Rainbow Carrot Cake

I have been putting off making this cake for quite a while. Mostly because I was lazy. The concept of taking rainbow carrots and individually highlighting them sounded like a ton of fun, and it would make for a cute and pretty cake. However, the execution of it sounded like a tall task. I wanted to make different batters for each color of carrot, and I wanted to make these glass chips using the rainbow carrots as well, just to add a lot of height and color. Both of those processes are highly time consuming, as you first have to start by grating or slicing these carrots. For the batter, I have to make four different batters so that each different color of the rainbow carrot is not lost. For the chips, they just take forever since you have to dehydrate the chips while allowing sugar to crystalize around them, and that requires a low temperature and at least an hour of actual cooking time. But I found that with how long some of these processes took, I would multitask more with other components, just to make the waiting period a lot less painful.

Originally, this recipe was just going to be four cake batters, the cream cheese frosting, and the chips. But I found that to be a touch flat. I did not want to bake spices into the cake, since that could mar the color of the carrots. But doing a spiced soak would be a great way of adding that flavor into the cake, but not messing up the color too much. Another thing I did with the cake batter itself is bake them together, and do a sort of faux tie-dye aesthetic. I also made macaroons(two o’s since it’s like the ones made with coconut) by finely grating rainbow carrot pieces and dehydrating them in the oven, just like how you would create coconut flakes. The macaroons acted like a fun texture inside of this cake. Overall, this cake took a long, long time to make, an entire two days in fact, but I’m pretty happy with the end result!

For the rainbow carrot chips:
Rainbow carrots
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
canola oil

Shave the carrots either with a peeler or mandolin. Bring the water, sugar, and salt to a simmer. Separate the carrots by color, and then pour the syrup over the slices. Allow the carrots to sit in the syrup for at least 10 minutes. Line sheet trays with parchment and a little oil. Spread on your chips and place on another layer of oiled parchment, and another sheet tray. Bake the chips at 200 degrees F for 30 minutes. Then remove the top tray and parchment, and continue to bake for another 35 minutes. If the chips begin to curl, re-weigh them down using the parchment and sheet tray. You want these as flat as possible. Store in an airtight container.

For the rainbow carrot macaroons:
1 loose cup dehydrated rainbow carrots
1 egg white
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt

For the dehydrated carrots, finely grate fresh rainbow carrots and spread onto a parchment-lined sheet tray. Dehydrate those first at 200 degrees F for 1 hour. I recommend doing this step with the chips at the same time. Mix the carrot flakes with the other ingredients to form a macaroon mixture, similar to a coconut macaroon. Spread out in smaller pieces onto a lined sheet tray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Allow the macaroons to cool down before cutting into smaller pieces. Store in an airtight container until time to assemble.

For the cake batter:
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
1 drop purple food coloring for the purple carrot

Combine ingredients. Repeat these ingredients and steps for each color of carrot. For mine, I had orange, purple, white, and yellow, so I had four different batters. Spread the batters onto a parchment-lined sheet tray and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Allow the cake to fully cool before unmolding from the parchment.

For the cream cheese frosting:
12oz cream cheese
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip the cream cheese until softened. Reduce the sugar with water and salt until it begins to simmer. Pour the sugar syrup into the cream cheese while whipping, then add in the vanilla to finish.

For the spiced milk soak:
1 cup milk
a pinch of salt
a pinch of cinnamon
a pinch of ground cardamom
a pinch of ground ginger

Whisk together until combined.

To assemble:
Cut out three rounds of cake using a 6-inch ring mold, keeping in mind one of your layers will be made from the scraps. Line the ring mold with acetate. Start with the scrap layer, then pour on your soak. Spread on about 1/4 cup of the frosting, then crumble on your macarons. Repeat this step for the second layer. For the third, start with the cake, soak, and frosting, then freeze for at least 3 hours. Unmold, then decorate the top with the macaroons. Pipe some residual frosting along the sides of the cake, and garnish with your rainbow carrot chips to finish.

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