Humble, homey, (relatively?) healthy - a carrot cake is deeply satisfying both to the heart and to the stomach. Even the mere thought of it fills the mouth with the warm scent of spices and the earthy carrot, and the stiff cream cheese frosting...ah. Further embellished with crunchy walnuts and juicy raisins, the moist crumbling decadence seems invincible as it is: it is perfect.
Having immigrated from England to the new world, it has become an icon in the history of American sweets. Less cloying than a Mississippi mud pie, more interesting than a pumpkin pie; and unlike an apple pie, you will never get a soggy bottom to dampen your spirit.
While the white icing seems to steal the show, a carrot cake cannot exist, what else, without the carrots - be it grated or minced or mashed. Raisins (currants are too sour) and walnuts (pecans too strong) are also necessary members of this enterprise. Furthermore, to carry the heavy slice all the way to the finishing line, a medley of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger is required. Along with a cup of black coffee to fight through the fat and sugar, and the resulting afternoon daze, that is.
However, ZiZi Bake's carrot cake has none of that. While it retains the requisite carrot and the cream cheese, it contains no raisins, no walnuts and is not spiced even with a hint of cinnamon. The soft cake is crumbly and moist, but it is neither heavy nor oily. Due to the very absence of other accompaniments, the sweetness of the carrot is direct. After all these years of addition, ZiZi Bake has stripped the carrot cake of all the extras and reverted the recipe to simpler times: when sugar was not widely available and people had to make do with whatever sweetness they could find.
Even the rawness of the earth is infused in every crumbly and moist bite; it awakens the eater to the fact that carrot is a root - not merely a cute accessory to cute Peter Rabbit (or not so cute Bugs Bunny) which is buried and grows in the earth.
Its strength, however, is as gentle as the Mother Earth. The nutty wholewheat flour lays the foundation of the flavor, while the carrot grows into spears of pecans - roasted to a fragrant and light crisp. In-between, a cap of thick cream cheese connects the earth to the palate.
Switching between a bite of just the carrot cake, a bit with the pecans, a bite with the cream cheese frosting and a bite with everything, the carrot seems to take on new dimensions and to open up new horizons.
Spices, raisions, walnuts - they remain dear to the heart of a carrot cake connoisseur; nonetheless, perhaps it is time to outgrow and shoot up into a new world, proud and erect, like ZiZi Bake's carrot cake.
Address: 2-3-2 Minami Shinmachi, Miyamoto Building 2F, Chuo-Ku, Osaka
Phone: None provided.
Opening hours: Uncertain (usually closed on Mondays and Tuesdays).