I think most carrot cakes are rather like quickbreads, but sweeter. At room temperature, oil is liquid, so the cake stays softer at room temperature than say a cake made with butter. I think butter cakes (while luscious in taste) are dryer and with a finer crumb than carrot cakes, so maybe oil is prefered because it helps the cake to have a moister mouthfeel. But I really don't know why.
method and proceedure. Most of the recipes I use have a type of mayonaise method. Adding eggs slowly to sugar and oil mixture to gain volume and emulsification, just like mayo. Your fat needs to be liquid for this. :chef:
Shirley Corriher also notes that shortening has an ideal texture for volume and aeration...but butter tastes better in cakes with a soild fat. She says that the fat in the cake is what causes the bubbles that aid in leavening.
Thanks to all of you for your answers.
I was thinking that the oil had something to do with the carrot specifically, b/c I had not sen any other recipes that used oil, now I think i get it that the oil would be a good shortening for anything heavy that could deflate the creamed butter base. thanks, pol
I think I read somewhere that carrot cake was one of the cakes developed during the Depression era and also during WWII, (in old cookbooks you'll see 'Victory Cakes'), when supplies like butter and eggs were in short supply. Crafty bakers came up with using oil as a substitute and voila! a tradition was born. I have a recipe for a vegan chocolate cake that came from WWII, that uses no eggs, or dairy and it's pretty darn good!