Carrot cake and the cat

Baking with the kids always seem like a good idea, that is until we actually start baking. Then I always end up wishing I had about eight arms and able to clone myself {and I only have two kids!}. My 5-year-old how now reached the stage where she’s really only interested in licking the bowl, whereas my 2-year-old is still all too interested in helping out. And by helping out I mean trying to cover every conceivable surface in flour, and mixing the strangest things together. {Here’s a previous example of Little Fingers exploits}
Baking with the kids

The other day we were making a carrot cake. If I had to move the packet of flour once I had to move it a dozen times. And the spice jars. And the eggs. And the sugar. Not to mention the box grater. You get the picture. After moving all the ingredients around the kitchen about a million times we finally managed to mix the correct amount of the relevant ingredients into a smooth batter and the cake went into the oven.Carrot cake

After the allocated time I went to check on the cake, only to notice it looked unusually pale and even though it had risen, it looked a bit weird. When I took it out to check it was still very wobbly in the middle, which I thought was quite strange as it had been in for the full time. Then I noticed the oven temperature was set to half of what it should have been! Little Fingers strike again!! I turned it up to the correct temperature and left it in for almost the same amount of time again. Once it eventually was fully baked, it did have a bit of a sugary crust on top, and it did sink a bit in the middle, but after cutting the crust off it looked pretty much as it should and there was nothing wrong with the taste!Reaching for the carrot cake

I started writing this post on Saturday, which is when we had the last piece of the cake for a chilly ‘fika’ out on the deck. While enjoying some rare winter sunshine with the cake, our friendly ginger neighbourhood cat {which we have seen a lot of in recent weeks} came past and tried to sneak a piece of the cake from my youngest plate. As I didn’t think it would be quite to his liking, I got it some ham instead {which definitely was to his liking!}.Cake and the cat

Today I sadly learned the cat has been run over, and didn’t make it. It had been visiting us practically daily over the last couple of weeks, and at times it felt like we had been adopted by it. It was such as kind and gentle cat, he didn’t mind the kids fussing over it {he happily stayed on the trampoline while the kids were jumping on it} and he would turn on the full charm offensive to get you to feed it {he famously waited hours on the fence while my husband was painting it before being ‘rewarded’ with some ham }. It will be sorely missed by the whole family!
The friendly ginger cat

Carrot Cake
Adapted from Leila Lindholm’s Carrot cake.

Ingredients

Cake
3 eggs
300 ml granulated sugar
300 ml plain flour
0.5 tsp vanilla extract
3 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
0.5 tbsp green cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed
1 tsp ground ginger
1 pinch of salt
150 ml sunflower oil
2 medium carrots, grated (about 500 ml)

Cream Cheese Frosting
60g soft butter
400 g icing sugar
0.5 tsp vanilla extact
100 g cream cheese

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 150 degrees and prepare a cake tin.
2) Beat the eggs and sugar until white and fluffy.
3) Mix all the dry ingredients and fold them into the egg mixture.
4) Add the sunflower oil and grated carrots.
5) Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for about 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
6) Leave the cake to cool.
7) Mix all the ingredients for the cream cheese frosting and whisk until creamy and smooth.
8) Spread the frosting over the top of the carrot cake.

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Bonfire brownies

“Remember remember the 5th November.” Tomorrow (Monday) is the official bonfire night in the UK, however in most places celebrations took place yesterday. A friend of mine had invited us round for some hot chocolate after watching the fireworks down at the seafront and I decided to bring along some bonfire brownies in honour of the occasion.
Bonfire brownie

I had found a recipe on the BBC Food website that I decided to adapt. It mentioned a spicy chocolate would work well in it, and I would have loved to try the new Green and Black’s Spiced Chilli bar but as I hadn’t planned ahead, I only had plain chocolate in at home. Instead I added a bit of cayenne pepper to give it some heat {which was well needed on a cold November night!}. I didn’t want to add too much as some of the kids might have it, so I only added a pinch, but I could probably have used a full 1/4 teaspoon measure without it being too hot. These ended up having a gentle warmth to them which worked great with hot chocolate, or in my case – mulled wine. {Yum}
Bonfire brownies

Bonfire brownies

Ingredients

150g butter
100g dark chocolate
40g cocoa powder
a pinch of cayenne pepper
100g plain flour
300g sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
100g marshmallows, chopped

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 190C. Line a 21cm square tin.
2) Gently melt the butter and chocolate together.
3) Mix the cocoa powder, cayenne pepper, flour and sugar and then add to the butter and chocolate mixture (off the heat).
4) Mix in the eggs a little at the time and finally fold in the marshmallows.
5) Pour the brownie mixture into the tin and bake for about 20 minutes, until the surface has set but still feels squidgy underneath. Allow to cool before slicing.

Bonfire brownie crumbs