Why It Works
- Peeling gives the carrot strips a smooth, delicate edge.
- Poaching in simple syrup makes the carrot strips glossy and pliable.
Carrot cakes are often topped with carrot-shaped squiggles of frosting or marzipan, but you don't need any special ingredients to create these simple carrot roses. For a rainbow bouquet, grab packs of orange, red, and purple "confetti carrots" at the grocery or farmers market.
Reprinted from BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts with permission from W. W. Norton.
- About 6 large carrots, at least 1 inch thick and preferably 7 to 8 inches in length
- 8 ounces water (about 1 cup; 225g)
- 7 ounces sugar (about 1 cup; 200g)
- 1/4 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight
Peel the carrots, then place on a cutting board; with a vegetable peeler pressed firmly against the root end, drag the blade down its length. Discard the first few thin and irregular strips, and continue peeling to amass a pile of thick, even ribbons.
Combine water, sugar, and salt in a 2-quart stainless steel saucier over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Drop carrot ribbons into the bubbling syrup, simmer 30 seconds, then shut off the heat. When cool enough to handle, fish out a ribbon and let the excess syrup drip off.
Holding the skinny end with your dominant hand, twist and wrap a carrot ribbon around itself to form a "bud." Continue twisting and wrapping to create the remaining petals, then tuck the end of the strip underneath itself. If you like, more strips can be added to create a larger rose. Place on a fully frosted Brown Butter Carrot Cake, repeating with additional carrot roses to create a lush bouquet.
Vegetable peeler, 2-quart stainless steel saucier
For a fancy, luminous effect, dissolve a few grams of pale gold luster dust in a tablespoon of lemon juice to brush over the finished roses.