How do you reimagine a classic like carrot cake? Popularized in the 1960s and 1970s, the cake builds on the sweetness and color of this root vegetable, combined with the richness of cream cheese icing. Here are five new ways to look at carrot cake.
1. Explore “bigger is better”: At Ocean Prime, the Cameron Mitchell seafood/steak/cocktail concept with 11 locations around the U.S., luxurious dessert offerings include a 10-Layer Carrot Cake, with pineapple syrup.
2. Build layers of flavors: One of pastry chef Vanarin Kuch’s most popular dessert items on the menu at The Gander, NYC, is housemade Carrot Cake Ice Cream. The dessert builds on the classic, and is served with carrot pudding and Southern-style carrot cake.
3. Celebrate carrot’s versatility: At the vegetable-centric Dirt Candy in NYC, chef Amanda Cohen’s sweet and savory dessert, Carrot Meringue Pie, is a spin on the flavors found in traditional carrot cake. Her dessert starts with custard in a bed of graham cracker crust, and comes with browned meringue on top. The pie is served with a side of sour cream ice cream, garnished with candied carrot chips.
4. Look for compatible additions: At Ford Fry’s King + Duke in Atlanta, pastry chef Chrysta Poulos’ version of carrot cake is made with malted cream cheese frosting and walnut streusel, served with a cider-raisin sauce.
5. Draw on regional inspirations: At chef/owner Hugh Acheson’s 5 & 10 in Athens, GA, pastry chef Mike Sutton offers a Southern twist on the classic. The Carrot & Coconut Cake comes with traditional cream cheese icing, and is served with bourbon-poached prunes.