Then there's the carrot factor. A couple of weeks ago I was in Pret grabbing breakfast and saw a bottle of carrot juice. It said "grab me" (it literally said "grab me" on the bottle) so I thought "sure, what the hell". I mean how bad could it be? My friend K is into juicing (vegetables not just fruit) and really seems to like her concoctions plus its meant to be super healthy. I was also trying to be on a new year's health kick, the carrot juice just seemed to come along at the right time.
I took a sip of the carrot juice and instantly regretted it. It tasted like vomit. Actually carroty vom. I told myself off, I mean I'm an adult right? It really can't be that bad, I'm sure I'll get used to it. So I took another sip. Still vom. Another sip? Yep, still carroty vom. I gave up. Carrot juice tastes evil. I-kid-you-not. It tastes like the carrot found out about the carrot juicing, topped itself then rotted in the bottle for a year. I spent the rest of the day belching carrot juice and feeling like I would actually vom carrot juice. It was vile. Morning sickness was more fun.
Anyway I wasn't a fan of carrot cake until recently. Now I realise that it doesn't taste vegetable-y (yes, that's a word, I just wrote it and spell check didn't correct it) or carroty vom, it actually tastes quite pleasant.
My NCT group were having a little meet up and I offered to bake (I'll take any excuse) and figured carrot cake would be a good option. Now when I was pregnant and suffering from delusions of wanting to be the greatest-mummy-baker but being paranoid of making my unborn child fat, I bought the book Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood. Sounds good right? Well there's a catch. All of the recipes try to sneak in vegetables and contain very little fat. Sounds like I'm talking sh*t? To my constant surprise the recipes are actually pretty delish (I've secretly served the title chocolate cake (that contains aubergine, yes A.U.B.E.R.G.I.N.E.) to dinner guests and they've been very complimentary (and I don't think they were just being polite). The recipes also seem to be largely gluten free. So...
The recipe - Carrot Cake
|I'm too lazy to type this up!|
The recipe doesn't go into any detail on how to go about icing the cake so I've put some pictures below:
1. Put a big dollop of icing in the centre of the base cake (my base cake was a little bigger than the top cake - I realised all too late that none of my 3 loose bottom tins are the same size!).
2. Using a palette knife, spread the icing out across the base.
3. Carefully place the top cake onto the bottom cake and repeat steps 1 and 2 for the top cake.
4. Make some little carrots!! Using some fondant icing, mix a little water, a couple of drops of red food colouring and a lot of drops of yellow food colouring (alternatively just use orange food colouring!!) and mix into a pliable dough. Sprinkle some icing sugar onto a board and pop the icing ball onto the board.
5. Now I tried 2 different ways to make the carrot decorations. The first way I split the dough into 4 portions and then tried to shape the dough into carrot shapes. This didn't seem to work too well and in fact looked like I was trying to replicate an earlier creation. I wasn't thrilled with the results of the second way but I needed to leave for the meet-up so the second way was the only way...I started by flattening the ball with the palm of my hand.
6. Using a knife cut 2 eye shapes out of the icing and cut each of the eye shapes in half again.
7. Taking the knife, make several horizontal gashes across the surface of the "carrots".
8. Next I added a ton of green food colouring to the left over orange icing (yes I could have started again but I HATE waste) and flatten the icing out. Then cut the icing into thin strips.
9. Cut the long green strips in half and layer them on the cake like the roots of the carrot and place the carrot gently overlapping the ends.
10. Continue to do the same for the other 3 carrots.
The cake tasted really good, even if I do say so myself. My icing carrots were a bit of a disappointment though. The icing wouldn't set so the carrots got a little limp. I'm not having much luck with fondant icing!
All that aside, the cake went down a treat at the meet-up and I was able to take some leftovers to the folks (they had offered to babysit for us that night and I felt I should take some cake by way of a thank you). In fact, my father insisted I left him the last of the cake. Sounds like a success to me.