Friday, March 18, 2011

Carrot Cake in Iceland

Photo by Sigurjon Ragnar
So during my judging experience for Food and Fun in Iceland, our favorite dessert was the deconstructed carrot cake. The first time I tasted Chef Even Ramsvik's (Oslo, Norway's Ylajali) version at Seafood Cellar, I thought it was a very creative idea. He made his version with sea buckthorns and carrots, cream cheese with pistachios, a lemon thyme meringue and sea buckthorn jelly paired with a Glen Carlou Welder Chenin Blanc. My other judge-mate, Chef Marcus Jernmark from Aquavit, disagreed with me and said, the dish had been done thousands of times and was in Thomas Keller's cookbook. We liked Chef Even's food so much that we picked him as the finalist out of our 5 different restaurant experiences.

At the finals, I realized he was right when we had to judge 2 out of the 3 desserts of deconstructed carrot cake. Even's was the best in Iceland, but for me, his still doesn't beat my Aunt Linda's Award Winning Carrot Cake. I'm going to try to play around with the original recipe to see if I can make my own version of the deconstructed cake to wow my friends in DC. This will be perfect for a spring soiree.

Original recipe as seen on My Favorite Family Recipes Episode by Linda Roth



2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda

1 ¼ teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon ginger (ground)

¾ teaspoon nutmeg (ground)

½ teaspoon cloves (ground)

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 3 eight-inch cake pans with shortening and flour. Sift these dry ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside.


4 large eggs (room temperature)

1 cup sugar

1 ¼ cups brown sugar

1 ½ cups vegetable or canola oil

¼ cup heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon vanilla

Then in a separate bowl or stand mixer beat together the wet ingredients. Start with the eggs and beat for about a minute until frothy and then gradually add sugar and beat until the batter is thick and light colored (about 3-4 minutes). Add brown sugar and heavy whipping cream. Then add the oil in a steady stream and then beat in the vanilla extract. Slowly mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients.

Other Ingredients:

3 cups shredded carrots, peeled and finely grated

1 cup pecans, chopped

Once the dry and wet ingredients are fully incorporated together, mix shredded carrots and chopped pecans into the batter with a large rubber spatula. Pour batter into pans in equal portions. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Cream Cheese Icing:

24 ounces of cream cheese, softened

1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter, softened

3 teaspoons orange juice or orange juice concentrate

1 ½ tablespoons vanilla

3 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon orange zest

1-2 cups pecans, chopped (optional)

Cream together all ingredients. It is helpful to place parchment paper under the first layer while icing it to keep the platter clean. Ice each layer and put chopped pecans along the edges of the outside of the cake. Add the chopped pecans to the sides of the cake. Refrigerate. Wait until the cakes are fully cooled before icing them.

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