Weekend Cooking – Will You Have This Cake And Eat It?

Weekend Cooking

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. It is hosted by Beth Fish Reads.

I had a nice time shopping in Utrecht (the Netherlands) with my friend M. last week. I bought some pots for preserving jam and some plant pots for in the garden.

De Rechtbank

Of course, we needed our coffee at eleven and looked around for a nice place to go. Somehow, we drifted away from the main eating and drinking area (although not too far) and ended up at De Rechtbank (The Courthouse), which is attached to a 4-star hotel so it’s bound to serve quality coffee and food.

To give this post a bookish angle: the book I had been reading was about food and the writer (in the part that I read just the day before) mentioned how bad the food was at De Rechtbank! But then, he was there some years ago when they had just opened. For interested Dutch readers, the book is Keukenprins by Ronald Giphart.

My friend and I decided to give the place a chance and, with another bookish twist to the story, when we entered I noticed Utrecht’s most famous living poet sitting at one of the tables.

Now the food. We ordered cappuccino and asked what types of cake there were to go with our coffees. We were given the choice of Swartzwalder Kirsch (a German cake with cherries and chocolate), a lemon meringue cake, apple cake, and carrot cake.

Deliciously moist carrot cake

Now, the interesting thing was, while the lemon meringue cake was called “citroentaart” and the apple cake “appeltaart”, i.e., by their Dutch names, the carrot cake was announced as “carrot cake”.

While we were eating the absolutely delicious carrot cake (generously sized and moist, a far cry from the dry stuff that you sometimes get in inferior establishments) I considered why the waiter had called it carrot cake rather than the Dutch worteltaart.

The answer? We don’t eat vegetables in our cakes! Eeek! 

When I first lived in England (where I lived for a long time before heading back to the Netherlands) and was introduced to carrot cake, I really didn’t believe this would be nice. But it was! In fact, now it’s one of my favorite cakes. There is absolutely no taste of any carrot in this cake, but the presence of the vegetable makes the cake moist and sweet. Even if you dislike carrots, you’re likely to love this cake.

In the Netherlands, calling a rose a rose by an English name, makes it less a rose. In other words, using an English word rather than a Dutch word means people have to translate the name first, and it just doesn’t sound quite as bad. Those beautiful orangy thingies that the English call carrots, in your cake? Why not? But wortels, that you use in hotpot and other dinner recipes? No way!!!

So, I take it this is a trick to make Dutch people eat carrot cake. Call it by the English name and it sounds more posh and less … vegetablish!

What do people in your country think about carrots in their cake?

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at bookhelpline.com. In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

31 Responses to Weekend Cooking – Will You Have This Cake And Eat It?

  1. Els says:

    As I am a real carrot-lover, I don’t care waht it’s called. I’ll eat it! The cake looks great, would love a bite …

    • Leeswammes says:

      Els, it doesn’t taste one bit of carrot, but it’s so nice! Have you had carrot cake before? I’m sure you’ll try it next time you see it on a menu somewhere… won’t you?

  2. Uniflame says:

    Well the trick never worked on me because I know quite will what carrot means 😉 But if you say you won’t taste it in your cake, then I will have to try it the next chance I get 🙂

  3. What a fun post! Since I grew up on carrot cake, sweet potato pie and zucchini bread, I guess it never occurred to me there were “vegetables” in there! Funny, I don’t remember seeing carrot cake in Spain — I wonder if they make it.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Col, I haven’t seen carrot cake anywhere else in Europe than England. Sweet potato pie? Well, I do love sweet potato so I can (almost) imagine that. Zucchini bread? Hmm, my first reaction is like the one I had for that first carrot cake. 🙂

  4. JoAnn says:

    So interesting! I love carrot cake and have a favorite recipe I’ve used for years (maybe another weekend cooking post)… very definitely no hint of carrot taste.

  5. Marg says:

    I do love carrot cake, but I always wonder about things like chocolate beetroot cake and zucchini cake!

  6. lizzysiddal says:

    I love carrot cake and you’re right wortelstaart has a ring about it but not an appetising one.

    Did you try potato scones when you were in the UK?

    I’m going to experiment with courgettes in my baking next – I have a magnificient looking recipe for courgette, cinnamon and walnut cake that’s simply calling out to me.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Lizzy, I made my own potato scones just recently and I do like them, yes. Courgette, aka zucchini, in a cake does sound strange to me, although really, it’s no stranger than carrots, I guess.

  7. When I was a little child, it took me a long time to try carot cake. I thought my mom was just being clever and trying to get me to eat my veggies. But, once I had, I was in love with it. of course a nice slathrering of cream cheese frosting never hurts!

  8. Marieke says:

    I have eaten carrot cake just a few years ago and I totally fell in love from te first time. I make them myself on parties ever since. But it actually is strange that they don’t call it a ‘worteltaart’. And I have to admit I don’t think I would have eaten it, if it was called that way, even though I know well enough what a carrot is.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Marieke, I think hearing things in a different language always sounds different from your own. So even if you know that carrot mean wortel, it’s just not the same, and somehow more acceptable. Worteltaart is for rabbits, don’t you think?

  9. Miel et Lait says:

    Carrot cake is so normal to me, an American! I also love Zucchini bread – oh my, it tastes a-m-a-z-i-n-g!

  10. Cindy says:

    Chocolate beetroot cake is the best, you have to try it!

  11. Nan says:

    Carrot cake is pretty popular over here in the US. Most people I know have their own recipe, and you can find it in many restaurants. My favorite recipe is here:

    http://lettersfromahillfarm.blogspot.com/2008/11/carrot-
    and-pineapple-cake.html

  12. Louise says:

    That carrot cake looked delish Judith!! I love carrot cake, i like to make my own but with orange in it,and a really nice frosting to finish 🙂

  13. Rikki says:

    “Worteltaart” sounds like a very cute word to me. I would accept worteltaart at once if offered. But I love carrot cake anyway. I agree, veggies in cake sounds odd, but it can be so yummy. I once came across a recipe in a US magazine (it was actually about scrapbooking) for a zucchini bread, and it is super yummy, you would never guess there was zucchini in it.
    Actually that might be a nice recipe for a weekend cooking post, 🙂

  14. Pingback: Rikki's Teleidoscope » Weekend Cooking: Zucchini Bread

  15. Beth F says:

    We love carrot cate and zucchini cake. Yes, it does sound odd to have vegetables in your cake — but yummy!

  16. Pingback: Keukenprins van Ronald Giphart « De Boekblogger

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