Sitting at the traffic lights the other day got me thinking about recipes I haven’t used for while. It wasn’t so much the change signal that took me on the nostalgia trip, more the sight of an all-in-one boob tube short number – you know the ones I mean. Flimsy cotton fabric, elastic above the bust and at the waist and shorts below. I’m sure I had something similar (in apricot towelling) several decades ago. It was all bad the first time round – even worse now (perhaps I’m showing my age?!).
Then at the markets the next day, I spied another one – but with trousers instead of shorts. It was a sign. So I figured it was time to dust off an old recipe and see if it fared better than the fashion comeback. But, what to make?
This was solved quickly when I tasted a piece of cake my Aunt had just baked. Carrot cake was huge – bigger than the shoulder pads I wore at the time – some years ago. Gigantic carrot cakes lathered in cream cheese icing and Miami wine cooler got me through many a long hour as an ad agency junior. Yep, I know I’m really showing my age now.
I figured it must be at least 15 years since I’ve baked one, probably more. So, armed with Aunty Milly’s recipe (which, of course, I’ve altered to suit what I had in the pantry), I gave it a whirl.
The core ingredient – carrot. You’ll need two cups of it grated (3-4 medium carrots). Line a 22m round tin with baking paper and turn your oven to 180 C.
Sift together 3/4 cup plain flour, 1/4 cup cornflour, 1/2 cup ground almonds, 1 1/2 teaspoons each of baking powder and baking soda, 1 tablespoon each of ground cinnamon and ground ginger.
To your sifted ingredients, add 1/2 cup each of chopped walnuts, sultanas, and coconut (I used coconut flakes, but you could use desiccated or threads).
In a separate medium size bowl, whisk two eggs (size 7) with 1 cup of brown sugar (lightly packed). Mix in 3/4 cup of oil (I use rice bran), 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence or paste and 1/2 cup of crushed pineapple (well-drained on a paper towel). Finally, add your carrot and mix through.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and fold through with a large spoon. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for about 45 minutes until cooked (you know the drill, the cake will begin to come away from the sides of the tin and a skewer will come out clean).
Cool for 15 minutes in the tin, before transferring to a cooling rack.
When completely cold, ice. You can go traditional with a lemon cream cheese icing – but I prefer a simpler plain lemon butter icing (not a butter cream though).
The result – pretty jolly good if I do say so myself. Moist, full of texture and incredibly tasty. Would work well as single portion cup cakes. Unlike the boob tube, this does warrant a come back. Give it a go, you won’t be disappointed.
Yum!! Such a delicious cake! Does Aunty Milly use ground almonds or was that your added extra??
My addition was the sultanas. Next time, I might give some chopped dried apricots a try as well. Let me know how you get on.
Ta… oh and I think the name official name for the boobtube/shorts is ‘playsuit’… they look very cute on 6 year olds… didn’t you keep your apricot one? I’m sure it would still fit you…!
Delicious. I’m putting an order in for next time we’re in Welly.
Give it a try yourself, throw something else into it and let us know how it tasted. Or, you could get out the sewing machine and make a playsuit! My vote is for cake.
Marija, if you make the cake, Ana can make the playsuit and you can swap…!!