Barefoot Contessa: 2 of Ina Garten’s ‘Favorite Flavors’ Are in Her Carrot Cake With Ginger Mascarpone Frosting

Everyone has flavors they love and Ina Garten’s no different. The Barefoot Contessa host’s Carrot Cake With Ginger Mascarpone Frosting includes two of her favorites. Hint: One of them is a Barefoot Contessa classic Garten makes at home. 

Ina Garten likes to ‘turn up the volume’ on her flavors

Ina Garten smiles while speaking during 'Ina Garten Talks With Helen Rosner' at the 2019 New Yorker Festival
Ina Garten | Brad Barket/Getty Images for The New Yorker

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The Barefoot Contessa has a lot of catchphrases. “Isn’t that fabulous?,” “How easy is that?,” and “Store-bought is fine,” are some of her most popular. But those aren’t her only ones. Watch enough episodes of Garten’s cooking show and notice she also has a habit of saying, “Turn up the volume.” The 73-year-old likes to “turn up the volume” on her flavors. 

Garten’s known for creating simple recipes but she always wants them to be packed with flavor. She often uses coffee to make chocolate taste more intense in desserts. The Barefoot Contessa also roasts chicken with the skin on for better-tasting chicken salad. 

The Barefoot Contessa adds cinnamon and vanilla extract to her carrot cake

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Garten adds two of her favorite flavors to make for what she’d call a “fabulous” carrot cake. On Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like a Pro Season 10 Episode 5: “Birthday Boat Party,” she made an elevated version of the classic recipe. 

Preparing the batter for her Carrot Cake With Ginger Mascarpone Frosting, the cookbook author let fans in on some of her favorite flavors. While adding the wet and dry ingredients together, Garten referred to cinnamon and vanilla as “two of my favorite flavors,” according to a video on The Food Network’s YouTube channel. 

Garten doesn’t just like any old vanilla extract. She bakes with “good” vanilla. What does that mean? In Barefoot Contessa-speak it means vanilla of the highest quality. Garten’s recommended vanilla brand is Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla extract. She also makes homemade vanilla extract, something she’s been doing for nearly 40 years. 

How to make the Barefoot Contessa’s Carrot Cake With Ginger Mascarpone Frosting

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According to The Food Network’s website, Garten’s Carrot Cake With Ginger Mascarpone Frosting is classified as an “easy” recipe to make. It takes three hours, including cooling time, to prepare. 

Here’s how the Barefoot Contessa does it. She mixes together sugar, oil, and eggs before adding vanilla extract. In another bowl, she sifts together all the dry ingredients. Then the contents of both bowls are combined. 

Then comes the quintessential carrot cake ingredients. Garten coats the carrots, raisins, and walnuts in flour so they don’t sink to the bottom of the cake. After adding the mix-ins to the batter, the mixture’s divided between two pans and baked. 

Finally, the frosting gets made. All the ingredients are mixed together except for the salt and crystallized ginger, which are added at the end. Once the cakes are cooled, the frosting goes on and the carrot cake is ready to eat. 

Ingredients for the carrot cake:

  • Sugar
  • Vegetable oil
  • Eggs
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Cinnamon
  • Baking soda
  • Kosher salt
  • Carrots
  • Raisins
  • Walnuts

Ingredients for the ginger mascarpone frosting:

  • Italian mascarpone cheese
  • Cream cheese
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Heavy cream
  • Vanilla extract
  • Crystallized ginger 
  • Kosher salt