Saturday, 22 October 2011

Guilty cake, bread bakeathon #12 and a lovely thing

This is carrot cake but it's also a guilty cake too. I made it yesterday after a particularly shouty morning before the school run. Brian's been on early shifts this week (why can't criminals stick to 9-5? Then he could work normal hours...) which left me outnumbered. On Friday after a shower interrupted by BANG, BANG, BANG on the door and MUMMMEEEE and then getting dressed which involved the door being slammed back on its hinges so the other one could go MUMMMEEEEE at me, starkers, and complain about the previous one I got, shall we say, a little stressed.

It ended with the eldest saying "calm down Mummy" in an irritating Michael Winneresque way (is anything guaranteed to have the opposite effect to calming?) But we made friends, I took them to school, then I made cake.

It's a honey-soaked carrot cake from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Everyday and I've just had a great big slice of it for Saturday breakfast. Breakfast is the best time of day to eat cake. Your appetite is unblunted by previous meals and you've got the rest of the day to use up the calories and there's not much difference between cake and toast and marmalade, except this particular cake's got nearly a pound of carrots in it which makes it one of your five a day.

While the cake was baking and as it was a chilly day which makes it a good idea to have the oven on (since turning on the oil-fired heating is Banned) I made the next instalment in my Big Bread Bakeathon. This is focaccia from the River Cottage bread book and is something I make regularly because it's so lovely with a bowl of veggie soup. I'm not sure mine would come up to Paul Hollywood's exacting standards on The Great British Bakeoff but it's delicious and is a big family favourite. We ate it with roast butternut squash soup which is, basically, autumn in a bowl.

While I was baking the postman arrived with an unexpected parcel. Inside it was a 'Peter's Seedling Pot Maker'. You use the top punch part to wrap newspaper around and then press it into the die part with a little water which fixes the base of the pot. This is perfect for seedlings as you can plant them out in the pot (which then degrades) without disturbing the roots and checking the growth.

The lovely thing about it is that it was made by my Dad who has taken to woodturning at his new home on Mull and the even lovelier thing is that the top part is made from wood from a tree that grew here on our little farm on the Preselis. Paper potmaking can now be a nice indoor winter activity for me ready for the spring sowings. In the meantime it is sitting in pride of place on the mantelpiece.


  1. Chuckle, chuckle.... Your guilty cake looks lovely, and the focaccia perfect.

  2. My landlord's got the radiators hissing out warmth on this chilly New York morning. It's definitely getting to the time of the year when baking becomes very enticing.

    Your cake and focaccia must have disappeared quickly...amidst lots of compliments on your generous gestures!

    The little seedling pot sculpting device is also a beautiful design, well made. My late dad was a prolific furniture maker in his free time, using lots of reclaimed wood and only hand tools...nothing electric for him. You brought back some sweet memories with that last photo. xo

  3. I can vouch for the carrot cake, absolutely delicious. Wonderful mouth-watering pictures of the focaccia... mmmm. Strangely I was in M&S this morning and they were selling Seedling Pot Makers, (never knew such things existed before today).. £8.00 and not nearly as beautiful as your Dad has made, I'd have it purely as an ornament, very beautiful, it invites you to reach out and feel it.

  4. Update to my earlier comment. Today at the shop a colleague kept saying how much she loved carrot cake, and so I attempted to pass along your delicious recipe source on to her.

    Well, Mags, real life being what it sometimes is, she just kept talking about how much she loved carrot cake. (Think she wants us to bake one/buy one for her upcoming birthday cake.)


  5. Snap. I made one too. Even the same recipe, but I had to modify mine as OH doesn't like sweet things and anyway, I didn't have any honey . . . 'tis scrummy.


I am sorry to have to add word verification thing again but I keep getting spammed.