Saturday, October 27, 2012

Banana & Carrot Cake Recipe and The Great British Bake Off

Hello readers. Are you still out there? It's been a while since I last blogged. No, I haven't gotten sick of blogging. Instead, I started a uni course this semester and it monopolised a lot of my time, especially during the end of the semester when all assignments seem to be due at once. I'd forgotten how much work is involved with uni. I guess when I went through uni the first time, it was just something I had to do and I was happy to just pass. This time, I've made a conscious decision to go back and it's something I want to do, and do well. Hence, I've been spending a lot of time on my assignments. As much as it's been hard work, I have really enjoyed what I've learned this semester. Hopefully it will even be useful for work.

Anyway, that's my excuse for not blogging over. Secondly, ever once in a while I lament my lack of blogging in relation to all the cakes I've baked. If you just go on the small samples of cakes I baked in 2010, you can see I bake a lot. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you will see the even greater variety of cakes I've baked. Inevitably I promise everyone I will blog it, but never do as so many other things get in the way.

Recently I watched all three seasons of The Great British Bake Off and it really reignited my passion for baking. I totally have to thank esurientes for putting me on to the show. I was sick at home from work one day and lamenting how there was nothing to watch on TV. A tweet out to the twittersphere and bam, I was put onto one of the best cooking shows. The show is a bit like Masterchef for baking, but definitely even more amateur. The contestants all genuinely love to bake, and the winner doesn't win anything. Wow, that's totally new for a reality TV show. One of the host, Sue Perkins, is one of my favourite TV presenters and made the show really funny with her quick witted comments. The show also spawned two great websites, one a blog by one of the contestants, Danny, whose blog Baking As Therapy is a fantastic read about food, and the other website, Mary Berry Biting Into Things is a hilarious tribute to the show's Queen of Cakes judge Mary Berry.

So, if you've managed to stay with me through all that dribble, it brings me to my endeavours to try and blog more of the goodies (mainly desserts) I bake with you. I hope that through my posts, you can enjoy making some delicious goodies while also sharing with me your tips, recipes, opinions, recommendations and joy you receive from baking. I shall start the ball rolling with the Women's Weekly Carrot and Banana Cake that I made earlier this year. I was trying to find an easy to cake to make for my sister's birthday, and stumbled across this recipe in the Women's Weekly Bake book. It looked so easy and was sort of a mash-up of two cakes I love, a banana cake and a carrot cake. To make it a bit more special, I decided to use a silicon flower mould I just got. The results are very beautiful if I say so myself.

The cake itself is so easy to make. The hardest part would be grating the carrots. Otherwise you just mix everything together and it takes a matter of minutes.

In terms of flavour, the cake is wonderful. The flavours of the banana and carrot do work together. The banana tends to shine through more. The texture of the cake is also really good, moist and light. It's far lighter than both the usual banana and carrot cake I normally make. This recipe can be served with a cream cheese frosting and that would definitely taste good but I went with a light dusting of icing sugar to suit my decorations and that tasted great too.

Carrot and Banana Cake Recipe
From the Women's Weekly Bake book
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 75 minutes
Serves: 10

1 1/4 cups plain flour
1/2 cup self raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup coarsely chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, or hazlenuts)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups finely grated carrots
1 cup mashed banana
1 cup vegetable oil

1. Pre-heat oven to 160C (325F).
2. Grease 24cm round springform tin, line base with baking paper.
3. Sift flours, baking soda, spices and sugar into large bowl, stir in carrot and nuts.
4. Beat eggs and oil together and add to dry ingredients, together with banana.
5. Mix well.
6. Pour mixture into prepared tin.
7. Bake for about 1 1/4 hours.
8. Cool cake in pan.