Friday, 15 July 2011

A labour of love and carrot based mystery...

 So. This was meant to be a post featuring a gorgeously decorated, ever-so-good-for-you-don't-you-know carrot cake, that I made on monday afternoon for my father's birthday. And yet...several things went wrong with this plan, and what was meant to be a relatively do-able bake became a veritable struggle with me trying to cope with my various mistakes. I started with a lovely looking Hummingbird recipe for a three tier carrot cake, which I'd reduced to two tier on account of lacking a third cake tin. So far, so good, the recipe was helpfully in 3 or 300g measurements, so that was easy enough. Did my usual adding little bits in like orange juice, raisins and more spices, the cakes came out the oven lovely and moist and golden (perhaps a tad too moist, but they kept together.) And then I tried to ice, cream cheese icing has a tendency to go a bit liquid-y at the best of times, and I had chosen an incredibly warm and muggy afternoon to bake. Combine that with the fact I didn't really make enough icing and my cakes weren't stacked very straight, and it became a bit of an ordeal as the icing became increasingly difficult to work with. Never matter, a load of crushed walnuts and chopped up apricots meant it wasn't a huge dilemna sight wise. And at least I could look forward to the inside; a golden sponge streaked with amber carrot strips, chunks of walnut and juicy raisins. Right?

Luckily after the cake had been in the fridge overnight, the icing hardened up and improved hugely, so didn't look quite so glisteningly unappetising

This is where things get interesting. When we cut the cake the next day, my light, moist sponge was flecked subtly, but unavoidably, with green...My mother was happily tucking in and innocently asked 'ooh, this is interesting, what's the green? Apple? Lime? Courgette? Basil? Rosemary?'(her suggestions got a little extreme as she tried to guess my bizarre experiment) Having decided that somehow the carrots had gone off inside the cake overnight, I retreated in shame. To the internet! And apparently, overuse of bicarbonate of soda (which I must have forgotten to reduce from the original 3 tier recipe) can have a reaction with the pigments in fruit and veg, and change their colour when baked! Thus turning some of the carrot streaks green! Luckily, although it looks a mite odd, the carrots are still absolutely fine to eat. This cake and myself have reached a mutual level of respect; it tried to best me at every opportunity and it isn't going to win any beauty contest. But goodness, it tastes marvellous.

note where the sponge still peeps through the icing..needless to say this wasn't my best baking endeavour.

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