Carrot cake is a sweet treat made with carrots that has a beautiful orange color and a gentle sweetness.
Carrots have a long history of being used as a substitute for sugar and are actually good ingredients to use with sweets.
Carrot cake, which originated in England, is also very popular in Scandinavia and has become a staple in Swedish Fika.
In this article, I would like to explain the appeal of carrot cake, which is a popular accompaniment to coffee in Northern Europe.
Carrot cake is a popular healthy sweet treat
Have you ever tried carrot cake?
Carrot cake is made by baking a batter with finely grated carrots and baking it in the oven, giving it a bright orange appearance.
In addition to carrots, recipes sometimes add nuts or raisins to taste to add sweetness and texture.
The surface of the carrot cake batter is also coated with cream cheese, sour cream, butter, or other cream pastes called frosting or icing.
The contrast between the sweetness of the carrots and the acidity of the cream cheese is considered one of the most appealing aspects of carrot cake.
A small number of spices can also be added to carrot cake to accentuate its flavor.
Typical spices used are cardamom, which is known as the queen of spices and has a mellow aroma, and cinnamon.
Carrot cake may not be a familiar cake in Japan.
In Scandinavia and Europe, it is a cake that can always be found in cafes and cake shops.
Originally from England, it became popular in Europe and the U.S. in the 20th century as a healthy vegetable-based dessert.https://hokuou-info.com/en/2021/03/24/cardamom/
Fika sweets in Sweden
Carrot cake is as well-loved as shortcake and cheesecake in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries.
In Sweden, carrot cake is a standard snack on the Fika.https://hokuou-info.com/en/2021/06/15/fika/
Fika is a traditional Swedish coffee break custom where family and friends enjoy coffee and conversation while selecting sweet treats together.
Since Sweden is one of the world’s top coffee consumers, sweets that go well with coffee are favored.
And in Fika, carrot cake is as popular as cinnamon rolls.
In Sweden, carrot cake is called “morotskaka.” “morot” means carrot and “kaka” means cake.
In Japan, carrots are a vegetable that children tend to be divided into their likes and dislikes.
However, Swedish carrots are said to have a less peculiar smell and peculiar taste compared to Japanese carrots.
For this reason, Swedish children are very fond of carrots and carrot cake.
Carrots were a sugar substitute in the Middle Ages
Carrot cake is said to have originated in England.
In cookbooks published in England in the 18th and 19th centuries, a pastry called “carrot pouting,” which is believed to be the original carrot cake had already appeared.
Going further back in time, carrots have been used as an ingredient and sweetener in sweets since medieval Europe.
In medieval Europe, unlike today, sugar was treated as a luxury item that was rarely available on the market.
Only a few wealthy people, such as aristocrats, were able to eat sugar as a luxury item.
And carrots have a long history of being used by the common people as a sweetener and substitute for sugar, which was in short supply at the time.
This is because carrots have the second highest sugar content of any vegetable, after sugar beets.
Although carrots do not have the intense sweetness of sugar, their natural and mild sweetness was enough to be used as a sweetener in those days.
Re-popular in wartime Britain
Originally a medieval recipe, carrot cake became popular again in England during World War II.
In wartime Britain, food was rationed.
Sugar in particular was scarce and difficult to obtain.
The British government then popularized recipes for carrot cake and other desserts using carrots as an alternative to sugar, which was hard to obtain.
This policy was probably aimed at improving wartime food shortages and alleviating public dissatisfaction.
This event triggered a boom in carrot cake in the UK, and it became ubiquitous at dinner tables and in cafes.
Spread around the world since the 1960s
In the beginning, carrot cake was more of a home-cooked treat, baked in the oven at home, rather than eaten in a cafe as it is today.
As it became more popular in the U.S. around the 1960s, it gradually began to be sold in cafes and cake shops.
It is said that the familiar carrot sponge cake with the cream filling was established during this time.
As carrot cake became popular in the U.S. and Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, it is said that carrot cake also became popular in Sweden in the 1970s.
Carrots are one of the most classic vegetables on the table. It is an essential ingredient in salads and stews, but in fact, it can also be used in cakes.
Try baking a carrot cake at home, which has captivated sweet tooths in Sweden and around the world.