For this Easter Bank Holiday Weekend I thought it would be nice to post a cake recipe. But already I have a bit of a headache (which I think could possibly be attributed to an over consumption of chocolate eggs) so I’ve gone for a light, chocolate-free, fruity number! I made some fresh tropical fruit orb thingys to decorate it, which you can see as Easter eggs or as Spring flowers (or just bits of fruit), and then added some paper Avocets. There’s nothing significant about the use of avocets, I just wanted to draw some black and white birds with long legs to give the cake some height and these wetland birds seemed to fit the bill…(sorry it that a bad joke?).
For the cake: 150g light soft brown sugar
2 large free-range eggs
100g sunflower oil
200g grated carrot (about 3)
Zest of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon baking powder
200g wholemeal flour
For the filling:
300g cream cheese
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons icing sugar
170g 0% total Greek Yoghurt
For the icing:
8-10 dessert spoons of icing sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
To decorate (optional):
Fresh mint sprigs
You will also need 1 small round cake tin, greased with butter and lined with a circle of grease proof paper
Pre-heat your oven to 190°C
First make the cake: Whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale and fluffy (or in my case until your arm aches because you’ve been making cakes all day and can’t be bothered to wash the electric whisk again)
Whisk in the oil then add the grated carrot and lemon zest.
Fold in the baking powder and flour until fully combined and then tip everything into your prepared tin
Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a skewer poked into the middle comes out cleanly
Turn the cake out onto a rack to cool completely
Mix the filling ingredients together in a bowl then put into the fridge to firm up a little while you slice the cooled cake horizontally through the middle
Sandwich the cake together with the cheesecake filling and pop the cake into the fridge for 10-15 minutes
Meanwhile, mix the icing sugar with the juice of 1 lemon until thick and smooth – you want the consistency to be somewhere between double cream and smooth peanut butter, so add the icing sugar bit by bit to the lemon juice and add more or less if needed
Use a melon baller to carve little pastel spheres from a fresh pineapple, mango and melon. Ice the cake and then decorate with the fruit, mint leaves and a gentle snow flurry of icing sugar.
I added some drawings of avocets to mine, which I taped to cocktail sticks, but you can add your own drawings or any other cake decorations you like.
Have a lovely bank holiday. What are you baking this weekend? x
When you’re trying to stick to a new healthy eating plan celebrations and holidays can make huge demands on your willpower.
I’m trying to make a permanent change to my eating habits to balance out some dodgy hormones. In a nutshell I realised I wasn’t getting anywhere near enough fibre and was consuming far too much sugar.
So far it’s going pretty well. I have been able to swap my firm favourites with very similar whole grain alternatives and am eating plenty of fruit. It’s almost easy, and I’m already feeling the benefits which is brilliant.
But now it’s Easter bank holiday weekend and I can’t have an Easter Egg, slab of simnel cake or a hot crossed bun. I figure if I’m struggling with this; how on earth am I going to get through Christmas?!
The only reason it’s been easy so far is because I’ve been switching things I can’t have (like butter) with things I really like but I can have (like avocados). In order to beat my Easter Blues I have decided to try and make a cake out of the things I can eat, but make it look like something I shouldn’t. Make sense?
Somehow Simnel Cake sounded like the easiest thing to mock up. Plus, I’m staying with a friend in Birmingham at the moment so this seemed like a recipe which wouldn’t leave the kitchen too messy.
I can’t really have cake because it contains refined sugar but I found this recipe for banana bread online. It seems there’s enough sweetness in the bananas so that you don’t need sugar- brilliant.
I substituted the plain flour for wholemeal because I thought I might as well make it as good as possible and I baked it in a round cake tin to further trick my brain. When it came out I let it cool and then sliced it in half through the middle. I sandwiched it back together again with a scrummy paste made from about 25-30 dried dates softened with around 4-5 tablespoons of boiling water (keep adding a splash and mashing them until they are the consistency of thick lemon curd). Add to the date paste half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a dessert spoon of cocoa powder. This made a really sweet chocolate filling ideal for this cake, but it’s also good on toast if you miss the occasional chocolate spread.
Obviously the marzipan was going to be the next hurdle, but i winged it and soaked some dried apricots in the same way as the dates (and about the same amount). Using a hand blender I processed 150-200g of whole almonds into the apricot mix. It turned out like a pale peanut butter. It tasted quite pleasant but I think next time a drop of almond essence would give it a more convincing marzipan flavour.
Finally I lightly grilled the cake to make it look authentic and that was it. Simnel Cake.
It was like eating cake, without the headache inducing sugar rush and probably at least one of my five a day; result!