Smith & Wollensky
Smith & Wollensky's Carrot Cake is served in a slab-style cut, featuring four even layers of a dense, black walnut-studded cake, heavy on the spices and grated carrots. It's delicious in forkfuls with an excess of butter-smooth cream cheese frosting. Remember, you don't need to come for a whole meal to have this cake. Just stop by the grill side of the restaurant during off-hours and they're glad to serve dessert alone.
The orange color in Boubouki's Carrot Bread comes from both grated carrots and fresh oranges. A citrus spin on your ordinary carrot bread, it's abundant with cinnamon and black walnuts. Each thick-cut slice is $3. The crumb is loose, so tender that if you attempt to pick up the whole slice at once, it will simply crumble apart. (Also keep an eye out for Boubouki's Pear Cake. Served by the generous wedge, it's made with olive oil and comes studded with fresh pears, a note of cinnamon lingering in each bite.)
At Buvette, Carrot Cake Spoon Bread ($4) is served warm with a crunchy sugar-dusted surface and a mound of whipped cream cheese frosting. They sometimes serve it with a silky whipped cream fraiche, and I'm happy with either. This requires a spoon; it's a perfect, gentle sweet snack for one with espresso on the side. The spoon bread is dotted in chopped walnuts and carrots grated thinly enough to blend, but not so thin that you can't see the streaks throughout the dense, moist crumb.
At the Doughnut Plant, the Carrot Cake Doughnut is among their best cake doughnut flavors (though it's impossible to pick a favorite!), the icing-dipped surface sprinkled with chopped walnuts and sweet carrot bits, the center featuring a ring of buttery cream cheese frosting running through the core.