Carrot Cake

Carrot cake is always a winner. And the cake stays moist for a few days if covered. The lemon icing really lifts it.
Sometimes this recipe is called a passion cake. Call it what you like – it’s still delicious.

Ingredients

  • 275g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 175g soft light brown sugar
  • 50g chopped walnuts
  • 2 mashed ripe bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • 175g grated carrots
  • 175ml vegetable oil or melted butter, vegetable oil is fine.

Icing

  • 75g butter
  • 75g soft cream cheese
  • 175-200g icing sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • grated zest and half the juice of a lemon

Method

  1. Put the oven on at 170C fan.
  2. Prepare a cake tin. I use one about 9 inches/22cm round and with a removable side/base which makes taking the cake out much easier.
  3. Put all the dry ingredients in a big bowl, then add the wet, and mix together well with a wooden spoon until you have a batter.
  4. Put the batter in the tin and place in the oven for about 1 hour. Test with a skewer, if it comes out clean the centre is cooked. If needed, give it another few minutes. Once cooked place on a rack to cool before removing the tin.
  5. To make the icing beat all the ingredients together until creamed. If it’s too wet just add some more icing sugar. The volume of lemon juice can vary a bit.
  6. Once the carrot cake is completely cooled cut it horizontally. Now ice the middle and the top. Re-assemble and try to resist eating it. Impossible.

Apple Tray Bake

A nine year old harvesting apples by climbing the tree
Harvesting Apples

I always think of Apple Tray Bake as a lovely Autumn comfort treat. Basically, it is a sponge with chunks of cooking apple baked in it. The sweet warm sponge with contrasting slightly sharp apple is fabulous. We get a small glut of Bramley apples from the tree in our garden. First get a nine-year-old to climb the tree to pick the apples….

Serve this as a warm treat with your afternoon cup of tea. Or serve in portions with some warm custard on the side. Sure, you can make your own custard, but there’s not much wrong with the supermarket chilled stuff. Or, I grew up with custard made with Bird’s custard powder and until I was an adult I had no idea it could be made any other way. I loved it.

An old family recipe book.
Our old recipe book

This is one of these recipes that gets handed down. Our original version as written in our old recipe book shows its age. It’s all in ounces and tablespoons. And it uses margarine instead of butter. I grew up with pretty much all baking made with margarine but nowadays I tend to use butter. Also, I tend to use grams instead of ounces nowadays.

Times are changing. I grew up with pretty much all baking made with margarine but nowadays I tend to use butter. Also, I tend to stick to grams instead of ounces. Though I still use tablespoon and teaspoon measures. For temperatures, I use Celsius rather than Fahrenheit.

Ingredients

  • 110g Butter at room temperature
  • 110g Sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 220g Self-raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • about 300g Cooking apples
  • 80-90ml cold milk

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160-170C fan
  2. Look out a tray or ceramic dish. The one we use is a rectangular ceramic dish that is about 5cm deep and 25cmx17cm in size. Anything around this size will work. Lightly butter the dish.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon or a mixer
  4. Peel and chop the apples. Make them about 1cm thick and about 2-3cm in size. You need chunks so they don’t disappear into the sponge in the cooking.
  5. Beat the egg into the mix
  6. Sieve the flour and salt into the mixture
  7. Mix in the milk until there is a workable sponge mix, quite thick and not too runny
  8. Add the apples and stir them through
  9. Scrape the mix into your tray.
  10. Bake in the oven for about 40-50 minutes. We test it with a skewer to check it’s cooked. It will depend on the shape and depth of your tray.

Variations

  • You could reduce the apples a bit and add some blackberries, a classic combination, and the lovely purple-red staining from the berries will make it visually interesting too
  • Vanilla, it always splits opinion, you could a teaspoonful

We let the Apple Tray Bake cool till warm in the tray and then cut it into a grid of portions (they need to be a decent size, in my opinion!) and eat some warm with a cuppa. You will want to have it later for pudding, served with your favourite custard. If you have leftovers for the following day they really benefit from 15 seconds in the microwave.