November 22 2010

Frog Commissary Carrot Cake Turns 35, Joins GPTMC’s “With Love” Campaign

Announcement coincides with the launch of Franklin Foodworks at The Franklin Institute

PHILADELPHIA (Nov. 22, 2010) 276, 864. That’s the number of cups of grated carrots that Frog Commissary estimates have gone into more than 44,000 of its signature carrot cakes over the last 35 years.

To celebrate the cake’s 35th anniversary, Frog Commissary today announced a partnership with the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) to offer a limited edition “With Love” Carrot Cupcake. The unveiling took place in the newly-remodeled Franklin Foodworks at The Franklin Institute (TFI), 222 N. 20th Street.

The oversized cupcakes – moist, spicy carrot cake stuffed with a mixture of caramel, raisin and pecans – will be available through Memorial Day 2011 at The Franklin Institute (TFI), Pennsylvania’s most-visited museum. Frog’s traditional carrot cake features Philadelphia cream cheese frosting and is adorned with a hand-drawn carrot. The special version features GPTMC’s iconic black-and-red “With Love” logo on top.

“Steve Poses’ restaurants, Frog and The Commissary, set the standard in Philadelphia for ambitious and innovative food. More than three decades later, you see their influence on menus, in service, even décor.” said Christina Sterner, president and CEO of Frog Commissary. “The carrot cake was first served at Frog, but it really found a following at The Commissary. It quickly became one of the restaurant’s signature desserts. It was the first time many people tasted carrot cake, and today, it remains simply the best.”

“Just in time for the holidays, the ‘With Love’ Carrot Cupcake is a wonderful addition to our city’s iconic ‘With Love, Philadelphia XOXO’ tourism marketing campaign,” said Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of GPTMC. “The campaign keeps getting more exciting as we make it an experience that people can not only see, but also touch and taste.”

The “With Love” Carrot Cupcake is the latest in a string of custom foods created as part of GPTMC&’s iconic “With Love” tourism marketing campaign; other products in the past have included an artisanal gelato and local microbrew.

The Frog Commissary Carrot Cake
Frog Commissary was founded by chef and restaurateur Steve Poses, who is considered the forefather of the modern restaurant scene in Philadelphia. His Center City restaurants Frög and The Commissary were revolutionary when they opened in 1973 and 1977, and eventually evolved into Frog Commissary Catering.

The Frog Commissary Carrot Cake was first served 35 years ago. Since then, it has become a Philadelphia legend. It has been served at thousands of events – for presidents, vice-presidents, governors, and visiting dignitaries. It was also the “must have” wedding cake in the mid-1980s.

The recipe, according to Frog’s then head baker, Anne Clark, is a combination of several other recipes that had been floating around in the early-1970s. “The idea of putting carrot into a cake was just becoming popular – novel,” she said.

“Up until then, everyone was doing apple cakes. I cobbled our carrot cake recipe together through a lot of trial-and-error, and made tweaks based on what Steve and I liked to eat,” Clark explained. “At that time, everyone put pineapple in their carrot cake, but we weren’t too fond of that. It seemed too common. And the caramel filling has been described as being similar to that of a German Chocolate Cake, which is one of Steve’s favorite desserts.”

Despite all of the restaurant’s accolades most foodie Philadelphians instantly equate Frog Commissary with carrot cake. Clark says there is no trade secret. After all, she and Poses included the recipe in the cookbook they wrote together in 1985. “It’s just extremely time-intensive. Give yourself the better part of a day if you’re making one,” she added, acknowledging all of the steps and ingredients needed to produce a cake that weighs on average seven pounds.

At the height of the carrot cake craze, Frog was making them in batches of 14 at least every other day. Over the last 35 years, they’ve made approximately 44,216. That breaks down to approximately 88,432 teaspoons of cinnamon, 99,486 cups of flour, and 353,728 ounces of Philadelphia cream cheese (or 22,108 pounds).

Evolving Relationship with TFI
Frog Commissary took over daily food service operations at TFI earlier this year, building on a decades-long relationship as the museum’s exclusive event caterer. “Over the last few months, the company upgraded food and service adding items like the signature carrot cake and daily specials and renovated TFI’s 2 restaurants. Those are now rebranded as: Franklin Foodworks, the large cafeteria-style eatery with soaring ceilings; and Franklin Foodworks Express, a quick-serve kiosk in the museum’s atrium. Renovations lasted two months and included new foodservice counters, new tabletops and signage, a facelift from top to bottom, all with a goal of improving service for guests,” Sterner said.

Bela Durst, chef of Franklin Foodworks, and Michael Leslie, General Manager, have presented new menus comprised of high-quality, quickly-served meals for Franklin Foodworks. They kept the basics (pizza, burgers, soups, salads and sandwiches), but also worked with the catering kitchen to feature interesting daily specials, such as crab cakes with roasted tomato cocktail sauce and dilled green bean and carrot salad; chicken enchiladas with green rice; and barbecue bacon-crusted meatloaf with roasted potatoes and mixed vegetables

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“Because Frog Commissary is also the caterer for all the special events hosted at the museum, we are able to offer very interesting daily specials. In addition, we have dedicated a top-flight chef, Bela Durst, to Franklin Foodworks who is passionate about quality whether it’s burgers and fries or our more sophisticated offerings. It makes us a cut above the usual museum fare,” explained Sterner.

Franklin Foodworks is open Monday through Friday, 10am-3pm; and Saturday and Sunday, 11am-4pm. Franklin Foodworks Express is open Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm; Saturday and Sunday, 9am-5:30pm; and later for evening events and IMAX presentations. TFI members receive a 10 percent discount on all food at the museum. Both restaurants are open to the general public and do not require museum admission.

Founded by Steve Poses, Frog Commissary has been the exclusive caterer at The Franklin Institute since the 1980s. Having catered more than 15,000 events, it’s one of the most enduring relationships between a food service provider and institution in Philadelphia and among the top in the country. In 2010, Frog Commissary expanded its relationship with TFI, assuming all retail food operations. The company renovated the cafeteria-style eatery, reopening it as Franklin Foodworks in November with a new menu, and the Atrium café, now named Franklin Foodworks Express. Frog Commissary also operated two pop-up restaurants over the summer, Frog Burger and Cleo’s Portico. To learn more, visit

Founded in honor of America’s first scientist, Benjamin Franklin, The Franklin Institute is one of America’s oldest and premier centers of science education and development in the country. Today, the Institute continues its dedication to public education and creating a passion for science by offering new and exciting access to science and technology in ways that would dazzle and delight its namesake. For more information and special offers, please visit

Developed in direct response to the great recession, the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation debuted “With Love” in May 2009. The campaign is credited with helping Philadelphia set a new leisure record: Center City leisure room nights rose 3 percent, from 714,000 in 2008 to 735,000 in 2009 (Source: PKF Consulting). Over the last 13 years, leisure hotel room nights in Center City have increased dramatically by 189 percent. To learn more about visiting Philadelphia, go to

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Media Contact:
Matthew Vlahos/MVPR

Notes to Editors:

  • Hi-res images of the cupcakes and Franklin Foodworks, as well as logos, are available for download and publication at
  • A list of daily specials for Franklin Foodworks is available on the Frog Commissary website, http://