I recently had lunch at a charming restaurant in Constantia where they had carrot cake ice cream on the menu. Intrigued, I just had to try it, but sadly it was a little lacking—just a bog-standard vanilla ice cream with bits of cake mixed through it.
To be honest, I thought that I could do better. And so I did!
For the base, I adapted ice cream aficionado David Lebovitz’s cream cheese ice cream but substituted David’s lemon zest for vanilla and a touch of honey. Crumbled into this is my failsafe carrot cake made with double the ground spices and orange zest so that the flavors really permeate. And then, for good measure, I’ve added a sprinkling of candied carrot too.
If you love carrot cake, then I promise you, you will love this ice cream. It’s seriously, seriously good.
Tips: (1) You may not need to add all of the cake to the ice cream (I used about 2/3). The remainder can be cook’s perks! (2) Candied carrot makes a great decoration for the top of a carrot cake. Instead of diced carrot (as used in this recipe), I usually fine candy strips of carrot made with a zester then dry them in the oven on a wire rack (3) Try adding a touch of honey the next time you make cream cheese icing, it really lifts the flavor.
Carrot Cake Ice Cream
For the cake:
- 45g treacle sugar/dark muscovado sugar
- 25g wholemeal flour
- 25g self raising white flour
- 1/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/8 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- zest of 1 orange
- 1/2 egg, beaten
- 3 tbsp canola/rapseseed oil
- 1 medium carrot (about 50-60g) peeled and grated
Line a small loaf tin. Mix the sugar, flours, raising agents, spices and orange zest together. Lightly whisk the egg and oil together and add to the dry ingredients with the grated carrot. Stir to combine. Spoon into the tin and bake for 15 minutes at 180C/160C fan.
For the candied carrot:
- 8 tbsp caster sugar
- 4 tbsp water
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into approximately 0.5cm dice
- Bring sugar and water to the boil and add the carrot. Cook the carrot in the sugar syrup for 10 minutes then drain, spread on a silicon sheet and dry in the oven at 100C/80C fan for 2-3 hours until completely dry.
For the ice-cream (adapted from David Lebovitz’s Perfect Scoop):
- 250g cream cheese
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp honey
- 250g soured cream
- 125ml single cream
- 130g caster sugar
- pinch of salt
Blend all the ingredients together in a food processor and then churn in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a plastic container and stir in the crumbled carrot cake and the candied carrot pieces. Freeze until firm.