I am not a big fan of sticky or cloying cakes, but I always love both beet-driven red velvet cake and this carrot cake from my latest cookbook, America Farm to Table: Simple, Delicious Recipes Celebrating Local Farmers. My carrot, hazelnut and ginger cake is the perfect dessert for Easter brunch and/or welcoming spring.
There is an entire spectrum of carrots, including red, yellow and purple varieties, each with its own appeal. ‘Sugarsnax’ carrots are an extra-sweet kind, delicious in this recipe if you can find them at your local farmers market. Though they are available year-round, carrots are most tender and at their peak from March through October.
The moist but firm texture and haunting vegetal sweetness of this cake reminds me more of great wine than crazy desserts. The mayonnaise in the recipe makes it especially moist, and I really like the molasses in the frosting – it seems odd but is crazy good. It balances the sweetness from the granulated and light brown sugars with bitterness and funky, sour notes. In a jazz band, molasses would be the smooth bass player every girl crushes on. If you love that about molasses as much as I do, then proceed immediately.