By Jacqueline Runice

According to the Carrot Museum (yes, there is such a virtual place that elevates the pedestrian root veg to its proper place in art and nutrition), George Washington was served a carrot tea cake at a tavern in lower Manhattan in 1783. The cream cheese frosting was a groovy 1960’s addition that continues crowning the moist spicy confection to this day. Read about some of the best renditions in Chicago and you’ll soon get a taste for the satisfying cake that routinely sports ingredients like walnuts, cinnamon, pineapple, raisins and even topped with a marzipan carrot.

(Photo: Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House on Facebook)

Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House
1024 North Rush St.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 640-0999

Celebrating 20 years in Chicago, Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House now qualifies as a Windy City institution. While tourists and locals adore the fresh seafood flown in daily, the popular Gold Coast restaurant is also renowned for colossal desserts, including the towering made-from-scratch carrot cake. If you’re going to get one steak house sized slice of the American classic this year, let it be here where your hunk is carved from a 25-pound cake. It’s three thick layers of moist carrot cake stacked between cream cheese icing and coated with freshly chopped nuts. Just one slice can serve up to six.

259 E. Erie St.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 337-0101

GreenRiver has a special carrot cake created by Executive Pastry Chef Ji Hyun Yoon. This confection is rendered extra flavorful with roasted pineapple and candied pecans and it is sided with cream cheese ice cream. Ji says “The carrot cake dessert is a collaborated idea between me and my newly hired assistant. The playful plating is how I feel about Barbara’s personality—vibrant and cheerful—which is how our carrot cake looks and tastes.” If a chef describes her creation as cheerful, it’s bound to make you smile, too.

Delightful Pastries
5927 W. Lawrence Ave.
Chicago, IL 60630
(773) 545-7215

Pastry chef/owner of Delightful Pastries, Dobra Bielinski, says, “Our carrot cake rocks. It is filled with delicious goodness: freshly grated carrots, raisins, nuts and crushed pineapple. We make our cream cheese frosting from scratch and slather it on top of the dense cake. We do not skimp on any the items that make carrot cake so great.” Get it by the loaf at the northwest side shop or grab a slice at the outpost at Chicago French Market in Ogilvie Transportation Center.

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Bar Siena
832 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 492-7775

The West Loop’s casual Bar Siena, helmed by fan favorite of Top Chef Fabio Viviani, offers a distinctive dessert menu from its sister BomboBar.  You won’t get the typical mile-high layers of dense carrot cake at the eatery but rather an Italian confection called Carrot Cake Gelato. The aptly-spiced dessert uses cinnamon and Bar Siena’s secret ingredient, RumChata, providing a creamy base similar to the cake’s frosting. Nuggets of carrot cake are mixed into the cold dessert ensuring aficionados have their cake and eat it, too.

210 Restaurant & Live Music Lounge
210 Green Bay Road
Highwood, IL
(847) 433-0304

The North Shore property was built as a bowling alley in 1949 and today those high ceilings make for great acoustics when musicians entertain at 210 Restaurant & Live Music Lounge. The supper club offers live music five nights a week and memorable chef-driven dining. After nibbling Korean chicken wings, Hawaiian tuna poke, pit-smoked and dry-rubbed baby back ribs, an oyster po’boy or chicken fried steak with mashed spuds and country gravy, save room for one of 210 Restaurant’s spectacular desserts like carrot cake made with Frillman farms winter carrots, caramelized pineapple, cream cheese mousse and cinnamon pecans.

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