This Is Why You Add Pineapple to Carrot Cake
Carrot cakes are too often just a dry, drab slab of a very orange vegetable, disguised as dessert. No one wants that.
The solution: Pineapple
Yes, pineapple. When I first saw this in recipes and reviews, I assumed it was just another version of substituting applesauce for oil in muffins — one of those "let's be healthy" things that just happen to work.
But after looking into it a bit, there's a whole lot more going on. See, it's not a substitution thing. You add the pineapple to the recipe.
What does pineapple do?
What baking secrets are harbored within a simple pineapple? Food science has a few ideas:
- It's a tenderizer. Pineapple is a fruit that actually tenderizes. Enzymes found in pineapple (and kiwis and papayas, too) actually break down proteins, which in the case of carrot cake, results in a more moist cake.
- Sugar. Yes, it's a cake. With carrots. Carrots are sweet, but not cake-sweet. The extra sugar from pineapple (especially the canned pineapple normally called for) just adds that extra sweetness you want in a dessert.
- Less oil. I know, I said this wasn't the main reason to use pineapple. But it's still kinda true. Replacing a little bit of the oil with the (usually crushed) pineapple does make it a skosh healthier. Or at least that's what I tell myself as I make the cream cheese frosting.
Check out our collection of Carrot Cake Recipes.