Valley Flora Farm continues to impress! This time I brought home gorgeous carrots. I spent the whole afternoon mesmerized by them. Long after I knew I’d taken enough photos, I took more. These carrots are beauty queens with no high heels, no plunging neck lines, and no ruby colored lips. I thought, for a moment, that this would be the post suggesting that there is no embellishment required. Just eat the carrots! Then I thought I’d roast them and serve them with carrot top pesto. (That will be another post. Carrot tops are edible and so good. Don’t throw away the tops!) But my husband kept whispering, “Carrot Cake.”
I’m not sure how I could be married to someone for ten years and not know that his favorite dessert is carrot cake! On the other hand, since he seems to like every dessert he is presented with, I’ll just call this his “favorite of the moment.” In any case, it was a special request. So as not to disappoint, I set out to make a carrot cake that wasn’t like all the others, but was familiar enough to be homey and comforting.
This cake has carrots, of course, some coconut, but no pineapple, raisins or nuts (except as an optional topping). I left nuts out because they often get soggy in a cake. I don’t like that. What I do like is crunchy nuts! The pecan/coconut brittle topping allows me to “eat my cake and have it too.” The brittle does start to dissolve a bit when put on the frosting, though. I recommend adding it at the last minute, or sprinkling on the slices as you serve them—if your cake lasts more than a day—which it may not.
There is orange zest in the cake and frosting, which gives it brightness, and grated apple which adds sweetness and moistness without adding more sugar. I contemplated making a carrot top frosting, but, luckily (maybe) I came to my senses. The frosting is made with a combination of cream cheese and goat cheese, giving it a delightful tang. The goat cheese doesn’t necessarily jump out as an ingredient, but rather as a certain “je ne sais quoi.” It is alluring without being quite recognizable. If you really don’t like goat cheese, leave it out and replace with additional cream cheese. If you love goat cheese, try making it with all goat cheese; that’s what I’m doing next time.
If it starts to get very dark in spots swirl the pan gently (you don’t want to get sugar up on the sides of the pan), or gently pull the melted sugar towards the middle of the pan with a wooden spoon. When most of the sugar had dissolved and caramelized, you can stir to encourage the last bits of sugar to melt.