Friday, 29 November 2013

deconstructed ' CARROT CAKE .'

Traditional Carrot cake , cream cheese frosting , walnuts & carrot ribbons , Deconstruction - Carrot sponge , Spiced cream cheese , Walnut gelato , Cinnamon shortbread , Walnut praline and Candied carrot strips.

                   Quite often the quota of weekly bananas don't all get eaten in our household and a humble banana loaf gets baked to use them up and gives us something to put in the kids lunches. Well this particular week we seem to have eaten the bananas but doubled up on buying carrots and along with the orange dutch carrots and the purple heirlooms, we have near 6 kg of carrots in the bottom of the fridge. So I thought carrot cake, then I thought carrot sponge and the idea ran from there. Traditionalist versus Modernist in a carrot cake bake showdown, it was a pleasant surprise to find that when I shut my eyes to taste the elements of the deconstruction, I had succeeded in getting the carrot cake flavour despite the textural differences between the two comparatives. Then again I shouldn't really be that surprised as a carrot cake really only has four layers of flavours to capture those being carrot, walnut, cinnamon and cream cheese.                                                                                                                                
                    The preparation of this plate was done in different stages and the first was the walnut gelato which was made the night before allowing enough freezing time. To make this I first soaked walnuts in cold water for half an hour before draining and blending them to a meal. In a saucepan I added milk, cream, eggs and sugar whisking to dissolve the sugar, this was then stirred on simmer for fifteen minutes. The custard mixture was then removed from the heat and the walnut meal added before being poured into a glass container and placed into the freezer, forking to mix every 2-3 hours. While the gelato was freezing I made the candied carrots by thinly slicing carrot placing into simmering sugared water for about ten minutes. These were then drained spread out onto a tray lined with baking paper and oven dried at 100 deg.c. until crisp (about 2 hours).                                                                
                    The next morning I fired up the oven to 160 deg.c. and made a quick batch of shortbread using the trusty recipe I learnt from school (150g flour, 100g butter and 50g sugar), once the cookies were cooked they were allowed to cool before being pulverised and cinnamon sugar added to complete the cinnamon shortbread crumb. In a bowl I creamed eggs and sugar until pale and thick, to this I added vegetable oil, grated carrot and chopped walnuts until well incorporated. To this I then gradually worked in flour, salt,cinnamon, bicarb soda and baking powder, before pouring into a lined loaf tin and baked at 180 deg.c. for about 45-50 mins. Next was to make the carrot sponge, in a bowl I creamed eggs and sugar adding carrot puree, flour and baking powder to make a batter, this was then poured into a lined tin and baked at 160 deg. c. for about 20-25 minutes. Both cakes were cooled on wire racks before being prepared to plate.                                                                                                                  
                     The traditional carrot cake was sliced to portion size and frosted with cream cheese and topped with chopped walnuts. In a small saucepan I quickly blanched off some thin carrot strips, removing them from the heat and placing into an ice water bath. The spiced cream cheese is just simply a little dutch cinnamon swirled through some cream cheese and using a piping bag to present on the plate. The last preparation was the walnut praline of which I simply placed chopped walnuts on to a lined tray, heated some caster sugar in a heavy based saucepan until the sugar dissolved and became an amber colour of which I poured the toffee over the nuts and allowed to cool and harden. This was then smashed into pieces to serve. The carrot sponge was torn into bite size chunks and all the elements were plated and the dish was finished with a little cinnamon sugar.



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