Sunday, 12 October 2008


Hello to everyone – it’s good to be back blogging once more.

The weather has all changed now, and it’s all Autumn colours and cooler breezes, time for scarves, gloves and hats – and some cold weather cooking at home. It’s also the season of new cookbooks, a couple of the stars for me are Nigella Christmas and Rachel Allen’s Bake. Expect to see more about Nigella Christmas soon!
First though I’m going to tell you about a cake that I found in Rachel Allen’s Bake, her latest book published a couple of weeks ago. It a cosy baking book with many recipes for all manner of baked goods – even some savoury suppers in one chapter.
I’ve made a few recipes so far and more of some of them later on; the one I’m focusing on here is her Carrot and Pecan cake, there is also a carrot cake recipe in the book, but this one is made with wholemeal flour. It’s a bit denser than regular carrot cake, but this is a positive comment because it’s not heavy, just tighter crumbed and very moist to boot. It’s paired with a classic cream cheese icing, and I also used some marzipan carrots that I was given by a friend (thank you again!), which finish off this cake perfectly. This is a slightly spicier cake and very good it is too.
Here is the recipe, which I have adapted only a little by reducing the salt from ½ to ¼ teaspoon and added the marzipan carrots on top. Also I cut it into 12 larger squares rather than 16 smaller, as I served it as a lunch time pudding.
Carrot and Pecan Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
Slightly adapted from Bake by Rachel Allen 2008
Makes 12 to 16 squares
175g wholemeal self-raising flour
¼ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
50g raisins
150ml sunflower oil
150g soft light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
225g finely grated carrots
50g chopped pecans
(1)Preheat the oven to 180oC / 350 oF of Gas Mark 4. Butter the sides of an 8" / 20cm square tin, and line with greaseproof paper.
(2) Sift the flour into a bowl then add the salt, baking powder, mixed spice, ginger and raisins, stir together to mix very well.
(3) Whisk the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla in another bowl, then add the carrots and pecans. Add this mix to the dry ingredients and mix well, pour into the tin and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the cake is cooked. Let the cake get cold before icing.
Cream Cheese Icing
25g butter, softened
75g cream cheese, from the fridge
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
75g icing sugar, sifted
(1) Mix the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together, then gradually add the icing sugar and beat until smooth.


Sylvie said...

I was stood in Waterstone's drooling over the Nigella book just the other day. A lot of the recipes seem to be the same as in Nigella Feast, but that hasn't stopped me from wanting to buy it! Great looking cake, carrot cake is one of my favourites, but I don't make it often enough.

Peabody said...

Welcome back...I was happy to see you pop up on my google reader. Your carrot cake looks great.

Nickki said...

It's so lovely to see you back blogging again. What a delicious looking carrot cake!

Coby said...

Sending you big ((HUGS)) K-J it's been our loss while you were away, but I am excited to know you're in the mood to bake again:D That cake looks brilliant, both pretty with those carrots atop and toothsome within. What a great restart to your blog!

Jacqui said...

Good to have found your blog. As a scot living in US it is always good to find news from home. I too have a huge cookbook collection and treasure everyone of them. I have recently started to blog
I try to cross our cultures having one foot in each camp. Look forward to folowing your blog.

Brilynn said...

Great to have you back! Especially with a carrot cake!

Beth said...

Ive got both the Nigella and Rachel book - they are great. I love carrot cake and have had my eye on this one

Anna said...

Lovely to see you blogging again KJ!

Your carrot cake looks delicious!


Margaret said...

Good to have you back in the blogging world again.
The book and indeed your cake, are wonderful. Love the decoration.

Deborah said...

Welcome back! And what a wonderful cake to come back with!

Rhyleysgranny said...

This looks lovely as always kelly. I love the little marzipan carrots. Perfect

Hayley said...

Welcome back! I made this too, it's so delicious isn't it?! I must agree with your choice to cut the salt down, I used the full amount and it was far too salty...

Oh my! Apple pie! said...

Great to see you back K-J!
Love your carrot cake, Rachel's book is still on my wishlist, I'm very tempted.

Gemma said...

Nice to see you back KJ, hope the break did you good? The cake looks fab. I'm loving Nigella Christmas too!

Gemma x

Maria said...

welcome back Kelly, I've missed your posts!!

Wow what a stunning carrot cake. A definate must try recipe from Bake!


Rosie said...

A huge welcome back K.J.! I have just got these books too, they really are lovely!

Your carrot cake looks delicious - must try this one out after viewing your wonderful creation :)

Rosie x

creampuff said...

It's good to have you back blogging!

Anonymous said...

So good to see you back blogging KJ :)

The cake looks wonderful, I just adore the carrots.

Freya said...

Good to see you back KJ!! I've been watching the show avidly every night although there's not too many recipes on there and I find the "cookery school" people a little "look at me, I'm on telly!" Your cake looks stunning!!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Welcome back! I love this cake and the little carrots-- so cute.

Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

Lovely to see you back blogging :) This cake looks absolutely gorgeous - I love the adorable carrots on top. Wholemeal flour sounds like a nice addition - positively healthy!

Radha said...

hi, i searched for prawn cocktails and came across your site. Love the pics and colors!

Anna said...

Hello! Long-time reader, first-time commenter... it's lovely to see you back. I do enjoy your renditions of recipes from some of my favourite books! I have been enjoying Nigella Christmas at bedtime, too... can't wait to get started on some of the make-ahead things! One of my favourite parts is the cocktail chapter. I will definitely be stocking up on strange liqueurs and syrups ahead of December!

Susan said...

Welcome back, Kelly-Jane! A beautiful fall (or Easter) bake! A really nice job. : )

Kelly-Jane said...

Thank you to everyone for your comments, both regular and first timers. Thank you!