Look at the beautiful box of Laduree Macarons. The box contained three flavours, vanilla, pistachio and caramel. The macarons were quite a few days old, and factor in the plane ride, would have been a week old. However, the flavours were still excellent. The vanilla and pistachio were so pronounced, and the caramel was really strong too. However, do to the ageing, the macarons had dried out a little and were a bit crunchy overall. It was still excellent to be reminded of how great Laduree macaron flavours were.
After eating the macarons, we cleansed our palates with some calming tea and delicious cakes. By coincidence, we all made simple cakes without any frosting. April made a banana cake, Kat presented an Orange Chiffon and I made a Carrot Cake. April's Banana Cake was really good, with a perfect texture and a nice banana flavour. Kat's cake by made by her friend and it was sensational. It was just so addictively tasty that I may have had three pieces. Finally, the Carrot Cake I made also had the most wonderful texture, but needs to be a bit sweeter to have made it better.
This Carrot Cake is by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I adore the texture in this cake as it is very moist and just falls apart. However, Rose uses no sugar in the cake and instead uses honey, which is a great idea. The honey does lend some nice flavours. However, even though I myself don't like super sweet cakes, I think this cake could use some sugar in conjunction with the honey next time. It will really help to pull out the flavour of the carrot as well is my experience from making other carrot cakes.
Rose Levy Beranbaum's Golden Wheat Carrot Cake
10 inch round pan
2 cups finely shredded carrots
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup sifted cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter the pan, or line it with baking paper, which is my preferred method.
In a small bowl, combine the carrots and lemon juice.
Sift together the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, butter, honey and carrot mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (high with a hand mixer) and beat for 30 seconds or until well-mixed. Add the nuts and raisins, if desired, by hand.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when pressed lightly in the center or a wooden skewer comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan.
I found that my cake took about 45 minutes to cook, maybe due to using a round tin instead of a bundt type tin as suggested in the book. The bundt tin with the hole in the middle would mean more of the cake mixture is touching the metal tin and could cook faster due to the direct contact to the tin. That's just a guess. Just watch and test the cake to make sure it's fully cooked.