It’s been a long while since I’ve done a spot of baking. Oddly enough, this period of kitchen absenteeism has seen me eating more cakes and sweets than ever before, thanks to the local pâtisserie shop down the road. I’m pretty sure I have become their best customer since the birth of our baby girl; once a place where I would shop mainly for our daily bread, I now also add croissants, brioches and bircher muesli to the daily routine, sometimes a quiche or chicken salad for lunch, and always a couple of blocks of chocolate to savour around 10:00pm once both kidlets are tucked in.
But I had a friend coming around for afternoon tea today, and whilst my first instinct was to pick up a box of chocolate éclairs, I decided instead to turn on the oven. In running a quick mental analysis on which would require more physical and mental exertion, setting aside an hour or so to bake a cake was by far the easier option than a “quick” trip to the shops with a baby and toddler in tow.
The first cake that came to my mind was a carrot cake, first because it is one of my favourite cakes and, secondly, I could fool myself into believing that it would qualify as a vegetable intake in my toddler’s diet.
I made a few changes on this occasion. Instead of using a loaf tin, I made the cake in a 24cm round springform tin which needed about 60 minutes in the oven to cook. And instead of a cream-cheese frosting, I made a simple lemon icing by mixing together about 2 cups of icing sugar with just enough lemon juice to make a thick but spreadable icing. As soon as the top of the cake is spread with icing, quickly decorate with some shop-bought marzipan carrots. Leave the cake for an hour or so to set before serving. Afternoon tea is served.