The Perfect Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake. What is more heavenly than the moist seductiveness of a creamy carrot cake?! Cinnamon, cream cheese and an unbeatable texture just make this cake the king of all baking creations for me. Yes, I love carrot cake. Badly.

I remember the first time I had carrot cake. I was pretty little, maybe around 10, and our American neighbour Rita handed us some home-baked cake over the fence that separated our gardens. I had a bite and was immediately transported into a totally new universe. I had never, ever tasted something like that before. Cinnamon, moist, juicy, creamy, and extremely sweet. Hell, I was instantly hooked.

But what followed were years and years of  disappointment. When, every time I had found a slice of carrot cake, that sad feeling would overcome me… It would normally come after taking the first bite and realizing that this cake was either too dry, too stodgy or simply didn’t taste of cinnamon at all. My search for that perfect carrot cake took me from Starbucks to small bakeries in Switzerland (where they call it Rübli Kuchen) and street markets in London, all in vain. That is until I discovered this recipe.

In fact, it was my friend Gordon who introduced me to the world’s best ever carrot cake. If it weren’t for him, I’d still be desperately eating carrot cake in every London coffee shop, sighing every time another disappointment would come my way. But for my last birthday, Gordon brought along this beauty, which he had made especially for me. A perfect carrot cake. So perfect it put a tear in my eye and instantly transported me back to that moment Rita handed me her slice of carrot cake. Heaven…

Now the funny thing about this cake is that it is no secret over-the-generations-handed-down family recipe. No. It’s in fact adapted from the recipe of a British sandwich franchise called Pret A Manger, which is actually owned by McDonalds!!! Ridiculous, ey?! It sounds like making coffee with a Starbucks recipe – pretty insulting to any proper foodie. But… I have to say… damn, it really is the ultimate carrot cake recipe. Amazing. Fantastic. Mindblowing. Unbeatable. What? I hear you say no! Well, go on and try it and tell me if you have a better one. I dare you! And if you do say you can top this one, I’ll happily try out your recipe. Promised. ★

May 6, 2010