Shaped like a small cylinder and capped with a decadent, thick, cream cheese-frosting, it is easy to see why pastry chef Rose Carrarini called her version “a number one best-seller” in her 2006 cookbook “Breakfast, Lunch, Tea” (Phaidon Press Limited, London).
Carrarini opened the Rose Bakery in Paris with her husband in 2002. The couple delighted Parisian palates with their Anglo-French fare. Success led to expansion, with a store opening up in London first and then in Seoul in 2010.
Na Hoon-young, owner of the Korean branch, explained the philosophy behind their no-frills food in three words ― “simple, natural, and high quality.”
Organic flour and French AOC (Appellation d’Origine Controlee) butter are used to bake their carrot and banana pound cakes.
“We have no storage refrigerators,” he expounded upon the freshness of their goods. “We make it the day of, eat it the day of and then discard any leftovers.”
Behind the counter, a huge basket full of earth-covered carrots, glinting orange from under their coat of dirt, testify to the land-to-mouth concept of the place.
The carrots will be washed, prepared and mixed with butter, cinnamon, minute bits of walnut and other ingredients to create the bakery’s delicious dessert.
Banana pound cake is also a fixture of the menu, served up thick, glazed and slightly grainy.
Opting for a minimal approach to the classic, Amandier eschews glaze and frosting for their banana and wholemeal carrot muffins. Helmed by executive pastry chef Ruben Jan Adriaan, the Anguk-dong cafe originally aimed for a classic French vibe, according to sous chef Louis Heng, until customers asked for muffins.
The conclusion was “okay, maybe it’s a good idea” said Heng. Incredibly moist, compact morsels, baked fresh every morning, became a standard item at the boulangerie-patisserie.
Heng revealed the secret to their carrot muffin’s mind-boggling softness. The carrot is soaked in milk in advance.
Rich with spices, Amandier’s take on the timeless dessert is a perfect breakfast pick-me-up, great sliced in half and sandwiched around nubs of butter or by itself, with a hot cup of coffee. Dessert Destinations
1. The Cheesecake
Located in Dongbuichon-dong, The Cheesecake is open from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily. Apple and nut cake costs 4,400 won per slice and 31,000 won whole. Carrot cake, zucchini and banana bread cost 3,800 won per slice and 25,000 won whole. Varieties available per slice vary. Whole cakes need to be ordered two days in advance. To get there go to Ichon Subway Station Line 4, Exit 4 and walk two blocks. Cross the street, turn left and walk approximately three more blocks. For more information call (02) 794-7949.
2. Rose Bakery
Located in Hannam-dong near Hangangjin Subway Station Line 6, Exit 1, Rose Bakery is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, with cakes available from 10 a.m. until they are sold out. Carrot cake costs 7,000 won, banana pound cake 5,000 won. For more information call (02) 790-7225.
Located in Anguk-dong near Anguk Subway Station Line 3, Exit 1, Amandier is open from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Banana and wholemeal carrot muffins cost 2,500 won. For more information call (02) 736-9651 or visit www.amandier.co.kr.
By Jean Oh (firstname.lastname@example.org