Parma-style Carrot Cake by Giada De Laurentiis
This fabulously subtle and unique Carrot Cake, Parma-style recipe by Giadi De Laurentiis, makes repeat performances in our family ever since we discovered it on the Food Network.
Lightly sweet, not too spicy, well-balanced and zingy with a touch of fennel and lemon zest, this carrot cake can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or at tea time and makes a perfect finish to an evening meal.
While we are watching, waiting and measuring our Pinot Noir grapes with bated breath for the right Brix level to harvest, we whipped up a Parma-style Carrot Cake to share with you, complete with helpful step-by-step illustrations.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pine nuts (about 6 ounces)
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 cups peeled and chopped carrots (about 6 carrots)
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
Powdered sugar to garnish
MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE
We substitute Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix for the flour in even quantities and omit the baking powder since this gluten-free mix contains baking powder in it already. This particular mix is made with almond flour and makes a moister cake than the regular flour version.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
- Place the pine nuts, 1/2 cup sugar, and fennel seeds in a food processor and pulse to mince the nuts. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and the carrots. Pulse to mince the carrots. Add the mascarpone cheese and pulse until the cheese is incorporated.
- In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, until well blended.
- Add the carrot mixture to the butter mixture and stir until combined. Add in the reserved dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated.
- Place the mixture in a lightly greased and floured 8 by 10 by-2-inch baking dish. We use silicone without greasing.
- Bake for 55 to 60 minutes at 375 degrees F.
Serve with a glass of our 2018 Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs (white Pinot Noir), whose tasting notes of melon, citrus and green apple pair beautifully with this delicate Parma-style Carrot Cake.