Ok, I am trying to think calm thoughts, to be quiet and calm and think straight so I can try and string words together coherently. But the truth is I am SO EXCITED I can hardly contain myself, can hardly type because I am brimming over with delight and happiness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And the cause for such celebration, for such complete joy?
A simple, beautiful, old fashioned, no-frills, wonderful, ecsquisite recipe.
I can't begin to tell you how happy I have been this morning :: apron on, radio on, pottering around in my kitchen, baking this cake. Happy, happy happy.
So. Let me elaborate before you shake your head and assume I have gone completely off the rails into loony-land. This is all about Carrot cake. Yes, carrot cake. Oh how I adore this cake! If you were to ask my Little People What is Mummy's Favourite Cake, they will instantly declare it to be Carrot cake. They know me, they know this to be The Truth.
But do you know what? Up until this very day, I have never ever been able to find a carrot cake recipe that produces a cake that works out. And even if the cake has somehow worked out (ie risen and been cooked properly, not too dry, not soggy in the middle etc) it is often not the exact sort of carrot cake I like. I don't like added extras (walnuts, sultanas, coconut, pineapple???). I prefer a light, airy sponge to a dark, dense one, but it still has to be moist. I cannot stand dry cakes. And the frosting on top : I have never ever been able to make these work out either. Most recipes I have come across use a cream cheese frosting, and for me this just does not work. The frosting never sets properly, it remains slippy and slidy and runny and just not right.
But today, in my quest to try just one more recipe to see if it could be The One, I hit gold.
I produced a cake which, in my humble opinion, ticks all the boxes of a perfect carrot cake.
Sponge :: light and airy, yet moist and tasty.
Ingredients :: simple.
Frosting :: NO cream cheese involved, this frosting recipe was a total revelation.
So let me share my find with you. It comes from a little neat booklet of recipes created by an old fashioned UK Flour company called Be-Ro.
One weekend when I was visiting the in-laws, M had produced the most amazing orange cake, so I asked if I could have the recipe. She showed me her little "Home Recipes" booklet from Be-Ro and I scribbled down 3 recipes that appealed to me at the time:: Moist orange cake, Strawberry Muffins and Carrot Cake.
I immediately liked the sound of the carrot cake recipe, because it is simple. I had quite high hopes for it being The One, just from looking at the ingredients list.
Into a bowl, put the following ::
225g Self Raising Flour
1/2 teaspoon ground mixed spice.
Stir in the following ::
150g soft, dark brown sugar (now I used light brown sugar cos that's all I had, and it worked great. Not sure how different the dark sugar would make it?)
150g grated carrot (2 medium carrots, I grated them very fine)
Make a well in the centre and add ::
2 tablespoons milk
150ml oil (now then, I used olive oil which is all I had, but truly this was not the best, should have been a light, flavourless oil)
Now Beat it! Yeah! Put music on and give it some welly! I used an electric whisk on High power, and really whisked it good. The mixture is sloppy, like a heavy batter.
Pour it into a lined tin (the recipe said an 11x7" tin but I don't have one, so I used my 8" square brownie pan).
Bake for 40mins, 180 C / 350 F / gas 4.
While the cake is baking, make the frosting.
Put into a heatproof bowl the following ::
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
rind of half the orange.
Put in microwave for 45 secs or so until butter has melted.
Beat in 225g icing sugar until smooth.
This makes a lovely, pale yellow, orangey sweet topping. It is quite simply perfect.
Once the cake has cooled, spread the Frosting liberally over the top. My little touch was to add some finely shredded orange rind for decoration.
Cut into squares, and marvel at how light the sponge is, how well the zesty frosting sits in a nice generous layer without sliding off.
Now make yourself a brew, sit in the sunniest part of the house and eat. Oh!!!! It is so so so perfectly cakey and good! Sweet and moist, light and airy. Almost too good to be true.
Eat one more piece just to be sure. Mmmmm yes it really is Delicious.
Ok, I need just one more bit to really, really make sure this is The One.
And it is.
Happy happy happy.