The One Secret Ingredient Your Carrot Cake Needs
When it comes to making a super moist cake, there are a lot of tricks of the trade. Some will try specific combinations of eggs or egg whites, others will even mix in mayonnaise. But there's a particular one-of-a-kind secret ingredient in carrot cake that most other cakes don't usually call for. For a perfectly moist carrot cake, there's actually a fruit you need to add to the batter: Pineapple!
For even more clever cooking tips, check out our list of 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.
Pineapple contains an enzyme that tenderizes.
Did you know that pineapple has an enzyme that helps to tenderize things? The enzyme is called bromelain, which has two different kinds of proteases enzymes—stem bromelain and fruit bromelain—that are protein-digesting. Bromelain is present in the entire fruit but is most commonly commercially sourced from the pineapple's stem. Bromelain is extracted from the peel, stem, leaves, or waste of the pineapple plant, then processed into juice or used for other purposes.
While it can also be used for medical purposes, one of the most common purposes of bromelain is to use it for meat tenderizing. Bromelain can actually be sold in a powder form, which is easy to add to marinades and makes meat super tender.
This is also why you may see pineapple as one of the ingredients in prepared meat products at the store, making the meat even more tender. And, of course, even more flavorful.
So why don't all cakes have pineapple?
Think about it. Would a chocolate cake with pineapple taste good to you? Maybe a lemon cake, perhaps. But because pineapple has such a strong flavor, it doesn't exactly work with every type of cake out there.
However, the combination of pineapple and carrots do pair together swimmingly. Which is why you will commonly see pineapple in a carrot cake. We even use it in our carrot cake and carrot cupcake recipes!
Not only that, but pineapple also helps to sweeten the cake. Instead of loading the cake with sugar, pineapple brings a natural sweetness that allows the baker to decrease the amount of sugar (and even some of the oil) that is being used in the cake. So yes, using pineapple can even make your carrot cake healthier.
So the next time you decide to whip up a carrot cake to celebrate the fall—or really any season—be sure to add pineapple to your cake. You'll find yourself with a deliciously moist slice of cake that you won't be able to resist. And if you plan on using fresh pineapple, here's How to Cut a Pineapple Into Perfect Rings and Chunks.