrot cake.
The evolution from carrot pudding to carrot cake was accelerated by the popularization of ovens, which allowed carrot-heavy desserts to become lighter and fattier. In the early 1900s, Americans began including carrot cake recipes in cookbooks, and by the 1960s, the dessert had spread like wildfire due to its perceived healthiness.