When it comes to certain foods (baked goods, usually), I can be pretty recipe-agnostic. I will try every version under the sun, Frankenstein-ing bits and parts from different recipes in a Goldilocks-like quest to find one that is “just right.”
If that scenario sounds familiar to you, your search for a superlative carrot cake can start and end right here.
Originating from the famed Rose Bakery in Paris, this simple version remains a bestselling item in each of its locations across Paris, London, New York, Tokyo, Seoul, and Hong Kong, often selling out before closing time. Theirs is a diminutive thing, one resembling more minimalist cupcake than loaf. There are no raisins, no crushed pineapple, no coconut flakes. Just pure carrot flavor coming through with a modest layer of cream cheese (obviously!) frosting. No fancy whirls or swirls, here.
Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the beloved Anglo-French bakery’s hit cookbook, Breakfast, Lunch, Tea: The Many Little Meals of Rose Bakery ($21; amazon.com), with this refreshingly honest recipe that you’ll definitely want to bookmark. You likely already have all of the ingredients waiting patiently in your pantry, how perfect. And if you’re lucky enough to live in a city with a Rose Bakery outpost, get to one immediately to take in all of the irresistibly delicious and wholesome offerings (the quiche deserves its own post!).
This has to be a number one best-seller and probably got Rose Bakery noticed and talked about when we first opened.
Unsalted butter, for greasing
225 g (generous 1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
300 ml (11/2 cups) sunflower oil
4-5 medium carrots, finely grated
300 g (2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 rounded teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/2 teaspoon salt
150 g (1 1/2 cups) finely chopped walnuts
For the icing
125 g (generous 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
250 g (generous 1 cup) cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
50-75 g (1/2 - 3/4 cup) icing (confectioner’s) sugar, depending on how sweet you like your icing.
1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas Mark 4.
2. Butter a 23 cm (9 inch) cake tin and line its base with parchment paper.
3. Beat the eggs and caster sugar until they are light and fluffy but not too white and meringue-like.
4. Pour in the oil and beat for a few more minutes.
5. Fold the carrots and then the flour with the cinnamon, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Finally fold in the walnuts.
6. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
7. Remove from the oven and cool the cake in the tin before taking it out.
8. To make the icing, beat the butter with the cream cheese for a few minutes till the mixture is smooth.
9. Add the vanilla extract and icing sugar.
10. When the cake is cold, ice the top with the icing – it can be as smooth or rough as you like.