this unassuming simple looking cake is...
SIMPLY DELICIOUS !
a new favorite carrot cake is on your horizon...trust me
this is a carrot cake like i have never tasted...not too too sweet like a lot of carrot cakes. you can actually taste the sweetness from the carrots. the pine nuts give it a buttery texture, you get a hint of fennel and the lemon just wakes everything up. all those flavors combined create this very unique dessert.
i caught this on the Food Network show, "the Perfect 3". Ina Garten and her perfect Classic Chocolate Cake, Paula Dean with her Red Velvet Cake and then there was Giada De Laurentiis with this interesting Parma Carrot Cake that caught my attention.
i DO love carrot cakes but sometimes they can just be over powered by spices, stringy carrots and cloyingly sweet with cream cheese frosting. when i saw her adding fennel seeds and pine nuts i immediately pushed the record button and googled the recipe.
this is a definite winner and a "must-try" recipe. the cake is versatile...can be baked in different vessels and served any way you choose. serve as a star quality dessert or a simple tea cake...enjoy for breakfast brunch or snack...a warm frothy cappuccino or just a spot of tea...
IT'S DELICIOUS ON IT"S OWN !
PARMA-STYLE CARROT CAKE
recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
i have copied it for you below with my slight changes in italics
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour...i substituted 1 1/4 white whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup pine nuts (about 6 oz.)
1/2 cups sugar, plus 1/2 cup sugar...
NOTE...i mixed 1/2 cup splenda with 1/2 cup sugar and separated that.
also...on the show Giada did not separate the sugar. she creamed the butter and the 1 cup sugar. i did as the written recipe, so either way will work. no need to separate...
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 lemon zested and juiced
2 cups peeled, shredded carrots (about 6 carrots)
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
powdered sugar for garnish
preheat oven to 375 F
in a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. set aside
place the pine nuts, 1/2 cup sugar and fennel seeds in a food processor and pulse to mince the nuts. add lemon zest, lemon juice and the shredded carrots. pulse to mince the carrots. add the mascarpone cheese and pulse until cheese is incorporated
in a large bowl, using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and remaining 1/2 cup sugar. add the eggs one at a time, until well combined.
add the carrot mixture to the butter mixture and stir until combined. add the reserved DRY ingredients in 3 intervals and stir until just incorporated.
place the mixture in a slightly greased and floured 8 x 10 by 2 dish
NOTE...i used a 9" springform pan. 2 loaf pans might work well for serving as a sliced tea cake. on the show Giada used some star shaped baking paper molds.
bake for 55 - 60 minutes...golden brown on top and toothpick comes out with a slight crumb.
let the cake cool for 1 hour, then lightly dust with powdered sugar.
i let the remaining cake sit out over night, then refrigerated it. this cake keeps well for at least a few days. bring to room temp before serving. (great treat for breakfast).