I had such an incredible time on holiday looking after the farm! I honestly feel so relaxed and chilled out. I breezed into the office on Friday and wasn’t even phased by having to get stuck back into things as soon as I sat down! There were walks with the dogs…
There was afternoon tea at Byfords in Holt, Norfolk…
There was scallop salad with black pudding, crispy pancetta, lemon and caper dressing from Sutherlands, Southwold, Suffolk…
And amazing smoky goodness in the form of smoked olives and smoked quails’ eggs….AMAZING!!!
I put on 3.5lbs during the week – it felt like Christmas when you eat even when you’re not hungry; there’s constant and unmonitored access to a well stocked fridge of treats! Even the two dog walks a day failed to keep the weight off! Never mind, I made myself feel better by making cake. It was massive effort making this cake. My dad is wheat, gluten, dairy, nut and a whole-lot-of-other-things intolerant and so there’s basically no baking ingredients in my parents’ house. I had to buy flour and more baking powder (I forgot to take some with me) but I did find some stem ginger in the cupboard and thought I’d play with the carrot cake recipe and see what it was like. The ginger is not an overwhelming flavour in the carrot cake and neither did I want it to be it just adds a delicate flavour to the mix. I also made some kickass orange cream cheese buttercream to cover it with – the key is putting the rind into the cream cheese and letting it infuse overnight. It just makes it taste incredible.
I adapted this recipe from Peyton & Byrne – it’s moist and not too heavy, not too light!
For the stem ginger carrot cake
- 225g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 225g light brown sugar
- 4 medium eggs
- 200g self-raising flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼tsp salt
- 55g stem ginger, chopped finely
- 225g carrots, peeled and grated
- 50g sultanas
For the orange cream cheese buttercream
- Rind of 1 orange, finely chopped
- 450g icing sugar, sifted
- 100g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 200g cream cheese
- Place the orange rind and cream cheese in a bowl, mix well, cover and leave overnight or for as long as possible.
- When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 170°C/340°F/Gas Mark 3. Grease and line the base with 20cm wide deep cake tin.
- Cream butter and sugar until fluffy then beat in the eggs one at a time. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together. Add half of it to the mixture, stir until just incorporated, then repeat with the other half.
- Fold in the carrots, sultanas and stem ginger. Spoon batter into the tin and smooth over. Bake for 45-55 minutes it is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool. Once you take the cake out of the tin, remove the cream cheese from the fridge.
- To make the cream cheese buttercream, cream together the cream cheese and butter until nice and creamy. Then put the mixer on low and add the icing sugar and mix very well.
- Spread the buttercream over the cake – I used about ¾ of the mixture spread and piped over the cake.