Serves: 4-6

What’s better than a carrot? CAKE What’s better than a carrot cake? BIGGER CARROT CAKE!! Yep, we’ve made a giant carrot cake in the shape of a carrot because… Well, why not?! 


Ingredients

For the carrot cake

  • Scant ½ cup (3 oz./80 g) superfine sugar
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) brown sugar
  • Generous ¾ cup (3½ oz./100 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • Scant 1 tsp salt
  • Heaping 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • Scant 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg (3½ tbsp/55 g)
  • ⅓ cup (90 ml) grape-seed oil
  • 5½ oz. (150 g) grated carrots

For the carrot decoration

  • 1 bunch small spring carrots with fronds
  • 1 bunch cilantro

For the carrot glaze

  • 1⅓ cups (300 ml) carrot juice
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) water
  • 1½ tsp (6 g) pectin NH (available from specialized food stores or on internet)
  • 1 tbsp (12 g) superfine sugar

For the cheese cream

  • Scant ½ cup (3½ oz./100 g) cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp (50 ml) whipping cream

Directions

For the carrot cake

1Preheat the oven to 340°F (170°C/Gas Mark 3).

2Combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, and spices in a mixing bowl.

3Whisk in the egg, then the oil. When the batter is smooth, stir in the grated carrots.

4Transfer the batter to the cake pan. Bake for 10–15 minutes, or until the tip of a knife pushed into the center comes out clean.

5Turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool. Once it has cooled, chop it into very small pieces to resemble soil. This will be used as a “bed” for the carrot.

For the carrot decoration

1Peel the carrots and cut off their fronds. Use a skewer to make small holes about ½ in. (1 cm) deep in each carrot where the fronds were. Sprigs of cilantro will be “planted” into these holes later.

2Steam the carrots for about 10 minutes, checking them toward the end of the cooking time, as they should remain crisp. Set aside.

For the carrot glaze

1Heat the carrot juice and water together in a saucepan on medium heat, until the temperature reaches 140°F (60°C). Mix the sugar and pectin together, then add to the hot juice and water.

2Increase the heat, bring to a boil, and boil for 2 minutes. Let cool, cover, and chill until needed.

3Before using the glaze, reheat it gently in the microwave until melted, watching it carefully as it must not boil. The glaze needs to be used melted but cold.

4Transfer the cooled, steamed carrots to a wire rack set over a sheet of parchment paper to catch any drips.

5Spoon a generous amount of glaze over each carrot. Repeat with more glaze, if necessary, until they are all well coated. Place the glazed carrots on a lightly oiled plate and chill until needed.

For the cheese cream

1Place the cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Beat in the whipping cream a little at a time to soften it.

To assemble

1Spoon a little of the cheese cream onto flat individual serving plates. Top with 2 tablespoons of the carrot cake “soil” and carefully shape it into small mounds. Push cilantro sprigs into the small hole made in the top of each carrot to resemble carrot fronds.

2Divide the carrots between the serving plates, placing them on top of the mounds of “soil.”

3For a more spectacular presentation, you can also assemble the carrots on a large serving platter.

4Spoon the cheese cream over the platter, top with the carrot cake “soil,” and arrange the glazed carrots on top.

Extracted from The Chef in a Truck: The Fabulous Culinary Odyssey of a French Pastry Chef in California by François Perret and Éric Nebot (Flammarion, 2021).

Photography © Bernhard Winkelmann.

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