Chefs manage to coax greatness from humble carrots by using them in cake.
Sure carrots are great. The root vegetables available in colors like orange, yellow and purple supposedly help to bolster your eyesight and cardiovascular fitness. Still, instead of downing boring raw, juiced or roasted carrots, step your game up with cake. Learn about 12 of my favorite Los Angeles carrot cakes, some of which aren’t available year-round.
Additions: Bombay Palace, Doubting Thomas, House of Gluten, Little Flower Candy Co., Ototo
Subtractions: Coffee + Milk, Gjelina Take Away, The Larder at Burton Way (Closed), Quenelle (Closed), Short Cake (Closed)
1. Bombay Palace Carrot Halwa ($8.95)
At Deep Sethi’s luxurious Beverly Hills restaurant, which dates to 1984, diners can finish strong with flourless carrot cake served with coconut pineapple ice cream and sprinkled with crushed pistachios.
2. Doubting Thomas Carrot Cake ($7)
Naomi Shim’s Historic Filipinotown bakery/cafe always offers pastry case temptations. Her carrot cake fillings are market dependent, but the version I enjoyed featured shredded purple haze carrot, chopped pecans and two tropical touches: coconut and pineapple. Shim spreads liberally with vanilla flecked cream cheese frosting.
3. House of Gluten Carrot + Toasted Pecan + Cream Cheese ($12)
Hannah Ziskin resorted to home cooking after the pandemic deprived her of her M. Georgina pastry chef position. The seasonal, nuanced slabs she bakes in Glendale became instant classics. Her carrot cake features spiced Underwood Farms carrot cake, salty pecan caramel, cream cheese mousse, tangy crème fraîche chantilly, and a thin-sliced kumquat garnish.
4. Lark Cake Shop Carrot Cupcake ($4)
John Hensley’s Silver Lake bakery features red and canary yellow walls, a lounge with plush chairs, and a standout carrot cupcake. Yes, cupcakes are no longer trendy, but this cake does tout thick cream cheese frosting, a decorative green fondant dot, and cool cake packed with plenty of shredded carrot. Lark also sells bigger carrot cakes with concentric green-in-orange dots.
5. Little Flower Candy Co. Carrot Cake Muffin with Turmeric Glaze ($3.75)
Christine Moore’s bakery/cafe on Pasadena’s western border always hosts enticing pastries. Little Flower’s carrot cake muffin is stout and touts carrot strands, ginger bite, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seed garnish.
6. Milo and Olive Carrot Rye Spiced Cake ($4)
Zoe Nathan can do no wrong in the kitchen, and this carrot cake is completely right, with a gooey core, crispy golden legs that resemble baby octopus tentacles, and tangy cream cheese frosting decorated with toasted walnuts and a cinnamon dusting.
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