Below you'll find an excerpt from an article written by Devra Ferst entitled "The Jews and Their Carrots":
"While Jews didn't bring the carrot to America (the pilgrims brought it in the early 1600s) Jewish cooks continued to develop recipes around the vegetable's sweet flavor in their new home. According to Marks (Gil Marks is a well-known food historian, and rabbi - MF) the first appearance of the term "carrot cake" in an American source came from "The Neighborhood Cook Book" by the council of Jewish Women, published in Portland, Oregon in 1912 - a pretty cool claim to fame...To celebrate our anniversary and Jews' relationship with the carrot, we share with you the original Jewish carrot cake recipe...
From the Neighborhood Cook Book by the council of Jewish Women, Portland, Oregon
One-half pound sugar, one-half pound almonds, blanched and chopped, one half-pound carrots, boiled only till they can be grated, juice and grated rind of one lemon, four eggs. Cream the yolks and sugar; whites beaten to snow, added last; add three or four bitter almonds; beat for one half hour before adding whites of eggs. Butter spring form and sprinkle with grated zweibach. Bake in a moderate oven one and one-quarter hours, till loosed from pan".
The following recipe is presumably much older since it originated in the Jewish ghetto of Venice around the 17th century. This recipe is from a very special cookbook called "Cucina Ebraica" (Hebrew Cooking) by Joyce Goldstein, which is essentially a history book about the Jews who lived in Italy and their cuisine, from the Macabees in ancient times to present day.
Torta di Carote del Veneto (Venetian Carrot Cake)
(adapted from "Cucina Ebraica")
- 4 cups of grated carrots (about 1 lb. fresh organic carrots)
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 stick of butter
- 2 eggs (since my eggs were very small, I added an extra one for good luck)
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp vanilla
- zest of a large lemon
- 1/2 cup of almond meal, or ground almonds
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsp baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350F and grease and line a 10 inch spring-form pan with parchment paper.
- Grate the carrots with the grating disk in a food processor, unless you have the stamina to use a box grater.
- In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add the eggs, extracts and lemon zest.
- Mix thoroughly. The batter will be very thick.
- Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. mix well.
- Fold in carrots and almond meal at the very end.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes.
- Remove the sides of the spring-form pan and cool cake on a rack.
- Dust with powdered sugar after the cake has cooled.
- Serve with mascarpone cream or whipped cream.