Let’s have a show of hands. You? You? Yeah, me too. I’ve never liked it. I think it’s because I’m old enough to remember life in the early 70’s, when carrot cakes were believed to be healthy alternatives to conventional layer cakes. I suppose if you made them the way the hippie folk of the day made them they were: with whole wheat flour, minimal (brown) sugar, lots and lots of carrots and a mostly-unsweetened cream cheese frosting. Dreadful stuff.
Choking down those mushy, mealy squares of ersatz pleasure as I did as a kid, I never in a million years would have expected that carrot cake would eventually enter into the mainstream dessert lexicon. And I think, were it not for the heroic efforts of mainstream bakers who eschewed the finger-wagging of the natural living crowd, it wouldn’t have. But it’s amazing what a little white flour, white sugar and butter will do to spruce up a mediocrity like a “healthy” carrot cake.
Oh sure, they negate a lot of the supposed nutritional benefits of a classic carrot cake, but to my mind a cake that pretends to healthiness is an abomination. Like those horrible Snackwells cookies of old. Running roughshod over the nutritional benefits of carrot cake is therefore, to me, a big part of the pleasure.