Saturday home, my favourite time for cooking.
Today our culinary agenda is pretty full. I am making carrot cake with creme cheese frosting and home made pasta.
We have finally bought a pasta machine, and I cannot wait to start the pasta rolling, preparing bolognese ravioli for our dinner and tagliatelle to serve later on during the week. There is a little voice whispering in my head that I am probably attempting too much, but in my eagerness and excitement to roll on my sleeves, I am hardly inclined to listen.
I start with carrot cake first, and in no time the kitchen is full with delicious aromas. There is something so enticing and irresistible in the mixed spice flavours of cinnamon, nutmeg and star anise, suddenly transforming the feeling of this ordinary Saturday into a special festive holiday. The carrot cakes bake beautifully and even, and once out of the oven, the whole family starts to visit the kitchen invited by the delicious smell. Ones cooled, I am assembling them together with the creme cheese topping and leaving them in the fridge to rest.
With a family of three, all exited to be part of the first home made pasta machine rolling adventure and impatient to offer a helping hand, I am no longer in control of the process. Who is rolling the pasta, who is making the bolognese filling, who is cutting the ravioli and who is hanging the tagliatelle to dry, I really do not know. All that I see is a kitchen full of happiness and laughter, and a flour scattered unpardonably absolutely everywhere.
Hours later, when the bellies are full and the kitchen is clean, we sit for a quiet moment talking about everything and nothing, serving a delicious slice of flavour rich and moist carrot cake. What a difference the creme cheese really makes, softening and counter balancing the extravagant and delightful sharpness of the all mix spices, blending all the pleasant flavours of the carrot cake into one.
What a deliciously beautiful end to an excitingly/exhaustingly joyful family day.
- 250 ml sunflower oil
- 4 large eggs
- 300 g light muscovado sugar
- 200 g carrots, coarsly grated
- 300 g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp mixed spice (ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground star anise, ground coriander)
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 75 g walnuts, chopped, plus extra for decorating
- a handful of dried cranberries
For the icing:
- 100 g butter, at room temperature
- 50g icing sugar
- 400 g full-fat cream cheese
- a few drops of vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease two deep 20cm round sandwich tins and line the bases of the cake tins with baking parchment.
2. Put the oil, eggs, and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Whisk until the mixture is well combined, lighter, and noticeably thickened. Gently fold the carrot into the cake batter, then stir in the flour, mixed spice, ginger, and chopped walnuts until evenly blended.
3. Spoon the mixture evenly between the tins. Put the cakes in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden brown, risen, and shrinking away from the sides of the tins. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
4. For the icing: Put the butter, icing sugar, cream cheese and vanilla extract in a bowl and whisk using a hand or electric whisk until smooth and thoroughly blended.
5. Spread half the icing on one cake, sit the other cake on top, and spread the remaining icing on top to make a swirl pattern. Decorate the top of the cake with the walnuts and the dried cranberries.