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I am planning to create a carrot cake that should be a bit different from what people usually think of when they think of carrot cake.

Please note: This is not a recipe request! My carrot cake recipe consists of the usual stuff cinnamon, nutmeg, walnuts...and of course carrots. The frosting is classically cream cheese. The purpose of this question is more to ask for classic flavor combinations or well knows flavor combinations. I want to be creative, but not too bold. Basically I just want to add different textures and bit of a fruity and fresh flavor to it, so:

  • What do you think about a layer of raspberry gel inside the cake?
  • What do you think about a layer of orange gel inside the cake, maybe with a bit of ginger?
  • What do you think about a passionfruit layer? Maybe together with the orange?
  • Do you think a bit of lemon and basil or mint in the frosting could be used to create a refreshing aftertaste?
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@SAJ14SAJ Or we could just edit the title; this does state a specific goal (texture, fruity, fresh), and on top of that, it asks about specific ideas. It's not nearly so wide open as the kinds of things we worry about, and reads more like a good subjective question to me. –  Jefromi Jun 13 '13 at 15:15
Notably, in my answer to that question, I did say that placing additional restrictions (in my example, that the pairing must work with two different things) can make the question okay. And in the one I linked to, the question/answer/comments say very similar things - providing specific details and a desired outcome turn the question from too open-ended to a reasonable one. –  Jefromi Jun 13 '13 at 15:24
@Jefromi I take your point, and this is exactly the type of question where I would support a meta to allow multiple answer opinion type questions, but I called it as I see it based on my own understanding of our current guidelines. –  SAJ14SAJ Jun 13 '13 at 17:22
@SAJ14SAJ My answer to your question, Aaronut's question, and kiamluno's answer to it are the current guidelines, and I'm saying that they don't support closing this question. It's fine for questions to be at least somewhat subjective, and it's fine for it to be possible to provide a few different answers. If you can find anything canonical that says otherwise, please point me to it so I can help get rid of it. –  Jefromi Jun 13 '13 at 18:58

4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Culinary Artistry by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page has a large section on food pairings. For carrots they mention orange, ginger, lemon, basil and mint. I think any of these could work well, if done right. My suggestion would be first to use really good, flavorful carrots—preferably from a farmer's market. Second, I would tone down or even leave out some of the usual carrot cake spices so that you don't cover up the carrot flavor or the subtle flavors of your possible additions. Maybe fresh or candied ginger in the cake itself would be good. Orange or lemon curd and/or zest would work particulary well in offsetting the cream cheese icing. I'm thinking basil and mint might be better saved for another dessert.

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Thank you! That seems to be a great book, I just ordered a copy. –  Sven Jun 3 '12 at 23:14
It's a great resource—you'll enjoy it. I got a copy after seeing it on the bookshelf of a well-respected chef. –  Callithumpian Jun 4 '12 at 3:12

Orange is an amazing flavor but I also really like maple in the frosting

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Thanks, maple is a great idea. –  Sven Jun 5 '12 at 17:48

I would make the standard cream cheese frosting with finely grated orange rind sprinkled on top and the juice from that orange in the frosting. Yummm.

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Pineapple, ( tinned crushed pineapple works best) the pineapple works great and helps kept it moist as well as adding a nice flavour.

Orange and ginger are already a classic combination in a carrot cake so that would work well.

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