February 3, 2011
Today, February 3rd, is National Carrot Cake Day.
In order to assist you in celebrating this spiced, moist, vegetable-enhanced, cream cheese-covered cake, we’ve rounded up our top picks for five-star carrot cake at bakeries, cafes and restaurants throughout the city. Some are traditional, some less so (Aghan-style carrot cake, anyone?), but all are delicious. And in the hometown of Philly Cream Cheese, we frankly expect no less.
Take a look at our list, below, and chime in with your opinion on worthy carrot cakes we missed out on:
• Franklin Foodworks at the Franklin Institute: We recently partnered with Chef Steve Poses, of Frog Commissary, to offer his legendary, 35-year-old carrot cake recipe in “With Love”-emblazoned cupcake form at the new cafe inside the Franklin Institute. The famous confection was originally served at the hallowed, now-defunct Commissary, and is still in fine form. Each cupcake consists of a super moist (and super big) carrot cake, filled with a caramel, raisin and pecan concoction and iced with decadent cream cheese frosting. It will slay you.
• Jones: Stephen Starr knows what he’s doing. Holy super moist cake, roll-your-eyes-heavenward cream cheese icing, and perfectly crunchy nuts. Oh, and it’s topped with vanilla ice cream.
• The Fountain at the Four Seasons: A classic, elegant carrot cake for a classic, elegant restaurant (which received a perfect Five Diamond rating from AAA and made OpenTable’s national top 50 list, plus too many more accolades to list).
• Honey’s Sit-N-Eat: Anything on the menu here is worth the sometimes hours-long wait, especially for weekend brunch. But the carrot cake? We’d wait all day for a slice of this luscious homemade slice of goodness (you can also take home a whole cake), as heavy as your head and packed with creamy caky cheesy walnutty goodness.
Check out the rest of our list, below.
• Termini Brothers Bakery: This 80-year-old South Philly-based bakery obviously hasn’t been sitting around, twiddling its thumbs when it comes to cake-making. The pint-sized mini carrot cakes they serve (we picked one up at their Reading Terminal outpost) are layered alternately with carrot cake and icing, the latter of which is dotted with mini chocolate chips. Bonus? The adorable orange carrots painted atop the cake.
• Schlesinger’s Delicatessen: Formerly known as Kibitz Room, this traditional Jewish delicatessen has the giant New York-style dessert case thing down. Each tray of cookies (the black and whites are frisbee-sized) and cakes threatens to buckle beneath the weight it bears. Each dessert is delicious, but the carrot cake is truly addictive. Six layers of cake interspersed with the creamiest of cream cheese icings may leave you clutching your belly but, trust us, it’ll be worth it.
• Continental Mid-Town: Craving carrot cake goodness without the artery-clogging? This miniature version of carrot cake is frosted with cream cheese icing, filled with rum soaked currants and topped off with vanilla ice cream.
• Jonathan Best Gourmet Grocer: This Reading Terminal sandwich, soup, salad and spreads/dips shop literally labels its carrot cake “World’s Best.” Naturally, we had to sample it. The verdict? However Mr. Best bakes that unique sweet thick pecan filling inside his perfectly dense cake is beyond us — we’re sold.
• Horizons: Swearing off dairy shouldn’t mean being deprived of quality dessert. This nationally acclaimed vegan restaurant offers a Carrot Cake Jar dessert: ginger snap brownie, preserved carrot, walnut cheesecake and raisin fondant. Yum.
• Kabul: For the adventurous carrot cake connoisseur, this Afghan spot in Old City offers an ethnic rendition of carrot cake, complete with spicy raisins and nuts. A must-taste.
• Devon Seafood Grill: Commence the mouth-watering: pecan praline filling, sweet cream cheese, toasted coconut and crème anglaise. Bonus: you get to lick your spoon to the envy of all the Rittenhouse passersby.