Tag Archives: orange

Chocolate Zucchini Love Cake

27 Feb

Reason to hate the recession #232: The rise of the SAHG (or Stay At Home Girlfriend). The author of the linked article talks about how, since losing her job, she has thrown herself into becoming a better girlfriend to her partner, and provides tips for emulating her new lifestyle. These include Don’t Sleep In, Keep the House Clean, and Keep Yourself Up.

Aaand back in the real world, I have mostly been wearing… Pajama bottoms!

No, I’m just kidding! (Because they shrunk in the wash.) #domesticityfail.

But it looks like I can’t escape the curse of the SAHG. For Valentine’s Day I made a cake, like the sad-sack little stay-at-home woman I am. And worst of all? It’s a LOVE cake. Shaped like a heart. I feel like Sonja from I’m Alan Partridge with her Scatter Love Cushions.

This recipe is adapted from Noble Pig.

Demonstrating my commitment to the love cake, I bought a heart-shaped silicone cake mould. It’s super fun to play with and apparently doesn’t need greasing.

Here are the zucchinis (or “courgettes” to les rosbifs like you and me).

(Sung to the tune of Sailor’s Hornpipe)

“Pop a courgette in your mouth, just before you make the dough/

What they’re made of is a mystery, where they come from no one knows./

You can pick ’em, you can lick ’em, you can chew ’em, you can stick ’em/

If you promise not to sue us, you can shove one up your nose.”

(A prize if you know where those lyrics originally came from.)

Artisan courgette.

Like the circles that you find in the windows of your mind.

Whisk together the dry ingredients.

Two scoops of butter. Like two hearts beating as one.

Her eyes were like [blank] holes in the snow. (Actually, it’s vanilla extract.)

Nothing says I love you more than a bald orange.

Mixing the wet ingredients with the dry.

Add chopped walnuts, orange peel and courgette.

This is a really strange combination, but I like it.

Put half of the mixture into the mould. Remember – no greasing required!

Now time to enjoy some half-time oranges. It’s a cake of two halves boys.

Alas, disaster strikes! The non-stick silicone mould hasn’t lived up to the hype. Most of the cake comes out, but some is still left in the case…

… Looking a little bit like a freshly dug turf.

Still, what’s that expression about making lemonade when life hands you lemons? The cake scrapings provided ample nourishment as I continued the arduous cake-making process.

For the other half of the cake, I greased the mould with a tiny amount of vegetable oil.

As you can see, this worked much much better.

What a difference it makes. They’re like the brothers from The Man in the Iron Mask – if one of them was hideously disfigured. (I can’t quite remember if that’s what happens in the movie).

Mixing up a batch of cream cheese frosting.

With a LOT of this bad boy.

This is the bottom layer cake, with a layer of frosting.

And here is the finished article: two layers of cake sandwiched with frosting and topped with even more frosting! I’ll tell you something – it wasn’t easy to spread, especially because I was working with that crumbly bit of cake. I should have watched this (incredibly comprehensive) frosting tutorial first.

It’s far from perfect. But it’s choc-full of love (and courgette. And chocolate).

And cream. So much cream.

VERDICT

Taste:

Interesting in a good way. It has a very rich chocolately flavour, but with a slight earthiness. It’s quite a dense cake, so the cream cheese frosting provides a nice sharp counterpoint. Between two of us we could only manage a tiny proportion of the whole cake in one sitting.

Recipe pros:

It’s certainly different. Pete looked at me like I’d gone mad when I told him there were green vegetables in it. So that’s a plus.

Recipe cons:

It look way longer to cook than stated in the original recipe. Perhaps that’s due to the silicone mould. On the whole, it was quite a long process, but then this was a labour of love.

POST SCRIPT: Tragedy struck this cake on 15 February. Somebody (pointing no fingers, Peter) forgot to store it in a tin overnight, and by morning the cream cheese frosting had started to develop sweaty grease-beads. And so it was binned.

Truly a Romeo and Juliet tale for our times.

Carrot and Orange Muffins

13 Feb

I like to bake. I also like to write. What I like even more is to tell jokes. Sometimes I combine all three. Some days I just stand in the kitchen, baking and telling jokes to myself and laughing and then writing about it. Usually flour goes everywhere and then I spend time not laughing and cleaning-up. My kitchen is sort of like a mental asylum crossed with the Women’s Institute.

When I decided to make carrot and orange muffins, I knew I was in for some serious cleaning-up afterwards.

Q: How do you tell the difference between a walrus and an orange?

A: Put your arms around it and squeeze it. If you don’t get orange juice, it’s a walrus.

This recipe is taken from the Australian Women’s Weekly Complete Book of Cupcakes and Baking.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp finely grated orange rind

1 1/2 cups firmly packed coarsely grated carrot (about 2 carrots)

1 3/4 self-raising flour

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp mixed spice

For the icing:

2 cups icing sugar

20g butter, melted

2 tbsp orange juice

Adjustments:

I didn’t have any mixed spice, so I didn’t use any.
Method (makes 12):

1. Preheat oven to 180 oC. Line 12-hole pan with cases.

2. Beat oil, sugar, eggs and rind with electric mixer until thick and creamy. Stir in carrot, then sifted dry ingredients.

3. Divide mixture in cases; bake about 30 mins. Stand cakes on wire stand to cool.

4. Make glace icing by sifting icing sugar into small heatproof bowl; stir in butter and enough juice to make a firm paste. Spread onto cakes.

Orange you going to ask what it is?

Attempting to zest the orange and failing.

Instead I grate it on the cheese grater and chop it up finely using a knife. Is this what’s known as the spirit of the Blitz?

Brown sugar.

Is anyone else reminded of Alcatraz?

Quite honestly I feel less worried about the eggs being happy than I do about the chickens. Happy chickens = good. Happy eggs = uneaten, presumably.

The modest star players.

Orange, carrot, it doesn’t matter. On the day of judgement, you will all meet your grater.

Bad news. He’s going to be a vegetable for the rest of his life.

Sifting the dry ingredients into the wet.

Nutritious and delicious.

I wasn’t lying about the flour.

Month-old coleslaw anyone?

Fresh from the oven.

Look at that texture.

This is perhaps the best icing I’ve ever done. Totally accidental.

Pretty snazzy huh? Note the whimsical single blue case.

VERDICT

Taste:

Good. I have to admit that the muffins are lacking in spice (which is my fault for leaving out the mixed spice). They are nice and robust, and not too sweet, but there’s not much to them. While you can’t taste the orange, the carrot adds a pleasant subtle flavour. The icing helps to pick it up overall.

Recipe pros:

Easy. Healthy(?) It contains two (TWO!) of your five-a-day.

Recipe cons:

None. If only I hadn’t left out the mixed spice, it could have been perfect.

But what to do with the leftover orange?

Cheap, cheerful Halloween pumpkin substitute?

Don’t have nightmares.

We got him in the end.

P.S. Want.