Bluedot Living will regularly run recipes and tips from Pascale Beale, the popular Santa Barbara-based chef, teacher, and cookbook author.
In the words of the late famed, French-born LA and DC chef Michel Richard, Pascale Beale’s food “reflects the essence of the seasons and she champions use of the freshest possible organic ingredients.” Beale talks a lot about the joy of eating with others and the importance of planning meals with friends and family. See her conversation with Bluedot contributing editor Catherine Walthers here.
Growing up in France and England, she told Walthers, she learned French classical culinary techniques from her grandmother, Provencal-Mediterranean cooking from her mother, and a love of good food from her father who took her along as he sampled the many Michelin-star restaurants in France. When she moved to California in 1985, she took to the cuisine like the proverbial duck to water and made it her own.
This recipe, which first ran on Beale’s website, was inspired by and adapted from a carrot cake recipe she saw being made by Australian cookbook author Donna Hay.
For the cake
1 lb (450 grams) carrots — peeled and chopped
1 ¼ cups (140 grams) pecans
3 oz dates — pitted and chopped
1 cup packed (200g) brown sugar
1/3 cup (75g) sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 ¾ cups (225g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
For the frosting
8 oz (250 grams) cream cheese — softened
4 oz (125 grams) mascarpone
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
4 oz granola (for topping)
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly oil an 8-inch spring form pan, and then line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
Place the carrots and pecans into a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until finely chopped. Add the dates and sugars and process again until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
Add the oil, yogurt, eggs and vanilla paste and process until just combined. It will look very wet at this stage – don’t panic!
Add the spices, flour, baking soda and baking powder and process for just a few seconds until the mixture has just come together.
Pour or scrape the cake batter into the prepared 8-inch round spring form pan. Bake for 50–55 minutes. When tested with a skewer it should come out just clean. Allow to cool in the tin. Once cooled, slice the cake in half, horizontally. Place the bottom half of the cake on a cake plate or cake stand.
To make the mascarpone frosting, place the cream cheese, mascarpone lemon juice and zest, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla in a food processor and process until smooth. This can be made ahead of time.
Spread one quarter of the frosting over the bottom layer of the cake. Place the second layer on top. Cover the entire cake with the remaining frosting and then top the cake with the granola.
Pascale Beale grew up in England and France surrounded by a family which has always been passionate about food, wine, and the arts. She was taught to cook by her French mother and grandmother. After graduating from Business School in London, and 15 years working in the property markets in California, she returned to her first passion, cooking. She opened the Pascale’s Kitchen Cooking School in 1999 which specializes in farmer’s market tours, seasonal cooking classes, bread making workshops and team building events. Her company also brings a range of culinary products, including her signature line of custom blended herbs and spices, oils and vinegars, kitchen and tableware, to its customers, making cooking pleasurable, delicious and fun. Pascale is also the author of 10 Mediterranean style, and ingredient focused cook books and is an award winning columnist for Edible Santa Barbara. She released her latest book, 9’ x 12’: Adventures in a Small Kitchen, Recipes for Stirring Times, a subscription based, multi-media book 9 x 12 | Pascale's Kitchen | Pascale Beale | Substack in January 2023.