It’s difficult to get your children to eat their fruits and vegetables. Some parents even need to drench them in cheese or other sauces to sneak them into their kids’ diets.
Because of that, bakers came up with creative solutions. They can mix the nutritional ingredients into the batter of cakes.
That’s how banana bread and carrot cake came about.
These treats are two of the most popular desserts in the world. They’re both moist, tender, and scrumptious.
Although there are quite a few differences between the two. So, if you’re debating which is better, carrot cake or banana bread, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll discuss what makes each dessert special. We’ll also walk you through all the differences and similarities between the two treats.
Many people don’t know that carrot cake has been around for hundreds of years. In fact, there are some records of the dessert that date as far back as the 1500s.
Although, the treat didn’t become popular until the late 20th century. At the time, people were hyper-focused on finding healthy alternatives for rich desserts.
So, they dug up the recipe for carrot cake.
Yet, this doesn’t mean that eating a lot of the dessert is good for you. That’s because it’s still highly caloric.
Instead, this only means that a carrot cake slice has more vitamins than a regular cake.
The confection is moist with a fine crumb. Plus, you get to enjoy the subtle flavor of carrots.
They’re sweet with earthy undertones. This balances out the rest of the ingredients in the recipe.
Here’s what you’ll need to make a traditional carrot cake
- 3 cups of grated carrots
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups of granulated sugar
- 2 cups of flour
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons of baking soda
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
- 1 ¼ cups of vegetable oil
- Pinch of salt
To make a carrot cake, you start by combining the oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl. Then, add in the flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda.
Make sure to completely mix in the dry ingredients before you move on to the next step. Keep whisking until you can no longer see any flour on the sides of the bowl.
This should take about a minute or two.
After that, stir in the carrots and any other additions you may like. That includes nuts or even raisins.
Once that’s done, your cake is ready for the oven.
Contrary to the name, this dessert is more of a cake than it is bread. That’s because there’s no yeast, which means you don’t need to let the batter ferment.
Because of that, you can prepare this delicious treat in a flash.
Many people believe that banana bread originated during the Great Depression. It was due to home cooks not wanting to throw out overripe fruit.
So, they added them to desserts instead. The extra sweetness of the overripe bananas made for the perfect addition to any cake.
Plus, they add a lot of moisture to the batter. On top of that, the fruit contains many key nutrients and minerals that are good for you.
That includes potassium and vitamin B6. This makes it a healthy alternative for desserts like chocolate cake.
Here’s what you’ll need to bake traditional banana bread.
- 3 overripe bananas
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 ½ cups of granulated sugar
- ½ cup of butter
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- Pinch of salt
To make banana bread, start by mashing your bananas in a large bowl. You can use a fork, but you’ll need a lot of elbow grease.
To make your life easier, it’s a good idea to use a potato masher. It’s important to note that the more you puree the fruit, the better your cake will turn out.
Next, cream your butter and sugar until you have a smooth mixture. Then, add the eggs to your batter, one at a time.
Be sure to mix well before you add the next egg. After that, sprinkle the flour, baking soda, and salt gradually on top.
Once you have a homogenous mixture, you’re ready to bake.
Now that you have some background information on both desserts, we can compare them. In this section, we’ll dive into the differences and similarities between the two treats.
After reading our ingredient list, you’ll notice quite a few details. For starters, carrot cake has a few additional components.
For instance, it includes baking powder. That’s on account of carrots having a lower water content than bananas.
Because of that, the vegetable needs an extra leavening agent to help the cake rise.
Besides that, banana bread uses butter as the main source of fat instead of oil. This is due to the runny nature of banana bread batter.
It needs a solid fat source to ensure the cake doesn’t fall apart as soon as you remove it from the oven.
When it comes to baking, carrot cake and banana bread aren’t all that different.
You need to preheat the oven to about 350℉ for the cake, while the bread needs 375℉. On top of that, they both need similar baking times.
Usually, it’ll take anywhere from 45 to 50 minutes to bake both desserts, depending on your oven.
3 – Texture
The texture of a dessert is just as important as the flavor. Thankfully, both carrot cake and banana bread have an amazing mouth feel.
They’re moist and crumbly in the most delicious way possible.
Yet, banana bread is slightly denser. That’s because of the high water content of the fruit.
This means that carrot cakes tend to be fluffier.
If you look at the recipes, you’ll notice that carrot cakes require an extra half cup of sugar. This isn’t a major difference, but it’ll affect the overall taste.
Although to accurately measure the sugar content, you’ll need to take a look at the other ingredients too.
On average, a ripe banana will have about 12 grams of sugar. That’s much more than the five grams you’ll find in carrots.
That’s why carrot cakes need other sweeteners in the recipe. Yet, even with the additional half a cup of sugar, banana bread will be a tad sweeter.
You’ll notice that in the crumb of the dessert. Banana bread usually has a darker crust that covers the entire treat.
This is due to the sugar browning as it bakes.
Both bananas and carrots are high in potassium and dietary fiber. Yet, that’s where the similarities end.
When it comes to vitamins, carrots are a much greater source of vitamin A. As for bananas, they have a much higher concentration of vitamin B6.
Moving on, bananas have a lot more carbohydrates and sugars than carrots. Because of that, the former has a higher caloric density.
Although, you have to remember that baking will affect all of these numbers. Once you heat up your dessert, carrots and bananas will lose a lot of their nutritional value.
So, carrot cake and banana bread are on equal footing, nutrition-wise.
A traditional carrot cake is normally topped with cream cheese frosting. This adds another dimension of richness to the dessert.
While that sounds amazing, it means you’ll have to make an additional component for the dish. On top of that, it increases the sugar content of the treat.
As for banana bread, we serve it on its own. That means as soon as the dessert cools down, you’re ready to dig in.
If you know your way around a kitchen, then you can prepare a banana cake in about 15 minutes. That’s not including the baking time.
Yet, with carrot cake, the process is a little more involved. You’ll need to spend some time shredding the carrots and then combining all the ingredients.
For that reason, it may take you more than 30 minutes to prepare the dessert.
So, if you’re in a time crunch, banana bread is the way to go.
There are quite a few differences between carrot cake and banana bread. For instance, the former has more ingredients in the recipe to ensure that it puffs up in the oven.
Other than that, banana bread tends to be a little denser in texture. Moving on, we traditionally use cream cheese frosting for carrot cakes.
Finally, there are also a couple of similarities. That includes the nutritional value and baking methods.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.