The Real Reason Carrot Cake Was So Popular In The '70s

The 1970s are known for a lot of impacts on culture — captivating music, inspiring fashion, and astonishing movies. However, you might not realize that the decade is also responsible for bringing attention to a frequently overlooked hero: the sweet, filling, and always humble carrot cake. According to Taste of Home, a typical carrot cake recipe uses grated carrots along with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg as key ingredients. The frosting adds an impressive amount of flavor, as it is packed with cream cheese, walnuts, and vanilla extract.

The dish is a fairly straightforward treat to create and requires the simple mixing of ingredients and baking. It is also undoubtedly tasty, and one recipe from BBC Good Food will stay fresh for up to five days. In addition to these positives, carrot cake rose to wild popularity in the '70s for another surprising reason. Insider reports that the dessert gained attention because it was considered to be relatively healthy since it was made with carrots – but is it really?

Carrots are nutritious, but sugary frosting is not

If the '70s diet plan that centered around eating cookies is any indication, sweet treats were not excluded from health food fads during the era (via Healthline). According to Delish, carrot cake became a favorite because the carrots, raisins, and nuts used in the recipe were thought to make the dessert healthier than other options. Its popularity during the decade has even led Food Network to list it as one of the top five fads of the 1970s (via Naples Daily News). 

We see how the theory came to be, as some of the ingredients are nutritious on their own. BBC Good Food explains that carrots are a helpful source of fiber and can boost the immune system. However, EatingWell notes that a single slice of traditional carrot cake could be layered with sugar-filled icing and contain up to 650 calories, and suggests replacing the frosting, using fruit as a sweetener instead of sugar, or switching the white flour out for whole-wheat flour if you want a more health-conscious alternative.