Saturday, June 28, 2014

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting - Simple and Delicious

I've made this carrot cake more times than I remember. However, I hadn't made it for a while and when I went to my own blog (which I use like my own digital cookbook) to find the recipe, I realised I hadn't blogged it yet *gasp*. Hence here is the recipe. Of the many many carrot cake recipes I've tried, it's my favourite. I first found the recipe on the Kitchen Wench blog. Now it is one of my favourite go to recipe when I want something fast and tasty. The texture of this cake is beautifully crumbly and the flavours are really good. Of course you need to make the cream cheese frosting as it really enhances this cake.

In terms of making this cake, it's so easy. A one pan all in one mix. You don't even need an electric mixer. The hardest part is grating all the carrots.

Some tips for a good bake:

* Don't grate the carrots too finely as it will really release the water and the texture won't be as good.
* I like to put roughly chopped nuts to get the texture when I eat it.
* I like the spices to be fairly strong so I use about 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and 1/4 tsp of nutmeg.
* I've made a slight addition to this recipe where I sandwich fresh bananas between the carrot cake. For me it enhances the cake so much and I was really surprised how well it works. So I'd recommend sandwiching the bananas.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

200g (2 cups) self-raising flour
1 heaped cup of brown sugar
a couple of dashes of ground cinnamon and nutmeg, according to taste
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 1/2 medium carrots, grated*
120-150g roughly chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting

250g Softened Cream Cheese
80g Softened Butter
1 tbsp Vanilla Essence
1 cups Icing Sugar (add more or less icing to your liking)

2/3 cup sultanas
2 bananas sliced, to sandwich between the carrot cake

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and line a non-stick 18cm cake tin.

2. Sift together flour, sugar and spices in one bowl, and lightly beat together the eggs and oil in a separate bowl.

3. Toss the grated carrot and coarsely chopped walnuts through the flour (if you’re adding sultanas to the mix, do so at this stage), then add the oil and egg mixture and stir till combined.

4. Pour mix into the prepared cake tin and bake for 45 min – 1hr, or till a wooden skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Allow to cool in tin for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

5. If sandwiching the bananas, cut the cake in half horizontally. Lay out the slice bananas on the bottom until the cake is completely covered. Put the top half of the cake over the bananas.

6. For the cream cheese frosting, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy. Mix in vanilla essence and icing sugar until the desired sweetness. Spread cream cheese frosting generously over cake.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Eat Street 2014 - French Elegance

Eat Street this year was once again a wonderfully organised event and so much fun. The French elegance theme was definitely captured by the Sofitel Melbourne ballrooms. The numerous restaurants and food purveyors all got into the mood with beautiful food that was thoroughly enjoyed by the patrons. All the proceeds of the night went to Redkite, who provide support for kids with cancer and their families.

I had a great time at this year's event and really enjoyed the French theme. There were so many wonderful dishes and lots of great wines and beers as well. I also made sure I filled up on cheese and lots of desserts. A lot of effort was put into all the food and they were of the highest quality that you would expect from such fine establishments.

A great event once again with such a great cause. I hope you'll check out this event next year and see what it's like for yourself.

I attended the event courtesy of Eat Street.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Delicious American Style Blueberry Pancakes - Jamie Oliver Recipe

I've always loved pancakes. I used to regularly go to Pancake Parlour for my fix of half priced pancakes using the shop-a-docket vouchers. However, I stopped going to Pancake Parlour when a friend brought back good maple syrup from Canada for me and the flavour was just amazing that I didn't want to eat the Pancake Parlour ones any more. I still love pancakes, but the ones I made were always rather dense. So when I saw Lianne's photo of her fluffy pancakes, I asked for the recipe. It turns out it's a Jamie Oliver recipe. It's his Pancakes USA Stylie.

I gave the pancake recipe a go and the results are great. The pancakes are very fluffy and tasty. The recipe is a bit more work than usual but I think it's worth it for the result. They're way lighter than the ones I normally make, using the same ingredients you will have in the fridge most of the time. You can add anything, or nothing else to them. I decided to make some blueberry pancakes as I had frozen blueberries in the freezer.

I used my good maple syrup from Canada and drizzled them all over the pancakes. Oh wow, it was so delicious. I wish I had some vanilla ice cream as well. That would have made them perfect. Next time.

So some tips to ensure you pancakes are delicious

* I beat the egg yolk mixture about until it became quite thick and creamy.

* Make sure you beat the egg whites until they're stiff but probably don't over beat them until they become lumpy.

* Cook one side of the pancake until you can see bubbles and then add your topping and flip them.

American Blueberry Pancakes
Jamie Oliver Recipe
Serves: 4
Time: 20 minutes

3 large free-range eggs
115 g plain flour
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
140 ml milk
1 pinch salt

First separate the eggs, putting the whites into one bowl and the yolks into another. Add the flour, baking powder and milk to the yolks and mix to a smooth thick batter. Whisk the whites with the salt until they form stiff peaks. Fold into the batter – it is now ready to use.

Heat a good non-stick pan on a medium heat. Pour some of your batter into the pan and fry for a couple of minutes until it starts to look golden and firm. At this point sprinkle your chosen flavouring (see below) on to the uncooked side before loosening with a spatula and flipping the pancake over. Continue frying until both sides are golden.