Sorry, but due to a few goings-on here in London, I am dispensing with French Fridays this week.  I mean, how can I possibly be French on this, the most British of Fridays?  I got up early this morning to get a jump on my day before heading next door to watch the festivities.

To celebrate Kate and Will’s big day, we, like many households in England, are having a mini street party with our neighbors, so I made a version of my wedding cake.  When the mister asked me to be his “trouble and strife” (Cockney rhyming slang for “wife”), he did it over high tea at the Four Seasons, with my ring perched on top of a slice of carrot cake.  Only, it wasn’t billed as carrot cake in our special menu, it was “fancy date and carat cake.”  And so, how could we NOT have that as our wedding cake?  But, since not everyone likes carrot cake, we also had a chocolate cake with raspberries.

So, on this auspicious occasion, I wish the young couple all the best as they start their life together.  My mister and I will be married seven years this September, and our years together have been full of good times and challenges, highs and lows, like everyone else.  We had the good fortune of not dealing with the world’s media scrutinizing our every move, my every haircut, the mister’s every tie — marriage is hard enough without everyone else on the planet weighing in.  So, good luck Will and Kate – I hope you find the happiness in your relationship that we all want in our marriage.

Fancy Date and Carat Cake

Cake

  • 300 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • good grating nutmeg (about 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 250 g light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 300 ml sunflower oil
  • 300 g carrots, peeled and grated
  • 200 g mixture of golden raisins, dried currants, chopped dates, dried cranberries and dried cherries

Frosting

  • 500 g butter, room temp
  • 300 g cream cheese, room temp
  • around 4-5 cups icing sugar

Preheat oven to 325 F and prepare two 9-inch cake pans by buttering them and lining the bottom with parchment paper.  Before you start – the secret to making a killer carrot cake is to treat it like it’s a muffin:  mix all your dry ingredients in one bowl, all your wet in another, then pour the wet into the dry and mix until it’s only just combined.  So, with that said, in a large bowl, combine your flour, baking soda and powder, spices and salt, then use a whisk to sift them all together.  I like to toss in the dried fruit at this time – coating it with flour helps it keep from sinking to the bottom.  In a separate medium size bowl, mix together the brown sugar, eggs and oil – mix well (use a hand beater if you need to) to get rid of any brown sugar lumps.  Pour into the flour mixture and combine about half-way before adding in the grated carrots and finishing.  Moving quickly, divide the batter into the two pans and bake about 30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

While the cake is cooling, make your frosting.  I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of cream cheese frosting, which is why mine looks more like a half-buttercream/half-cream cheese frosting.  It’s lighter and less claggy.  Anyway, I use my standing mixer to beat the heck out of the butter and about a cup of the icing sugar before disengaging and beating in the cream cheese by hand.  Until today, all my cream cheese frosting attempts have resulted in a very loose frosting, so this seems to work for me.  Anyway, make sure the two are well blended and the sugar is sifted so that you don’t get any lumps.  This recipe makes enough to do the full cake, including the sides.  Wait until the cakes are completely cook before frosting.

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