Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Ice Cream, Cilantro Granita, and Baby Carrots
Pastry Chef Ron Mendoza formerly of Sona – Los Angeles, CA
Adapted by
April 2010
Yield: 12 Servings


Cream Cheese Ice Cream:
2 liters milk
400 grams cream
80 grams glucose
350 grams sugar
6 egg yolks
200 grams cream cheese

Cilantro Granita:
1 pound fresh cilantro, stems removed
Simple syrup

Pickled Baby Carrots:
1 cup rice wine vinegar
½ cup water
¼ cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 piece star anise
2 bunches baby carrots, various colors

Carrot Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup almond flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
1teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon salt
5 eggs
3 cups sugar
1 pint vegetable oil
¾ cup crème fraiche
4 cups grated carrots

Soaking Syrup:
1 liter orange juice
500 grams sugar
1 liter orange juice
500 grams sugar
1 vanilla bean
3 sticks cinnamon, toasted

Blackberry Sauce:
2 pints blackberries
50 grams glucose
2 grams citric acid

To Assemble and Serve:
Micro cilantro

For the Cream Cheese Ice Cream:
Combine the milk, cream, glucose, and sugar in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and temper in the egg yolks. Return the mixture to heat and cook until it forms a custard. Strain the mixture into a bowl and add the cream cheese, mixing well. Once the mixture has cooled, process in an ice cream machine. Freeze and reserve.

For the Cilantro Granita:
Blanch the cilantro in boiling water for 30 seconds. Submerge in ice water to stop the cooking and strain. Roughly chop the cilantro before adding it to a blender with just enough water to blend into a thick cilantro water; then blend until completely smooth and add simple syrup to taste. Mixture should not be very sweet. Pour this mixture into a shallow pan and freeze, scraping with a fork every hour until the mixture has the texture of shaved ice.

For the Pickled Baby Carrots:
Bring the rice wine vinegar, water, and sugar to a boil. Add more sugar or vinegar if desired; mixture should taste sour with a little sweetness. Remove the mixture from the heat, add the vanilla bean and spices, and steep for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the baby carrots very thin with a mandolin. Return the pickling liquid to a boil, strain, and pour over the carrots. Let sit at room temperature for about 1 hour. Reserve.

For the Carrot Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and seasonings and set aside. In another bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy. In a large mixer, cream the sugar with the oil. Add the eggs, crème fraiche, and carrots. Fold in the dry ingredients and pour this mixture into a greased pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and the cake pulls from the side of the pan. Cool and reserve.

For the Soaking Syrup:
Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Remove the mixture from the heat to steep until cool. Reserve.

For the Blackberry Sauce:
In a blender, combine three-quarters of the blackberries with the glucose and citric acid and blend until smooth. Strain this mixture and chill. Reserve this and remaining blackberries.

To Assemble and Serve:

Cut the cooled carrot cake into individual portions and dip them in the soaking syrup. Place cakes in a warm oven for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange blackberries and blackberry sauce on the plates. Place the carrot cake off-center on the plate. Top the cake with pickled carrots (about 6 slices per serving). Place a spoonful of granita next to the cake and top with a scoop of cream cheese ice cream. Garnish with micro cilantro.