Welcome back to Easy Desserts,
March was a busy month for me, so I wasn’t able to post a dessert for you. A few months back I was told about a dessert contest in my area, so I decided to enter (as mentioned in February’s post). I was working on turning Nana’s favorite dessert into a cupcake.
TIRAMISU — photo credit: coffee4nana.com
To my surprise, I took first place with the judges. Especially since the cupcakes were gluten-free. I have family members that have Celiac and decided to raise awareness about the disease at the same time
photo credit: coffee4nana.com
Now, onto April’s dessert, I wanted to do something fun while celebrating springtime. What I came up with is something you can even make as an Easter treat, I call it Springtime Dirt Cup. We’ll be filling SupaCute’s Jili dessert cups with a chocolate pudding and cookie crumble then topping it off with a mini Carrot Cupcake. The cream cheese frosting will be dyed orange to help it look like a carrot coming out from the ground. Before we start here’s what I learned about Carrot Cake.
Carrot Cake History:
According to food historians, our modern carrot cake most likely descended from medieval carrot puddings enjoyed by people in Europe. No one really knows where carrot cake came from, It looks like it did evolve from the Carrot Pudding of medieval times, during the middle ages sugar and other sweeteners was difficult or expensive to come by in Britain and carrots had long been used as sugar substitutes.
Recipes for carrot cake occur as early as 1827, in a French cookbook published in England. Another 19th-century recipe comes from the housekeeping school of Kaiseraugst (Canton of Aargau, Switzerland). According to the Culinary Heritage of Switzerland, it is one of the most popular cakes in Switzerland, especially for the birthdays of children.
A big development in the world of carrot cake came in the early 1900s, when the pudding began to be baked in loaf pans, more like a quick bread. Carrots were used as an agent of moisture and sweetness in cakes when luxury foods were rationed during the first and second world wars. It's possible, too, that the government became carrot-pushers: in England, recipes were distributed to promote the carrot as a nutrient-dense ingredient. By mid-century, the carrot cake had hopped over to America, where it would make dessert history. Most likely, the recipe was imported to the states following the Second World War, where it caught on in cafeterias and restaurants. However, there is a delightful story which indicates that following WWII there was a glut of canned carrots in the U.S
photo credit: tripadvisor.com
The popularity of carrot cake was revived in Great Britain because of rationing during the Second World War. Carrot cakes first became commonly available in restaurants and cafeterias in the United States in the early 1960s. They were at first a novelty item, but people liked them so much that carrot cake became standard dessert fare. It was also during the 60s, which Philadelphia Cream Cheese released many recipe pamphlets; possibly it is during this time that the carrot cake and cream cheese frosting really became a beloved pair. In the 70s the cake really caught on due to health-conscious of society, when carrot cake was perceived as being “healthy”, after all, carrots are vegetables, and raisins and nuts are pretty much health food, right? In 2005, the American-based television channel Food Network listed carrot cake, with its cream-cheese icing, as number five of the top five fad foods of the 1970s. Carrot cake was voted as the favorite cake in the United Kingdom, according to a survey in the Radio Times in 2011. The cake's mild but distinct flavor has made the cake an enduring favorite. As some would think of it as fashionable, it's considered a timeless classic that never goes out of style.
Carrot Cake Fun Dates:
Here in the US, we celebrate National Carrot Cake Day on February 3rd.
Internationally countries like England, Sweden, and Switzerland (to name a few) celebrate on the 4th of April.
Springtime Dirt Cups — What You’ll Need:
1 box Carrot Cake (and ingredients per box)
1 box chocolate Jell-O pudding
3 cups milk (I use 2% when I make pudding)
1 package of chocolate Grahams
1 can of cream cheese frosting
4 drops of red food dye
3 drops of yellow food dye
Mix the pudding in a large bowl according to the box’s directions. Pour into cups; be sure to leave room for the Grahams and mini cupcakes.
Instead of using a food processor I thought smashing them by hand would give a more dirt look.
Bake the cake according to the instructions on the box. Then with a wire whisk mix the frosting with the food dye, feel free to add more drops of color until the shade of orange is achieved. After the cupcakes have cooled apply the frosting. Most of my family don’t like cream cheese frosting I just did the tops. However, for a completed carrot look you can frost all of the cupcakes.
When writing this blog I wanted to add some cute touches and give the feel of a carrot patch. During one of my many stops to Hobby Lobby when I was looking for inspiration for the Dessert & Coffee Expo I saw the picket fence and the green cupcake toppers. I was too sure what I was going to use for the top, but I think I found a winner with what I used.
Enjoy these festive treats for about a week when covered or unless the dairy expires before.
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Happy Springtime and Hoppy Easter
Until next time …