There’s been plenty going on around here, but not much of it particularly exciting I’m afraid. We’ve had a couple of new technological advances round at Chez Cookie the last few weeks with the addition of new mobile phones (LG KC910 Renoirs) and shiny new pooters (desk top for Kendo, laptop for me). I’m totally in love with my new phone. It’s got Wi-Fi and an 8MP camera (what more could I ask for mobile blogging? – well, I could ask that my free internet access start before my next billing date, but it doesn’t so I have to wait until the beginning of May *sniff* - but other than that, no much).
The new pooters are fab (although they’re running Windows Vista which is taking a little bit of getting used to) and they’re about to be teamed up with Virgin Media 20Mb broadband – so there should be no stopping us! (from waffling crap at you ;)).
On the crafty side of things I’ve made a couple of small project – namely little pouches for the aforementioned new mobiles and I also finished lining my SILs Scottish Widows cloak in the nick of time for her birthday present. It was a big project (stretchy cloak + not so stretch satin lining fabric caused a few niggles) and I was terrified of making a balls up of it (mostly for fear my SIL would sneak into the house and stab me in my sleep should I make a mess of it!). I have requested that next year she asks for something a little easier for her present – the gall bladders from several Amazonian pygmies maybe?
Other than those few sewing projects I’ve mostly been on a baking gig lately. I have spells where I get the baking bug (usually when I’m supposed to be on a health kick – which doesn’t really work out, I think it’s probably a subconscious backlash against the idea of a diet!). I’ve made a couple of batches of berry muffins (one with raspberries and blackberries, one with raspberries and blueberries) which haven’t lasted long enough to photograph and yesterday I was prompted by the ladies in my office to have a crack at carrot cake (not something I’ve made before, I don’t normally do big cakes, only cupcakes/muffins). I haven’t tasted it yet, but it looks yummy.
Here’s my favourite part. Little marzipan carrots waiting patiently on their icing sugar dusted plate to go on top of the cake.
Aren’t they sweet?
It probably seems a strange thing to do, but I remember distinctly the first time I ever tasted (and indeed had ever seen) a carrot cake. I’d gone on a shopping trip with a school friend and her Mother to the next town over from us (not somewhere I had been very often). We had lunch in a little café and there was carrot cake in the counter display that had these little marzipan carrots on top. I remember being completely mermerised by them and amazed by the fact that you could make cake with carrots. I tried a piece and I’ve loved carrot cake ever since, so I couldn’t not make these to go on top of mine.
Here’s the finished article:
And here’s the recipe:
12½ oz carrots
2 oz pecans
4 oz self-raising wholemeal flour
4 oz plain wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
8 fl oz vegetable oil
6 oz soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons’ golden syrup
7 oz cream cheese
2 oz softened unsalted butter
2 oz sifted icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
These quantities make a 9” round cake.
Start off by grating 12½ oz carrots and chopping 2 oz pecans. Put to one side.
Sieve together 4 oz self-raising flour and 4 oz plain flour (both wholemeal) with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, ½ teaspoon nutmeg and 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda. (Tip the bran bits left in the sieve into the mixture.)
Whisk together 8 fl oz vegetable oil, 6 oz soft brown sugar, 4 eggs and 2 tablespoons’ golden syrup. (Heat the spoon first and the syrup will slide off easily.)
Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until it’s nice and smooth. Stir in the carrots and pecans.
Tip the mixture into a greased lined tin and cook at 160oC for an hour, or until cooked.
For the topping, mix 7 oz cream cheese, 2 oz softened unsalted butter, 2 oz sifted icing sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, until smooth.
Allow the cake to cool and then add the topping
This cake will keep for a few days in an airtight container.
The recipe is from a website, somewhere, but I’ve had it in my “to try” folder for an eternity so I can’t remember where from. Maybe the Good Food Guide, or the Food Network? Somewhere like that.
On that note, it’s almost 11 o’clock, which means its time for elevenses, which means its time for tea and carrot cake. I hope it tastes as good as it looks!