Monday, 4 April 2011

Carrot Cake

Recipe Number 17: Page 58.

My favourite cake has to be the carrot cake. For me a good carrot cake has to be moist, light, have a delicious cream cheese icing and, above all else, be carroty! So I was really looking forward to trying out Mary Berry's recipe. Scanning through the list of ingredients, I was a little disappointed to see bananas were included. I have made a few carrot cakes in my time and always preferred them without bananas, as I think they tend to overpower the carrot.

As it was Mothering Sunday, we had asked Neil's parents and brother to come round for tea. The invitation would have extended to my family, had a hundred miles and The Solent not separated us!

To get back to the cake, I greased my deep cake tin and placed the flour, butter and sugar into my mixer. I dug out my bag of carrots from the fridge (yes I keep them in the fridge) and put three of the fattest carrots into my weighing scales. They were way too heavy. In the end I rather surprisingly needed slightly less than two of my skinniest (after they had been topped, tailed and peeled)! So not as carroty as I might of hoped. I started to grate the carrot into my mixing bowl using the 'tiny hole’ side of the grater. After noticing that I was just creating a pulp, I quickly changed over to the 'coarse' side!

I had brought a small bag of chopped walnuts, hoping to save time. Pah! No such luck, the pieces were practically halves, so I had to break them up by hand. I spent ages trying to pick off the papery husk, but in the end I got bored and threw the lot in! Thankfully, I didn't have to worry about butter as oil is used instead. All I had to do was measure and pour in. Last of all. I added the mashed banana. Earlier, having peeled them, I had weighed the bananas just out of interest. They were twice the weight of the carrots. It appeared to me that I was baking a banana cake rather than a carrot one!

As I added the cake mixture into what I had previously thought to be deep cake tin, I realised that I didn't have enough room, uh – oh! I had to leave room for the cake to rise, so I took out about two tablespoons of cake mixture. I anxiously watched the cake rise in the oven, praying that it wouldn't spill out of the tin. Good job I had omitted those two tablespoons, as the cake rose up very quickly and I believe it would have spilled over and thus spelled disaster!! Obviously my tin is not as deep as I had previously thought.

After the cake came out of the oven, I let it cool in the tin for about ten minutes before inverting it onto a wire rack. When I went to do so, I noticed the cake had sunk back down and was now level with the top of the tin. However, when tested, the cake appeared to be well cooked.

This recipe requires a lot of washing up. I had to wash up my mixing bowl and whisks so that I could make the cream cheese icing, groan! But I quickly cheered up as I was chuffed I'd not been fooled by the fact that oil is used in the cake, I had read ahead and seen I would need softened butter in the icing. I congratulated myself on having carefully read the recipe first – something I have tended not to do – however, pride often comes before a fall. I quickly realised that I should have sifted the icing sugar before adding it in – tsk! That’s what comes from talking too much and not concentrating on the job in hand. I still can’t believe I didn’t think to sift it – a rookie mistake!

Using the electric whisk, I whisked the mixture for quite some time to try to get rid of the tiny pieces of icing sugar! I carefully smoothed the combined mixture on top of my cake and added some walnut halves as decoration. I was pleased with the way it looked and I think it went down well with everyone. The cake was moist but maybe not as light as I would have liked. I could taste a hint of carrot, but the bananas were more obvious. So a lovely carrot cake, but maybe not for you if you are not a lover of bananas!
I'm quite proud of my carrot cake!

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