I have to admit that carrot cake is not my favourite cake. That is not to say that I would ever refuse a slice if it was offered to me but it just would not be top of my list of favourite cakes. It is, however, my husband’s favourite cake. So with Father’s Day fast approaching I suggested to my daughter that we make a carrot cake as a surprise for her Dad. She was not impressed with the idea as her favourite would be a chocolate cake. After much persuasion she finally agreed and we decided we would make it on the Saturday. Saturday morning arrived and we were sitting round the table having breakfast when my daughter asked her Dad, “Dad, why do you have to like carrot cake?” That was it – the secret was out and my daughter still doesn’t understand how her Dad guessed he was getting a carrot cake for Father’s Day because she “never actually told him he was getting carrot cake.”
It was a very easy cake to make and went down a treat with our afternoon tea. It definitely gets better after a day or two so keep that in mind if you are going to make it.
You know those days when you fancy something sweet with your cup of tea but the cupboards are bare and you just can’t face a trip out to the shops.
Well I had one of those days yesterday.
I raided my cupboards and unearthed a selection of nuts and decided on making this simple and easy Almond Cake.
The kids were horrified when it came out the oven.
“It looks like bread” and “it hardly has any icing on it” were just a few of the complaints.
Of course they couldn’t resist just a little nibble and that was all it took to convince them that it was delicious. This almond cake is such a forgiving recipe and more often than not I have all the ingredients in my cupboard ready to go.
It is lovely and light and thanks to the Quark it is lower in fat than your average cake recipe.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
1. I use a fan assisted oven which I set to 160°C. All ovens vary so get to know your own oven and adjust the timings accordingly.
2. I have given the measurements for the loaf tin which I use. If you use a different size the cooking time will be different. Test your cake for doneness about 10 minutes before the stated time.
3. Use butter which is at room temperature so that it is easy to cream together with the sugar.
4. I have given the measurement for the almond extract which I use but every brand will be different. There is also a difference between almond extract and almond essence so my advice would be to add a few drops at a time and then taste. It is far easier to add more than to ruin the cake because you have added too much flavouring.
5. When adding the water to the icing sugar, do so in small increments to get just the right consistency. If the icing ends up too runny then add some more icing sugar to the mixture.
6. Add the nuts as soon as you have iced the cake so that they stick to the top of the cake.
7. This cake will start to dry out after about the second day so eat up quickly and enjoy 🙂
I am submitting this delicious recipe over to the lovely ladies at ….
Without a doubt the star of today’s strawberry shortcake recipe is the strawberry and yogurt filling. Normally I would use double cream which of course whips up to a delicious creamy consistency but is loaded with calories. For this dessert I wanted to try yogurt but to be honest I didn’t hold out much hope. I love yogurt and often eat it with my breakfast, use it in my cake mixtures and stir it into my main meals to give a lovely creamy sauce but could it substitute cream as one of the main ingredients in a dessert?
The problem with using yogurt as a substitute for cream is the watery liquid that sits on the top. Even if you mix it in, it will eventually separate leaving you with a soggy dessert. For my first attempt I tried putting the yogurt into a fine mesh sieve but that didn’t work. Most of the yogurt just ran through the sieve. My second attempt was much better, I used a muslin square (available from Lakeland) to line the sieve and then left the yogurt for about an hour. There was about half a cup of liquid which had drained into the bowl and I was left with a really thick yogurt which whipped beautifully and kept its shape once piped. Once the icing sugar had been added and mixed with the strawberries nobody could tell that it wasn’t cream. I absolutely adore cream but I can honestly say that I would replace it with yogurt in most of my desserts from now on.
I was recently asked to make some cakes for our local village hall who host coffee mornings for the elderly. A chocolate cake is always a popular choice but I wanted something a bit lighter and fresher for my second cake. I always have plenty of lemons at home so opted for a lemon drizzle cake. My first attempt looked lovely but was a bit dry so I made a few changes to the recipe and made up another cake. Again, it looked lovely but the texture was completely wrong. I very nearly gave up but decided I would try once again. With a few more tweaks and no more lemons left the cake came out soft and fluffy with a definite hint of lemon.
I opted to decorate the cake with a mixture of fresh pomegranate seeds and pistachio nuts which give the cake a lovely almost jeweled topping. It is one of my favorite taste combinations but if it is not to your taste then the cake is just as good left plain or with a sprinkling of lemon zest over the top.
Fresh cherries and a cherry bakewell tart in May?
I wouldn’t normally buy fresh cherries so early in the season but for all the wrong reasons I found myself picking out the bright red ones this morning and not caring about all the air miles involved in getting them to this country.
It was with a touch of sadness that I was thinking about a family on the other side of the world. I don’t know the family involved but as a blogger I have come across the Baby Boy Bakery blog many times. It is a blog which celebrates the life of a young family and is full of beautiful pictures of a young boy with the most beautiful red hair. To learn that this beautiful young child was taken so tragically and so early from his family is just heart breaking. People from all over the world have shown their support by posting images of red balloons and one of the most poignant of these images is of a little boy floating away with a bunch of red balloons attached to his hand. I must’ve had this image in my mind when I was shopping in our local Farm Shop because as I looked at a display of bright red cherries all I could see was that they looked like bright red balloons. So there I was buying my fruit and veg, looking at a pile of cherries and crying for a little boy that I never knew. Crying for what his parents must be going through. Crying for all the times I’ve been annoyed with my children over silly little things. Crying for all the times I should have given my children a hug but didn’t because I had something else more important to do. Just crying because no parent should ever have to go through the loss of their own child. When I got home I made a quick picture with the cherries and photographed it. It is now up on my fridge to remind me of how precious life is. When my daughter saw the picture she was slightly bemused as to why I had a bunch of cherries on some blue card. “Don’t you think they look like red balloons” I asked. “No, they just look like cherries” was the response.
Maybe they do just look like cherries but to me they mean so much more.