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Heart shaped carrot cake

This week is birthday central for me!!  It is 2 of my best friends’ birthdays and my brother’s birthday.  My brother doesn’t live in ‘baking distance’ so I am not baking him a cake, but that left 2 lots to make this week 🙂

The first was my friend Hannah.  I had it on good authority (from her husband) that she likes carrot cake best, so that’s what I made.

I used trusty Mary Berry again.  Here is the recipe:

225g (8oz) self raising flour

2 level teaspoons baking powder

150g (5oz) light muscovado sugar

50g (2oz) chopped walnuts

100g (4oz) grated carrots

2 ripe bananas (mashed)

2 large eggs

150ml (5 fl oz) sunflower oil

Topping

175g (6oz) full fat soft cheese

50g (2oz) softened butter

100g (4oz) icing sugar

few drops vanilla extract

walnuts to decorate

1) Pre-heat oven to 180C or gas mark 4.  Grease a 20cm (8in) cake tin.  Line base with baking parchment.

2) Measure all the ingredients for the cake into a large bowl and beat well until thoroughly blended and smooth.  Turn into the prepared tin and level the surface.

3) Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 50-60 mins until the cake is well risen and shrinking away from the sides of the tin.  Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.

4) For the topping measure all the ingredients except the walnuts, into a bowl or in food processor.  Blitz until smooth.  Spread over the top of the cake, swirling the top with the spatula for a decorative effect.  Decorate the top with the walnuts.  Store in the fridge as the topping is soft.

I made a smaller cake so was able to fill the centre and make some bonus cakes in addition!

Here is the cake (with some bonus cupcakes!) without the walnuts:

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And here they are decorated with chopped walnuts:

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As carrot cake is also my husband’s favourite I made him some small cakes.  I included the vanilla extract bottle so you can see the proportions – such diddy little tins, I love them :

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I’m off to the second friend, Sasha’s, fancy dress birthday party tonight but don’t want to ruin the surprise of the American themed cupcakes so will post these later this weekend!  I may even include a picture of me dressed up – but the outfit is a bit unforgiving so we’ll see!!   Wish me luck!

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Let him eat cake!

As I follow my 2012 mission to bake for all my family and friends (within reason) for every occasion, I couldn’t miss out on making a treat for my lovely husband to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

To make a change from the round sponge cakes I’ve made so far (1 coffee and 2 chocolate so far), I bought some heart shaped silicone moulds to create these beauties:

I forgot to add baking powder (that’ll teach me to read the recipe rather than think I can remember it by heart – sorry about the pun!), but I was pleased I did forget as the cakes rose so much I had to flatten the top one down with the tin lid over night to make it practical to be iced!  The cakes were a little more dense than usual with the lack of baking powder but still a delicious texture and flavour (according to my husband).

I iced it with butter icing in the middle and on top – then added some ferrero rocher as they’re his favourites!

Here is the finished article:

and here is the recipe from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible:

Cake ingredients

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

3 tablespoons boiling water

225g softened butter

225g caster sugar

4 large eggs

225g self-raising flour

(2 level teaspoons baking powder)

Filling and topping

50g softened butter

175g icing sugar

1 tablespoon milk

(ferrero rocher x 4!)

1) Pre-heat oven to 180°, grease 2 x 20cm (8in) sandwich tins / heart shaped tins, line the base with greaseproof paper (if you use silicone moulds you don’t need greaseproof paper).

2) Blend cocoa and water together in a cup.  Leave to cool slightly.  Measure all remaining ingredients into a separate bowl, then add blended cocoa/water mixture and beat until thoroughly blended (I use an electric hand-held whisk to make it more light and fluffy).  Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and level out.

3) Bake in pre-heated oven for about 25 mins or until well risen and the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed.  Leave to cool in the tins a while, then place onto wire rack to finish cooling.

4) To make butter cream filling and topping, blend together the butter, icing sugar and milk until smooth.  When cakes are completely cold, use half the butter cream to sandwich the cakes together, then spread the remaining butter cream on top and decorate as you wish.

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