Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cyrano's Carrot Cake: A Decadent Classic Dessert Perfect for Two Forks

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Welcome to Sugar High, a series devoted solely to spotlighting the best ways to sate a sweet tooth in St. Louis. We'll sample the best the city has to offer at restaurants, bakeries and holes-in-the-wall, and provide some insight on how these confections are made along the way.

Pastry chef Carolyn Downs' carrot cake. | Photos by Mabel Suen
  • Pastry chef Carolyn Downs' carrot cake. | Photos by Mabel Suen

Since 2003 Cyrano's (603 East Lockwood Avenue; 314-963-3232) has served up housemade sweets at its Webster Groves cafe so good that they've been named best desserts in RFT's best of St. Louis in both 2010 and 2013. There, guests will find everything from co-owner and pastry chef Carolyn Downs' flaming ice-cream desserts and root-beer floats to cream-filled profiteroles and warm bread pudding. To Downs, however, the mainstay of the menu manifests in simple yet decadent tortes, such as her carrot cake.

See also: Sugarfire Pie's Brand New Shop: A Sweet Slice of the Fifties in Olivette

An entire menu for desserts.
  • An entire menu for desserts.

"My cakes are very basic and very straightforward," she says, staying true to Cyrano's tradition of classic, uncompromising plates. "The cake will look like a cake -- I won't do any deconstruction."

The moist, dense dessert gets its texture and richness from several shredded fresh carrots and an oil-based (rather than butter-based) batter. Two substantial layers come filled and topped with an almond cream-cheese icing studded with flecks of toasted coconut. Portions are roughly the size of one's head, so order a slice for sharing.

Cyrano's caramel-brioche bread pudding.
  • Cyrano's caramel-brioche bread pudding.

And while you're at it, why not split a second dessert? Our pick is caramel-brioche bread pudding, a hearty and memorable dessert served warm for ultimate comfort. It begins with fluffy Companion brioche bread soaked in eggs and cream and comes together with a topping of cherry-bourbon sauce, a dusting of powdered sugar and a mound of fresh whipped cream. Thanks goodness for that extra dessert stomach. At Cyrano's, you're gonna need it.

Located in Webster Groves.
  • Located in Webster Groves.

Previously on Sugar High: - Whitebox Eatery's Cheese Pastry - Comet Coffee's Mousse Cakes - Whisk's Apple-Cinnamon "Pop Tartlets" - The London Tea Room's Blueberry-Lemon Cake - Corner 17's Fluffy Ice - The Fountain on Locust's "Banana Bourbon" Sundae - Vinnie's Pinwheel Baklava - Red Fox Baking & Catering's Lemon Tart - Sugarfire Smokehouse's Crack Pie - Russell on Macklind's Coconut Cake - The Kitchen Sink's Sweet Potato Fries - Giovanni's Kitchen's Panna Cotta Trio - Crepes Etc.'s Crepe Cake - Cafe Ventana's Beignets - Frida's Raspberry-Chocolate Avocado Mousse - India Palace's Gulab Jamun - Melt's "Violet Beauregarde" Waffle - Brevan's Patisserie's "Brendan" - Winslow's Home's Chocolate Cake with Espresso Meringue - La Patisserie Chouquette's Eclair - Black Bear Bakery's Raspberry Oat Bar - Gelateria's London Fog Gelato - 4 Seasons Bakery's German Cheesecake - Libertine's "Candy Bar" - Cleveland-Heath's Old Fashioned Cherry Pie - Schlafly Tap Room and Bottleworks' Sticky Toffee Pudding

We're always looking for some sweet ideas. E-mail the author at mabel.suen@riverfronttimes.com.

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