Ina Garten's Unique Carrot Cake Is a Must-Make This Spring

It has a surprising twist.

There are very few things Ina Garten can suggest that I won't try. Her recipes are on standby for everyday meals, approachable entertaining, and special occasions alike. This is especially true when planning holiday menus. And with all the spring festivities coming up, my radar is on high alert. So when I came across Ina's Carrot Cake with Ginger Mascarpone Frosting, I was sold—but not $100 sold. Let me explain.

Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa online shop (on the food retailer Goldbelly) offers up a handful of her specialties, including her signature carrot cake (and our collective favorite Beatty's Chocolate Cake). You can get fully-baked or bake-at-home treats delivered straight to your door, just as if you were popping into Garten's Hamptons home kitchen.

And though it's tempting to simply order and have it shipped from the Barefoot Contessa herself, it can easily be made right at home, and at a fraction of the cost. I can't wait to test out her version this carrot cake season.

Ina Garten's Carrot Cake with Ginger Mascarpone Frosting

A lamb-shaped carrot cake is always a part of Easter weekend for my family—complete with a coconut "wool" coating and jelly beans for eyes. There are a number of recipes to choose from and twists to take with this beloved dessert, whether it's using buttermilk or adding in raisins and pineapple. Typically, I go for a basic recipe with a cream cheese frosting. But if there's anything that can make me forgo the classic cake mold and decorations, it's mascarpone frosting and crystallized ginger, à la Ina.

I've already lauded mascarpone's decadence in desserts, so it's a no-brainer to use it here for a rich and creamy carrot cake frosting. Otherwise, the cake recipe itself is pretty straightforward, with the usual grated carrots, chopped walnuts, and raisins. It also uses oil, sugar, all-purpose flour, and spices for the batter portion. It gets baked in two round cake pans for a layered effect.

In addition to mascarpone, the frosting features cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and the genius addition of sweet, spicy, rich, chewy crystallized ginger bits. It will be the pièce de résistance on any spring table.

In Ina's recipe, crystallized ginger is mixed into the frosting and sprinkled on the top of the cake, but she also notes the option of adding 1/4 cup of chopped candied ginger to the batter for more depth of flavor and texture.

Ina's Tip for Shredding Carrots for Carrot Cake

Garten recommends shredding the carrots manually using a box grater versus using a food processor. For best results, use the fine side of the grater—as also explained in our tips for creating a perfect carrot cake. This ensures that the veggie is distributed throughout the cake and that it will bake evenly.


We've also heard it's helpful to put the shredded carrots in a salad spinner (or towel) to get all the extra moisture out, but haven't tried this yet. If the carrots are too wet, you might get a sunken cake, but you also don't want them too dry like you might get with the store-bought, pre-shredded kind. Since carrot is the star of the show, it makes sense to use the freshest ingredients you can get for a five-star dessert.

Finally, tossing the carrots, nuts, and raisins with about a tablespoon of flour before adding to the batter helps keep everything suspended in the cake. You don't want all the goodies to sink to the bottom after all.

If this recipe didn't already sound divine enough on its own, Ina's bunny ears and Easter candy put me over-the-top excited to bake it this spring. As always, she's a font of inspiration. Adding candied ginger and mascarpone to my shopping list now!

Read the original article on All Recipes.