Carrot cake with a Praline topping

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I have come to the conclusion that I must have been Genghis Khan in a previous life! I’m a good girl! I don’t smoke, drink or do drugs (I don’t think HRT can be considered hardcore!). I have been single for 13 years and to be honest I haven’t got time or the inclination for man hunting! Now that I’ve said all that, all I seem to get at the moment is stress!

My son, as I have mentioned before, as Chronic Pain Syndrome so for the past 3 weeks we have struggled to keep his legs moving. This resulted in him collapsing in the bathroom the other night. Ben is about 8 inches taller than me and a big strapping 15-year-old! Needless to say trying to rescue him was interesting to say the least! Thank goodness we have very large bath towels!

Then to top it all, my poor little whippet, Felix, who broke his leg in August, was rushed back into the veterinary hospital to have some of the metalwork removed from his leg as it was causing him problems. In fact his femur had not healed properly because one of the wires was rubbing the newly forming bone away.

I will add at this point that after a few days rest and strong pain killers Felix is back to his usual self, terrorising the household.

I’m sharing this carrot cake recipe because it is one of those cakes that instantly hits the spot! You know the ones, where the room goes quiet except for the odd “mmm”. And let’s face it, I could so with a bit of peace and quiet at the moment!

Ingredients:

  • 150g butter
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 175g grated carrots
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g SR flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 100g chopped walnuts (optional –or  add 100g extra flour)
  • rind of 1 orange (optional)

 

Method: 

  1. Grease and line an 8 inch cake tin
  2. Preheat oven at 180C / 160C fan
  3. Melt the butter .
  4. Beat in the sugar, carrots, salt, spice and eggs
  5. Fold in the dry ingredients
  6. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for about 1 hour

 

Topping ingredients:

Method:

  1. Mix together the cream cheese, orange juice and icing sugar. DO NOT BEAT as it will become runny.
  2. Spread over the cool cake.
  3. Melt the sugar and nuts gently over a low heat until the sugar is caramel brown in colour. Do not stir , simply swirl as the sugar will crystallise.
  4. Pour the mixture onto a piece of parchment paper and allow to cool completely.
  5. Chop the praline and scatter over the cake.

 

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Father Christmas cake topper

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Equipment:

  • Red, Black, Brown and White sugarpaste
  • Gum Tragacanth or CMC
  • Dried Spaghetti
  • Lollypop sticks
  • Royal Icing
  • Silver wire
  • Brown Florist tape
  • Flesh, Autumn leaf, Liquorice, Egg Yellow and Baby Blue colour gel

Instructions:

  1. Knead a small amount of gum tragacanth into the red sugarpaste.
  2. Take 1/3 of the red paste and roll into a fat sausage shape, making sure to leave the middle section slightly fatter. Bring the ends around to form the legsDSCF4952
  3. Take half of the remaining red and form into a cone shape (a fat cone if you want a tubby Father Christmas). Insert a lollypop stick through the cone and attach to the legs. Mark where the belt should go.    DSCF4954             DSCF4956        
  4.       Colour some of the white paste with the flesh colour gel and knead in a little gum tragacanth. Roll some of the paste into a ball to form the head and add a small ball for the nose.
  5. To form the hat, take half the remaining red paste and roll in into a cone shape. Thin out the bottom until the cone resembles a mexican hat. Attach to the head.DSCF4962
  6. To make the arms, half the remaining red paste and roll it into two long thin cones. Hollow the fat end out slightly to insert the hands.     DSCF4959
  7.      Attach the arms to the body using a piece of dried spaghetti. Add brown boots, a black belt and white trimming to the suit. To make the white paste look like fur simply stab it with a shell tool.   Add blue eyes.    DSCF4964
  8.  Colour a little royal icing with liquorice colour gel and add hair and a beard.         DSCF49669. An extra finishing touch is to add wire glasses.