National Carrot Cake Day, on February 3, celebrates one of our favorite desserts. Carrots contain a natural sweetness that’s just perfect for cake. Many historians believe the cake originated in the Middle Ages when sugar and other sweeteners were scarce. (Carrots were used as a substitute.) The earliest known recipe for carrot cake can be found in a French cookbook published in 1827. While the origins of National Carrot Cake Day are hard to come by, that won’t stop carrot cake lovers from indulging on February 3.
National Carrot Cake Day timeline
Red, white, and orange
Carrot cake became a popular dessert at dinner tables across America.
Carrots went to war
The British government encouraged citizens to use carrots as a replacement for sugar and other sweeteners, which were in short supply during the war. The government suggested using carrots in cakes and puddings.
The French were first
The earliest known recipe for carrot cake was published in Britain — inside a French cookbook.
Carrots went Dutch
There are many reports that the Dutch first cultivated orange carrots during the 17th Century.
Onward to Spain
The Moors introduced carrots to the Spanish.
National Carrot Cake Day Activities
Bake a carrot cake
Call the kids down to the kitchen and make it a family affair. Good luck keeping them away from the frosting bowl, though.
Add carrots to your garden
Carrots are easy to grow. Pick up some carrot seeds and plant them about one-half inch deep and one to two inches apart. It'll take up to 12 weeks before they're ready for cake. And keep an eye out for those rabbits!
Buy a carrot cake for dessert
Chances are your local grocery or baker offers a fine-tasting version of carrot cake. Stop by and pick one up for the family to share. Enjoy while watching the excellent British animated film "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit."
5 Of Our Favorite Carrots
Chantenay carrots are short, fat, and need to be harvested when they reach five to six inches in length.
So named because they come from the Nantes region in France, which has the perfect weather for growing them.
The most commercially available carrots — they have a higher sugar content than other carrots.
Cultivated in Danvers, Massachusetts, this is the classic long, skinny, orange carrot.
Ball or Mini
Shaped like radishes, the ball or mini only reaches three to four inches in length and is usually served whole.
Why We Love National Carrot Cake Day
The old adage is true: Eating carrots can improve your vision. Carrots contain lots of beta-carotene, which the liver converts to vitamin A, which then gets converted to rhodopsin in the retina — and that gives you better night vision.
Improved overall health
Eating carrots has a host of health benefits. Research shows they can reduce the risk of cancer, slow down the aging process, cleanse toxins from your body, and improve the condition of your teeth and gums. They can also improve your skin and help prevent infection.
Especially when topped with cream cheese frosting! Luckily, there are many recipes to choose from. You can also add some walnuts or different spices, such as cinnamon or nutmeg. This remarkably moist cake is the perfect dessert!