The classic Carrot Cake is a wonderful thing. I have been known to consume far too much of it on occasion. My classic Carrot Cake of choice is of course, my Mom’s (which you can find the recipe for here.)
All that said though, I love when a classic gets an update and that’s exactly what Fine Cooking magazine has done with this updated take on carrot cake. It’s a beautiful thing (photo below recipe) and would be a great recipe for a special occasion. I can’t wait to try it and if it’s as good as it looks, I suspect it will become a classic as well.
Photo of the finished product from Fine Cooking/ © Scott Phillips
Spiced Carrot Cakes with Candied Carrots
For the cakes:
2 cups carrot juice
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened (plus more for the molds)
6-3/4 oz. (1-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour (plus more for the molds)
1-1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground star anise
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. table salt
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup chopped unsalted pistachios (for garnish)
For the candied carrots:
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into long julienne strands to yield 1 cup
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise
Combine the carrot juice and ginger in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil until the liquid is reduced to 3/4 cup, about 25 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
Position a rack in the centre of the oven and heat the oven to 325° F.. Butter and flour 8 baba au rhum molds (2-1/4 to 2-1/2 inches tall), (See them at cooking.com (USA) or Golda’s Kitchen (Canada) Set aside on a large rimmed baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, allspice, cinnamon, star anise, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. On medium-low speed, add one of the eggs, mix until mostly blended, and then add the second egg. On low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and the carrot reduction in two additions each. Mix each addition until just combined.
Spoon the batter into the prepared molds, filling each a little more than half full. Swirl the batter with a skewer to smooth the tops. Bake the cakes until a cake tester inserted into the centers comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool the cakes on a rack for 10 minutes and then carefully invert to remove from the molds. Cool the cakes upright on the rack. The cakes may be served warm or at room temperature.
Make the candied carrots:
Bring the sugar and 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the carrots, cinnamon stick, and star anise. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer; simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are translucent, soft, and slightly sticky to the touch, about 30 minutes. Discard the cinnamon and star anise. Remove the carrots with a slotted spoon and set aside. Reserve the syrup.
To serve, dip each cake in the syrup for about 3 seconds, put it on a dessert plate, and drizzle with about 1 tsp. syrup. Garnish with the candied carrots and pistachios.
You can make the cakes up to 1 day ahead and the candied carrots up to 2 hours ahead.
Adapted from a Fine Cooking recipe