Ever since I came to Paris, there is one particular place which I visit more than often. The small island in the heart of Paris, so close to the bustling centre of the city – Ile St.Louis. There is something enchanting about this place and its tiny streets and long quays, tall buildings with old inscriptions and wooden doors in all colours and sizes. No matter the weather people are happily strolling the island, standing in line to pick up a crêpe from one of the numerous crêperies or the famous Berthillon ice cream. In a scene so typical for Paris, people of all age will sit next to the river with a glass of wine in their hands and a baguette in their bags the moment the sun shows up.
As I was strolling through one of the streets of the island not so long ago, I was thinking about the reason I love this place so much. I realised everything here happens slowly. It is an exceptionally peaceful place and it is one of the rare places, if not the only one in the entire city, where I feel protected and serene. It is a village in the city’s heart, where time stopped, yet everything is moving and living on its own: the local bakery and cheese shop right on the main street, old-fashion bistros and brasseries with a medieval feel, a stationery shop and a bookseller so that you never get bored. You don’t ever need to step on to the bridges over the Seine to pass to the other side.
I often make a stop at Ile St.Louis to clear my head and get away from the tiring city. On the north-western point of the island is a magical place, called Place Louis Aragon. This is where I usually sit down, under the canopy of bustling trees, listening the whispering of the leaves and looking at their shadows which dance on the grey paved ground.
Almost regularly I will pick up flowers at local flower shop to bring a dash of the island’s beauty and serenity home with me.
Last time I was walking through the streets of the island I had a craving for carrot cake. I have never baked one before but have tasted many, so I passed the flower shop, picked up a bunch of white peonies and started searching for recipes.
This cake was inspired by one of my favourite blogs, Matters of the Belly and Noha’s beautiful recipe for wholewheat purple carrot cake with honey. I have baked it twice in the same week, adjusting it a bit to my own liking. It turned out to be a light, not too sweet, moist cake perfect to serve for breakfast with a scoop of cream cheese.
Honey and Small Spelt Flour Carrot Cake
100 g white flour
70 g small spelt flour (petit épeautre, einkorn)
1 tsp baking powder
60 mL honey
50 mL coconut oil, melted
50 mL olive oil
1/2 vanilla bean
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
pinch of salt
handful of almonds, roughly chopped
3 medium sized carrots, finely grated
Mix the flour, baking powder and spices. In another bowl whisk the eggs. Add the honey (or agave syrup), coconut oil and olive oil to the eggs and whisk well. Add the dry ingredients to the mixture and stir to combine using a spatula. Add the grated carrots and stir again until well combined. Pour the thick batter into a 22 cm round baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake at 180° C for 30 minutes (check with a toothpick if the cake is done).