We’ve tasted a lot of great carrot cake in Boulder on our Coffee and Pastry tours when we stop at The Cup. Wendy Ball, owner, baker, and recipe-creator, is really proud of her carrot cake and everyone on tour always agrees it’s fantastic. That led to the question: Who in town makes the best carrot cake? To find out, we decided to throw a Carrot Cake Throwdown.
In just a few days we organized a sweet event at Savory Spice Shop here in Boulder featuring all of the best bakers/bakeries/bake shoppes/bakehouses… I think you get the point. Here’s who jumped in to the throwdown right away:
The Cup, Tee & Cakes, Spruce Confections, Piece Love & Chocolate, Kim & Jake’s Cakes, Shamane’s Bake Shoppe, Lucky’s Bakehouse, and The Tasterie Truck. We asked Chef Hosea Rosenberg to be a judge along with Dan Hayward (owner of the Boulder Savory Spice Shop), and Clay Fong (restaurant reviewer for The Boulder Weekly). The day before the event, SALT the Bistro called and asked to be added to the lineup. That made nine carrot cakes… and that is A LOT of carrot cake, friends.
By 1:00 pm, Savory Spice Shop was packed and we think close to one hundred people came through the doors to taste these creations. Here are some photos of the event-
The judges tasted their way to the following decisions:
- Best Frosting: SALT the Bistro
- Moistest: The Tasterie Truck
- Most Original: Tee & Cakes
- Best Overall Carrot Flavor: Spruce Confections
The public had a voice in this too, and the winners of the popular vote were:
- Best Frosting: Shamane’s Bake Shoppe
- Moistest: The Tasterie Truck
- Most Original: Piece Love & Chocolate
- Best Overall Carrot Flavor: Shamane’s Bake Shoppe
In the end, this was a really fun afternoon at Savory Spice Shop here in Boulder. It was impressive to see how many people came out to taste some of the finest expressions of carrot cake in town. Stay tuned for the next Local Table Tours Throwdown. We’re excited to do it again!
I asked my friend Evan Faber, the illustrious Beverage Director at Boulder’s now-famous SALT the Bistro (and master-mind behind The Cocktail Element), for a must-try holiday cocktail recipe. Evan gave me a recipe for one of his favorites, and, I must say- he has good taste. This is definitely a seasonal beverage that I’ll be enjoying throughout the winter, not just over the holidays.
- 1.5 oz Reposado Tequila
- .5 oz Peppermint Schnapps or Rumple Minze
- a cup of rich hot chocolate
- dash of cayenne
When I first read this recipe I was a little unsure of the tequila-peppermint combination. It didn’t sound like it intuitively went together, and, though I didn’t doubt Evan per se, I didn’t exactly rush out to buy Rumple Minze right away. But, I should have! I could have been enjoying this now for a couple weeks!
I used some Savory Spice Shop hot chocolate, which is a rich, smooth, and chocolately hot chocolate. I’ll need to stock up on cocoa because “Chocolate en Fuego” is officially my new favorite winter-time drink… after Maple Scotch, of course!
Last Wednesday was a another beautiful day for a tour through downtown Boulder! When we met on Pearl Street, there were hundreds of people milling around, enjoying all the performers and the sights and sounds of a perfect Colorado afternoon. We walked down Pearl Street to our first stop – Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant.
At Leaf, the group enjoyed 3 perfectly plated samples: A Raw Wrap with swiss chard and basil almond pâté, Raw Ravioli with beet, and Buffalo Seitan with blue cheese, carrot and celery salad paired with a Spanish white wine from Catalunya. All our tour groups have enjoyed the beautifully appointed dining room, as well as the samples of delicious creations by Chef Steve Dustin.
We continued on to SALT, where a brandy cocktail with a honey cardamom simple syrup was waiting for us. We sat at the bar overlooking the impressive kitchen. Evan, the Beverage Director at SALT, talked with us about mixing the perfect cocktail, and pairing wine with our food samples. Executive Chef Kevin Kidd talked with us about sourcing local ingredients as we enjoyed crostini with butter, radish and arugula; followed by prosciutto wrapped asparagus, Hazel Dell Mushroom and Haystack goat cheese in filo; all paired with a California Gewurtztraminer. The extra special treat at the end of our visit was a sample of SALT’s famous dark chocolate caramel salt tart.
Before continuing to our next partner restaurant, we stopped at Savory Spice Shop to talk with Dan about the variety of spices and seasoning mixes he carries at his shop. We sampled different kinds of cinnamon from around the world, freeze dried corn, and candied ginger. The staff at Savory paired up with our tour guests and expertly helped us through seasonings to use with some of our favorite dishes.
As we walked up to the Boulderado Hotel, a bridal party was checking in to this beautiful, historic hotel. The dining room at Q’s is elegant, and we sat on the restaurant’s enclosed glass porch to enjoy the Chef’s garden greens with house smoked salmon and capers, paired with Q’s signature orange- cranberry spritzer. Q’s manager talked with us about the variety of programs and initiatives they use to be as sustainable as possible, including using wind power and partnering with a local biodiesel company.
We ended our tour at the bustling Boulder Farmers’ Market. First, we took in the sites and sounds of the busy market, stopping to sample Sugar Snap peas from Munson Farms (one of the original farms to participate in the market over 20 years ago), and popcorn from Boulder Popcorn. Then we met up with Antonio Laudisio, who cooked us pizza in his brick pizza oven using Hazel Dell mushrooms. We topped off our tour with a small scoop of all-natural, vanilla ice cream from Boulder Ice Cream.
If you would like to experience Boulder’s culinary scene for yourself, please click here for a listing of upcoming tours. We look forward to seeing you on a future tour. Each tour varies slightly, and as different seasonal ingredients become available, our chefs will change up what they share with us.
Julie and Megan