Monday, 21 June 2010

Because it's my party and I'll cry if I want to

I'm not a birthday person. I'm not opposed to birthdays generally, but it's my own birthdays I dread. This is mainly because I get "Oh, congratulations you're another year older - you really ought and to be thinking about producing grandchildren for me as you're really not getting any younger" looks from the outlaws. I can see it in their eyes when they coo over photos of my nephew.

What they don't understand I've spent the last ten years working with horrible chemicals. They also don't seem to understand that I actually enjoy working with horrible chemicals. There are probably multiple spelling mistakes in my DNA thanks to a decade of mutagens - and just because you can sort of read text speak doesn't mean you should use it to communicate. I hit snooze on my biological clock a long time ago.

Anyway. Birthdays mean cake. And making cake to bring to work. I've sort of shot myself in the foot over the past year or so with bringing cakes to work as they have become gradually more and more intricate. It's getting to the stage that I just feel like going to the deli, peeling the stickers off and pretending it took me hours; which I admit is slightly more than tempting at the moment. Simple is the way forward today though - it's too hot for chocolate cake and I don't have time to make something elaborate as it's exam time up here and I'm buried under the marking pile. Plus I'm a simple soul, this is my favourite cake in the whole world and it's my birthday so I'm choosing. So there.

Eggs. Four. Lightly beaten apparently - according to my notes; in practice hit with the hand whisk for a bit. 250 g of sugar added and beaten again until it's pretty homogenous.

This is a butter free cake; not intentionally, but one time I went to make it and realised there was no butter and you have to get some lipids from somewhere, so I added an equivalent mass of oil instead and it tasted far far better. I've stuck with that ever since. Add 185 ml of oil. This gets whipped in too. I've tried adding it gradually in a slow and gentle stream, but to be honest, it doesn't make any difference what so ever.

Beat like mad for a bit until it's bubbly.

I use self raising flour here, with a 1/2 a teaspoon of baking powder thrown in. 300 g, stirred in gently.

Carrots. Life is too short to grate carrots, so I tend to throw them in the food processor. You need 400 g of grated carrots. I use a fine grating disc as I don't want it to look like any vegetables came anywhere near this.

Dried fruit. I actually never measure this, it's optional anyway - but normally what I do is plop a handful in a bowl and throw about 15 ml (3 tablespoons) of cointreau on it and let it sit for a bit. You can use orange juice instead if you want. I also throw the zest of one orange, a teaspoon of cinnammon, a pinch of ground cloves and teaspoon of vanilla extract too.

Walnuts too. Carrot cakes contain walnuts. I like walnuts, so there are a lot in here. About 100 grams, corsely chopped.

Stir to combine. It looks like orange snot at this point and it's really runny, but that's okay.

Cake form - this is a silicone ring form 35 cm in diameter. I've coated the inside with cake release as this mixture makes a soft cake that will stick unless the tin is greased. If you are using a normal form lining it will make it easier to remove the final product.

Bake for about an hour at 180 C until a skewer comes out clean. Leave it to cool in the tin with a cloth over it. It will fragment if you try to turn it out when it's warm, so leave it alone until it's cold.

Frosting next. I tend to use a cream cheese frosting for this cake. It's quite sweet, but it seems to work okay. 100 g of softened butter, 100 g soft cheese beaten together.

Add enough icing sugar (it will be a lot of sugar - about 1/3 of a kilo, but it will depend on how wet your cheese is) to make a fluffy paste. I do this with an electric whisk as it's quite soft. I don't add any other liquid to it as I think orange flavoured frosting is very very wrong. Apply to cold cake with the back of a spoon or a palette knife.

I tend to make it sort of fluffy.

Top with more walnuts, a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of orange zest.

The only bad thing about this cake is that I have to share it :)


Mrs Mac said...

Ooh yum! I love a good cake recipe. I might just have to try that one out. Hope you have a good birthday even if you don't particular want to celebrate it x

Mrs Mac said...

I meant 'particularly' (obviously!)

NOfkantsCurios said...

Looks so yummy! My hubby can only have whole meal / whole grain .... every thing. Basically brown food is okay (prior to it being cooked that is) So your recipe with wholemeal flour might just be the ticket.

I'll know you'll hate me for it, but happy birthday!

Natalie x

Sugarmice said...

Awwh, thank you! I had a really nice day :) It does work with wholemeal flour; just chuck in a lot of baking powder to lift it. It works with other random grated vegtables too - I've made it with mixtures of squash and courgettes before as well as I had a challenge to feed a junk addicted friend as many vegtables as possible without him noticing :)

averilpam said...

That looks really yummy :)