Carrot Cake

This is based on a Jamie Oliver recipe. I reduced the size by 60% and it still provides enough for a reasonable (but not greedy) eight portions. I also cut down the butter and sugar by 20%, used wholemeal instead of white flour, and added some raisins:CarrotCakeTile

  • 80g butter (softened)
  • 80g soft brown sugar
  • 70g plain wholemeal flour
  • 2 heaped tsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs (separated)
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 40g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 100g coarsely grated  carrots
  • A small handful of raisins
  • Mascarpone icing (half this quantity with lime juice and zest)

Preheat the oven to (180C or gas mark 4).

Line a small loaf tin (mine was 20×10 cms) with silicone paper. Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy.

Sift together the flour, the baking powder and the mixed spice.

Beat the egg whites until stiff, using the electric whisk.

Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, with a little flour and add the orange zest and juice. Then mix in the remaining flour, ground almonds, walnuts, grated carrot and the raisins, making sure all the ingredients are well combined. Then gently fold the egg whites into the cake mix.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, longer if necessary.

When cooked, remove from the oven and allow to stand for about 10 minutes, and turn out (so the cake is upside-down) onto a cooling rack. When thoroughly cool, ice the ‘top’ of the cake. ENJOY!





Butternut squash and ginger muffins

A squash based muffin recipe. These are low sugar and low fat, but I still think a quite acceptable as a ‘sweet cake’. Makes 12 small muffins:

  • 12 small muffin casesButternut_Muffins
  • 40ml light olive oil
  • 40ml milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 400g (previously roasted) butternut squash (skin and seeds removed)
  • 1 tbsp finely grated root ginger
  • 200g wholemeal plain flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 60g light soft brown sugar
  • 75g raisins

Place the muffin cases in a muffin baking tin.

Heat the oven to 210C (Gas Mark 7).

Liquidise the oil, milk, eggs, squash and ginger.

Sieve together the flour, baking powder and sugar, into a large bowl, and stir in the raisins

Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl and whisk the contents together.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and bake for about 15 minutes until cooked.

Christmas pudding bread pudding


A Christmas leftover recipe (Christmas pudding and brandy butter), which (if frozen) allows you to re-experience Christmas in small bites over the coming months. It’s based on my recipe for Bread Pudding.

Makes 12 ‘modest’ pieces:

  • 4 large ‘thick cut’ slices of stale wholemeal bread
  • 400g leftover Christmas Pudding
  • 100g leftover brandy butter (make sure it is a ‘fridge’ temperature so you can grate it into the above ingredients)
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 nutmeg grated
  • 300ml milk
  • 1 large egg (beaten)

Cut the bread into small cubes and put into a large bowl. Crumble in the Christmas pudding, grate in the brandy butter, add the spices and ensure the ingredients are well mixed. Stir in the milk and egg. Then scrunch the mixture with your fingers, ensuring that the bread is broken up and the pudding evenly distributed. Leave to soak for 15 minutes.

Heat the oven to 170C/Gas Mark 3. Line the bottom of a cake tin with silicon paper (I used a tin about 20cm x 10cm). Transfer to the cake tin, smoothing the top. Bake for about 1.5 hours until firm and golden brown (cover with foil if browns too much).

When cooked, turn out onto a wire rack (removing the paper). Cut into squares. If freezing separate squares with silicon paper.

I think this is equally good, cold just like a cake; or hot with custard.


Muffins from left-overs


What do you do with two overripe bananas, some slightly out of date double cream and dates left over from last Christmas? Answer: banana and date muffins.

Perhaps I should explain the cream. Double cream has about half the fat of oil. So if you have a recipe that uses 55ml of oil, you would need 110ml of double cream and would need to cut down on other liquid ingredients by 55ml. I should add that the ‘non-roundedness’ of the ingredient quantities in this recipe is because I have already cut the original recipe down by a third so that it yields 12 small muffins.

To make 12 small muffins:

  • 200g wholemeal plain flour
  • 4 heaped tsps baking powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 65g brown sugar
  • 110g seeded chopped dates
  • 2 overripe bananas (mashed)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 55ml  oil (or double the quantity of double cream)
  • 55ml milk (if not using double cream)
  • 12 small cakes cases

Put the cakes cases in a 12 hole bun tin. Pre-heat the oven (200C-210C/Gas Mark 5).

Sift together the flour, baking powder and mixed spice (the bran from the flour will remain in the sieve – just tip this onto the flour mixture and mix in with a spoon). Sift in the sugar and add the chopped dates. Mix well with the flour etc, ensuring that there are no sticky clumps of dates.

Beat together the bananas, eggs and double cream (or oil/milk combination). Add these to the flour mixture and mix together ensuring there are no areas of ‘dry’ flour.

Spoon into the cake cases, and cook in the top of a moderately hot oven (200C-210C/Gas Mark 5) for about 15 minutes (take a look after 12 minutes and turn the tin so that the front is at the back).

When cooked (golden brown). take out of oven, allow to stand for a minute or two and cool the muffins on a wire rack.

Muffins tend to go mouldy quite fast. So if they won’t be eaten within a couple of days, freeze them. Individual muffins can be defrosted in the microwave – in mine one muffin will be pleasantly warm after 2:15 minutes on defrost.