My first carrot cake experience was back in Melbourne many, many years ago. It was dry, tasteless and uninspiring and left me thinking why anyone would ever make cake with a vegetable. Fast forward a decade and my carrot cake obsession was ignited by a double layered carrot cake purchased from Wholefoods. It was purchased for a friend’s birthday and I’m not lying when I say the entire thing was eaten in one sitting (oh, and it was the large sized cake – of course). We all had a first piece, then a second, and then it was just a case of ‘neatening up the edges’ as we shaved slithers off all sides of the cake. All of a sudden it was gone. Magic. Three girls, one cake, guilty faces.
Since then, my friend, Zoe and I have been on a carrot cake quest sampling cakes in cafes, bakeries and restaurants wherever we can. Relentless research awards equal first place to: Wholefoods (I’ve sampled it many times since that birthday) and the famous Hummingbird Bakery (the cake, not the cupcakes). Both cakes exhibit the essential feature of a double layer with a smattering of cream cheese icing between. Critical in keeping the cake moist. Having a high spice and nut factor is equally important. A cake without cloves, nutmeg and walnuts is a cake not worth eating.
Last week, Wendy and I decided to do a combination of recipes to create the ultimate carrot cake for my lucky brother’s birthday. (Oooh, the possible disaster of combining!!!) We adapted David Lebovitz’s carrot cake recipe and combined it with Jamie Oliver’s lime mascarpone icing. Contrary to the possible disaster, the nutmeg and clove flavours of the cake bonded well with the tangy lime mascarpone icing, topped with walnuts to finish off.
All of us had one slice each. ONE. That’s a far cry from my Wholefoods-entire-cake-between-three-girls experience a few years ago. And the best bit was, the cake tasted even better the next day, as the nutmeg and clove flavours developed in the fridge overnight.
You can find David Lebovitz’s carrot cake recipe here and for Jamie Oliver’s, here. Let us know what you think, if you dare try out this combination! In hindsight, I possibly might add some nuts into the carrot cake recipe.