Thursday, 16 May 2019

LOVE and Carrot CAKE.

I have been a little MIA for the past month and the reason is because of love. Well, a wedding to be exact but a wedding really is just a big ball of love so, I have been MIA because of love. And cake. Lots of cake.

Cake has been all I've thought about for the past couple of months and now the love birds are husband and wifey, I'm not quite sure what to do to fill my nights after work. No more cake testing or tasting or making. I'll tell you what... it was very fun to be back in a kitchen. I know it was just my own kitchen but I was making cakes with almost a kilo of butter in them and 15 eggs. I think our apartment must have smelt amazing to the neighbours all month long.

I made three cakes. A carrot cake with cream cheese icing, a rich chocolate cake sandwiched with dark chocolate ganache and iced in chocolate buttercream, and a vanilla butter cake layered with vanilla buttercream and rhubarb and vanilla jam. All topped with beautiful blooms on the day.

My biggest relief was that they arrived totally unharmed. They survived the 2 hour car trip! Yay! I practically skipped them to the fridge when we arrived and unboxed the cake boxes from their extra sturdy car packaging which was a giant eski and moving tub and lots of beach towels to secure them in. These puppies did not budge! The party-ing could now happen, the cakes had made it and so had we. Bring on the wine and dancing and friends and the big potato and celebrations and love and open fires and bunting and just a really really beautiful weekend celebrating the special couple and love. All the love.

I was pretty proud of them all dressed up with their flower crowns on, looking dashing. I think all three were delicious and I think I think others did too... unless everyone was just being very nice or I'd had too much wine... it could also be a combo of both.

Anyway, thought I'd share the carrot cake recipes I used here. Sorry no pics on the inside of the cake... I'd had too much fun and wine at this point in the night to even think of taking a photo of the cut cake for my lovely reader. Selfish, I know. You'll just have to make it find our for your self.

Carrot Cake

makes one 20-cm round cake (using two 20-cm round cake tins)
Recipe adapted from What to Bake and How to Bake it by Jane Hornby.
*For the wedding cake pictured, I tripled the recipe and used two 30cm round cake tins.

100g walnuts
200ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
250g plain flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
200g light brown soft sugar
1 orange
3 eggs
250g carrots, peeled and coarsely grated (roughly 300g whole carrots)

Preheat your oven to 180C (160C fan forced). Spread the nuts over a baking tray and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until golden and toasty (you can normally smell this). Cool, then roughly chop. Toasting the nuts will give an extra depth of flavour to the cake but if you are in a hurry, just chop the nuts and use as is.

While you wait, get everything else ready. Grease two 20cm round cake tins with a little oil, then line with baking paper.

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt together then sift into a large bowl. Add the sugar and work it in with your fingers until evenly blended. This helps break up any lumps of sugar you may have. Finely zest the orange into the bowl of the dry ingredients. Juice the orange into a small jug and save for later.

Crack your eggs into a large measuring jug with the oil and 2 tablespoons of the orange juice. Whisk together well.

Pour the oil mixture into the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Add the nuts and then the carrots, and stir until evenly blended. If the batter seems stiff, add 1 tablespoon more orange juice. Divide the batter between prepared tins.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are golden and have risen, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in tins on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn out of the tins and cool completely.

Make the cream cheese icing. Recipe below.

To assemble and ice the cakes: Your cakes need to be cool and not even the teensiest bit warm! Even stick them in the fridge for 15 minutes (no longer) before icing. You'll thank me.

Place one cake down on your serving plate or cake board and dollop enough icing on top so that it is about 1cm thick when spread all over. Don't worry if it falls down the sides right now. Then place the other cake on top, top side down, bum side up. Brush off any crumbs that are hanging on or around your work surface to stop them making your icing dirty. Using the remaining icing, cover the sides and top of the cake.

If you like, you can do a crumb coat, which is a thin coating to lock in any stray crumbs and then place your cake in the fridge for 15 minutes for the icing to semi set. Then a thicker coating of icing to cover the cake properly.

Decorate with some walnuts or flowers or how ever your wish!

Cream Cheese Icing

makes enough to ice one 20 to 25-cm round cake
recipe from The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak
*For the wedding cake pictured, I doubled the recipe to cover a 30-cm round cake.

200g unsalted butter, softened
250g cream cheese (take out of the fridge about 15 minutes before using)
750g icing mixture/icing sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the butter until it is light and creamy. Add the cream cheese and beat well. Scrape down the bowl to make sure all butter and cream cheese are incorporated together. Gradually add in the icing mixture and beat on a low speed for 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl, then add the vanilla and beat for another 5 minutes.

The icing can be kept at room temperature for a couple of hours, otherwise store it in the fridge for up to one week. Before using, remove from the fridge and let soften for about 20 minutes, then whip again for about 4 to 5 minutes.

NOTE: Use a timer; the beating will take longer than you realise.


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