Disappearing Carrot Almond Lemon Cake

Well, there is a big hunk out of this cake. And I ATE IT! Inspired by Deborah Madison’s fabulous book Vegetable Literacy, it’s delicious. I only tweaked the recipe a bit.
Raleigh City Farm-stand @raleighcityfarm Wednesdays 4-7
has carrots (green onions, kale & French radishes) this week!
  • 4 T melted & cooled + 1 t butter (1t for pan)
  • 1 1/2 C blanched almond flour
  • 2 t fine lemon zest (grated from about 2 lemons)
  • 3/4 C + 2 T sugar
  • 1 1/4 C cake flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature is better)
  • 1/4 t each almond & lemon extract
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract (double strength)
  • 2 C finely grated carrots (not packed cups)
  • Confectioner’s sugar (optional for top)

Heat oven to 375°F. Parchment line a 9″ springform or cake pan, using 1 t butter to stick paper to pan sides & to lightly butter the batter side of the paper. Sprinkle a bit of the almond flower in the cake pan bottom over the buttered parchment.

Mix the almond flour, lemon zest & 2 T sugar in. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder & salt.

In an electric mixer, whip the eggs on high for about 2 minutes. Add the 3/4 c sugar & whip until pale, thick & creamy, about 5 minutes.

Reduce speed to low. Add extracts, almond flour mixture & carrots. Mix until well combined. Add butter & mix until just combined. Fold in flour mixture, combining gently until the dry mixture is just incorporated.

Pour batter into baking pan. (I pull the batter a bit from the center so it bakes more evenly.) Bake 30 minutes until lightly browned & the center springs back. It will most likely have a couple of cracks in the top when it’s done. Remove from oven to a cooling rack. Let the cake cool completely in the pan.

Remove the cake from the pan & display on a cake stand with a glass dome so you can walk by & easily eat it. Hence the name “disappearing.”

P.S. Sprinkle the top with confectioner’s sugar before serving, if you like. I never made it to this step.

LEEKS VINAIGRETTE NESTS

FullSizeRender-3Photo – Merci, Kathy Thompson!

ORGANIC INGREDIENTS, PLEASE.
Serves 12

LEEKS
2 large 1.5″ diameter leeks
Cut off roots and trim leaves leaving 3″ of dark green.
Halve them lengthwise and wash thoroughly.
Cut into ribbons about 1/2″ wide.
Leeks are banked with earth as they grow to create the
delicate white root ends. You can plant the trimmed root and it will grow a new leek. Save the tops for a soup or a stir fry.

You can prepare the vinaigrette as the leeks cook.

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil.
Add 1/2 t. sea salt.
Add leeks and simmer for 15 minutes until they are just translucent and tender. You’ll need to tend these as they cook. If you overcook they will be mush. If you overcook them then save them for something other than Leeks Vinaigrette. Maybe a leek puree topped with tiny carrots.

Have a bowl of ice and water ready to chill the leeks once they are done. Drain the tender leeks reserving the liquid to drink now or later. It’s delicious hot and cold! Place the drained leeks into the ice water and let chill thoroughly. Drain but leave them moist as the water helps to dilute the vinaigrette a bit.

VINAIGRETTE
Vinegary things’ sourness is influenced by the vinegar type and is a personal preference so before you add the leeks to the vinaigrette, taste it.

In a bowl large enough to hold the leeks, mix together:
1/4 c. olive oil
2 T. champagne or white wine vinegar
1/4 t. garlic salt or a tiny clove of fresh garlic and a dash of salt
1 dash of freshly ground or FRESH white pepper (or more to your taste – it’s powerful if it’s fresh)

OPTIONAL
1/2 t. Dijon mustard – I do not add as I think it masks the delicate leek flavor.

Add the drained leeks and toss gently. Place in a GLASS or CERAMIC covered dish and refrigerate for at least four hours and up to 8 hours. No metals or plastics please as they influence the flavors. A Ball jar with an enamel lid works too.

QUAIL EGGS
Place eggs in saucepan and cover with cold water. Add 1 T vinegar. Bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 45 seconds then plunge into cold water to stop the cooking. These are tricky to keep a gooey yellow so you might just let them cool to room temperature and be happy with whatever the yolk decides to do. The shells are so beautiful – so I just clip off the top of the egg and set it into the nest.

THE FUN PART – ASSEMBLY

Select lovely little dishes. I like square dark dishes for the contrast. <$2 at World Market. In each dish swirl a nest of leeks, top with a clipped quail egg, a few capers, a bit of sunflower seeds for crunch.

I think they’d be delightful in petit cupcake liners and then placed in one of those ceramic egg cartons. I will try to get a photo of that next time!

Let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour before serving.

Bon Appétit