Saturday, 16 April 2011

An early recipe: Carrot Cake

Vivid colours in Christchurch botanical gardens
Back (all the way back) in 2007, I sang in the choir at Christchurch Cathedral, NZ. It was a shock to see the cathedral spire in ruins in the recent earthquake, knowing I had sung in that beautiful building. Anyway, before my trip to NZ, I had occasionally baked with my mum on a spare Saturday afternoon, but that was it. April 2007 was the time I started baking for myself, in the tiny kitchen of another British bloke in the choir at that time, Robert Cross,with whom I stayed for my time in New Zealand.

Looking across some of the Port Hills to Christchurch
 I started with some simple muffins, but then a friend passed me a copy of the AWW magazine (I refuse to expand the acronym) dedicated to baking, and I delved into it, fascinated. One of the many things I tried was carrot cake, and this took up an entire evening, at the end of which I was exhausted. This was because it takes one and a half hours to cook. However, when I had put all of the batter into the loaf tin and put it in the oven, it immediately started to rise, at which point I went ".... ah." And removed half the batter from the tin. Unfortunately there was only one tin, so after the first cake had cooked, I had to empty the tin and wait another hour and a half for the second to cook! It was well worth the wait, though, and I have made it on many occasions since. By the way, Rob also plays and sings in his group (the genre of which will become clear) called This Country Needs More Country; check it out, there's good stuff on there!

Ooh... dirty dishes visible! Bad food blogger!

Carrot Cake

1 cup oil
 1 1/3 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
3 eggs
3 cups coarsely grated carrot
1 cup/120g chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 a cup chopped raisins
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp mixed spice

Cream cheese icing
30g butter
80g cream cheese, softened
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1.5 cups icing sugar

Grease a large loaf tin, line the base with greaseproof paper, grease paper.
Beat the oil, sugar and eggs in a large bowl (with electric mixer) until thick and creamy. Stir in carrot, nuts and raisins, then sifted/whisked dry ingredients.
Pour mixture into prepared pan, bake at 180 degrees C  for 45 minutes. Loosely cover with foil, bake another 45 minutes.
Stand for a few minutes before removing from pan to cool on a wire rack.

Beat butter, cheese, rind and juice in a small bowl until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in the icing sugar. Spread onto fully cooled cake, or meltage may occur; this happened to me, and it wasn't pretty.


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