Chef Tracy's Five-Spice Carrot Cake

Chef Tracy's Five-Spice Carrot Cake

Chai spice and whipped ganache sweeten this simple pleasure.

Epicurious' 4 Levels series features an amateur and advanced baker preparing a classic dessert alongside a pastry chef from the Institute of Culinary Education. In the latest episode, Chef Tracy Wilk grinds her own five-spice blend into a powder for her pro take on carrot cake.

She advises freshly shred carrots for moisture, weighing out each layer so the cake is level throughout and ultimately letting the frosting harden in a fridge so the cake is easy to slice. 

Chef Tracy incorporates caramelized white chocolate, also known as blonde chocolate, into a whipped ganache to top her cake with, adding chocolate-coated cereal pearls as the final touch.

Watch the video for a step-by-step guide, and see the complete recipe below.

Recipe

Five-Spice Carrot Cake with Chai Cream Cheese Filling and Valrhona Orelys Whipped Ganache

Yields 12-16 portions

Ingredients

For the carrot cake:

  • 375 grams sugar
  • 297 grams oil
  • 400 grams eggs
  • 14 grams vanilla extract
  • 340 grams all-purpose flour
  • 7 grams baking powder
  • 7 grams baking soda
  • 78 grams salt
  • 14 grams Chinese five-spice (recipe below)
  • 4 cups shredded carrots

For the chai cream cheese filling:

  • 114 grams butter, room temperature
  • 400 grams cream cheese, room temperature
  • 125 grams confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 8 grams chai spice blend (recipe below)

For the Chinese five spice:

  • 14 grams Sichuan peppercorns
  • 6 pieces star anise
  • 6 grams whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 grams fennel seed

For the chai spice blend:

  • 4 grams ground cardamom
  • 4 grams ground allspice
  • 4 grams ground cloves
  • 8 grams ground ginger
  • 8 grams ground cinnamon

For the Valrhona Orelys whipped ganache:

  • 300 grams heavy cream
  • 30 grams invert sugar
  • 30 grams glucose syrup
  • 450 grams Orelys chocolate, melted
  • 800 grams heavy cream

Directions

For the carrot cake:

  1. Line four quarter-sheet trays with parchment paper and spray with Pam. Set aside. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and five spice. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and oil. Add eggs and vanilla extract and fully combine.
  4. In three additions, add dry ingredients, using a rubber spatula to combine. Finish with the shredded carrots.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the four sheet trays, weighing out the total amount and dividing it four ways. Spread the batter evenly on the trays and bake until golden brown and springs back, about 8-12 minutes.
  6. Place in fridge to fully cool before assembly.

For the chai cream cheese filling:

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the butter until it is light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese and mix until smooth and no lumps remain, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add confectioners' sugar and mix to combine.
  3. Add vanilla bean seeds and chai spice blend and mix to combine.
  4. Set aside for assembly.

For the Chinese five spice:

  1. Combine all in a spice grinder, blend well.

For the chai spice blend:

  1. Mix all spices together, blend well.

For the Valrhona Orelys whipped ganache:

  1. Bring first amount of heavy cream, invert sugar and glucose syrup to a boil.
  2. In three additions, using a rubber spatula, pour the hot mixture over the melted chocolate. Finish emulsion with a hand blender.
  3. Add the second amount of heavy cream and mix again with a hand blender.
  4. Store overnight in the fridge.
  5. Whip (by hand only) until stiff peaks form. Place in a pastry bag for assembly.

To assemble:

  1. Cake should be cold, chai frosting should be room temp.
  2. Assemble cake on a cake board, starting and ending with carrot cake layers, with chai frosting in between layers. The cake should be left unfrosted.
  3. Slice into portions and allow to come to room temperature before serving (make sure cake is left covered).
  4. When ready to serve, top each portion with whipped ganache.
  5. Serve with Valrhona Dulcey crunchy pearls.

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