Moving on up, moving on out…

..time to get real, nothing can stop me…

Sorry, I don’t really like this song either, but it seems quite fitting.  Time for another leaving cake as the destruction of my team continues, but at least this time it was more of a “moving on” cake for Heidi as she takes up an ace new job in a far less toxic part of our organisation.  And I shall do the same before my blood pressure rises: as I said, moving on…..

Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook was the book to go to again, this time the carrot cake recipe.  The pineapple cake was such a success I had a good feeling about this recipe.  And there’s something incredibly indulgent about three layers of cake!

The recipe is very, very easy to follow and made even easier with the kMix and the newest addition to the appliance cupboard: the Kenwood FP250 that lovely Matt bought me last week.  Grating 300g of carrot has never been easier.

The method really is a piece of cake (sorry): eggs, sunflower oil and sugar beaten to a glossy brown slick in the kMix, then all the dry ingredients (flour, ginger, cinnamon, bicarb, baking powder, salt) are sifted and gradually incorporated, followed by some vanilla extract.  Expertly grated carrots and a mix of chunkily chopped walnuts and pecans are the last step, and that’s it.

You’re then meant to divide between three tins, but to my shame, I only have two round tins.  And they’re not even the same size.  I really must buy some more….  Anyway, they’re close enough in size that I can pull off a three-tiered cake without anyone being any the wiser.  What it does make tricky is the timing: the single cake’s worth tin will be done in the allotted 20-25 minutes, but the doubled up beast will take aaaaaages.  I got bored adding 5 or 10 minutes onto the timer so lost count of how long it took for a skewer to come out clean, but I think it was about 50 minutes in the end, including me opening the door and testing it about 4 times, which probably didn’t help matters.

Oven-ready

While they were cooling, I made the icing.  The HB recipes for cream cheese and buttercream are great, and having been proven wrong when questioning the quantities before, I confidently doubled the cream cheese recipe, and didn’t quell at the vat of icing it produced.  You really do need it all (well, almost.  I did have a little bit leftover this time).  And a note for anyone who’s hasn’t yet made this mistake themselves: never substitute low-fat cream cheese when you want to make icing, but feel a bit guilty about the fat and sugar…it doesn’t work and you get horrible runny icing.  It’s cake, it’s not good for you, just eat less of it if the fat content bothers you.

600g sugar, 100g butter.  My teeth hurt just thinking about it
Few minutes of mixing and it’s like clumpy sand (which is what you want)
Cream cheese in and…..Whip it!
Whip it real good!

The kMix really is brilliant for butter-based icing – I’d never be able to make properly fluffy icing without it.  Even the first stage of combining the small amount of butter with a veritable mountain of sugar is much easier. But it’s the 5 minutes of medium-speed whipping at the end that is the key, and there’s no way in teh world I coudl do that.  I reckon a hand-held electric food mixer (the two-whisk type) would be okay, but you’ll get a sore arm after a bit.   If you’re making it by hand, I think you just have to accept it just won’t reach cloud-like fluffiness, unless you have biceps like Popeye.

To put it all together, I used a massive flattish plate (although I really should get a proper flat plate, as it’s quite hard to slide it off a dinner plate into the box…).  Once all the layers were in place, I sat the plate on an upturned bowl so I could kind of use it like a turntable, but being careful not to spin it too wonkily and have the plate crash to the floor. Again, cake shops sell turntables that are perfect, but I’m clearly not quite at that stage yet.

Single plus big ‘un, sliced through, but before the rounded top was taken off and er, eaten.  Have to test it first, yeah?
One quarter of the icing on layer one…don’t go right to the edge or it all squidges out later
Gently place cake two on top…. 
Another quarter of icing…
Last layer on, and the rest of the icing gently spread over the whole thing.

And because I was feeling brave, I coloured up some icing green and orange to pipe carrots.  I found some instructions online, some more about failsafe paper icing bags, and proceeded….. I think I need to take a cake decorating class! They’re the lamest carrots ever.  Not quite Cake Wreck bad, but pretty lame!  So then I figured, what did  I have to lose?  And piped a rubbish “H” for Heidi on too, complete with a green blob of grass!  Cakes should be fun, right?!

We love knobbly veg!  Even veg made of icing…
Three-layers of yum

Hey, the lady of the moment loved it.  And that’s what matters. 

One thought on “Moving on up, moving on out…

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