First of all, I haven’t posted on here in an extortionate amount of time due to 1) my laptop having a virus that means at least 4 popups of either betting sights or porn will open up every time I go on the internet, and 2) I’ve been home that past week doing lots of things like wondering what to make for dinner and reflecting on the dinner I’d just eaten whilst watching Gogglebox. Sorry, I’m back, I’ll be more active from now on.
The title of this blog post refers to a conversation I had a couple of weeks ago with a fellow blogger friend who said I need to ‘sell my blog with using my personality’, and apparently this doesn’t just mean sharing with you my fascinating and insightful inner thoughts, which I argued give a pretty good indication of my personality anyway (reading through previous posts, I reckon I come across as moody, pedantic, overly paranoid over the future and very easy to please, which is all you really need to know). Nope, apparently I need to have my face on the blog more often so people can get to know me better. Since I only like a tiny proportion of the photos of me taken recently, and I don’t want to end up posting a cringey ‘candid’ shot of me cooking or taste testing or shoving a forkful of spaghetti in my mouth every week, I thought I’d give you a small collection of Pip ‘through the ages’. Accompanied by a recipe for cake at the end.
This is me at the beginning of life, clearly living it to the full already.
This is me wearing my freshest threads.
This is me being a moody only child bitch.
This is me, 15 years later, still being a moody only child bitch.
This is me with my favourite animal.
This is me asleep.
This is me bored.
This is me about to dive into (it’s a pun because I’m at a seafood restaurant) one of the best meals of my life in New York last Christmas (it was at the John Dory Oyster Bar).
This is me and best friend Alex during our month up at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year.
This is me and best friend Mirri on The London Eye.
And this is me now, with the rest of my house, actually smiling.
There. Hopefully that little visual taster of the history of my life has satisfied any curiosity you might have been harbouring. And it probably makes you feel better about yourself, because I was a fucking ugly baby. Now onto the cake.
This is my all time favourite cake. It’s big, it’s moist, it’s creamy – calm yourself, it’s a carrot cake. I’ve made it about 5 times, and each time it yields perfect results. The amazing texture of this cake is all down to the substitution of rice bran oil rather than butter, which makes the mix far runnier, as well as the addition of ground walnuts and raisins. To top it off, the three layers are also completely smothered in maple cream cheese frosting, so it ticks all my boxes.
Carrot cake with maple cream cheese frosting (adapted from Pick Yin‘s recipe)
For the cake:
2 tsp bicarb of soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
200g castor sugar
175g light muscavado sugar
225ml rice bran oil
225g canned pineapple rings plus a bit of the juice
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
4 large eggs, room temperature
650g grated and squeezed carrots
1 inch freshly grated ginger
70g walnuts, toasted and ground
For the frosting:
550g full fat cream cheese, room temperature – it must be full fat or it won’t set properly
115g butter, room temperature
230g icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees fan. Grease and line 3 8inch cake tins.
- Whisk the flour, bicarb of soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground ginger together in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
- Put the pineapple rings and a little of the juice into a blender and blend until a puree. Pour this into a large bowl and whisk in the oil, castor sugar and muscavado sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well.
- Gradually mix in the flour mixture and vanilla extract until combined. Stir in the carrots and fresh ginger, followed by the raisins and walnuts.
- Divide the batter between the three cake tins and bake on the bottom shelf for 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave the cakes in the tins to cool for 15 minutes before turning out onto a cooling wrack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, you can make the frosting. Using an electric hand mixer, mix the butter on medium until fluffy. Add the other frosting ingredients and continue to mix on medium until fluffy and light. Chill in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes to allow it to set.
- Once the cakes are cool, spread the frosting evenly between each of the layers, and ice the top and sides of the cake.
- Decorate any way you fancy – in the pictures I added some crushed pistachios, walnuts and some caramel dipped pistachios.
- It’s important to chill this cake once assembled for another 30 minutes to allow the frosting to set properly. After that, it doesn’t really need to be kept in the fridge, but if it’s a warm day the frosting could start to lose its shape or start melting a bit, so I’d keep it refrigerated just in case.