Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Helloooo lovely lovely people. Did you all have a nice weekend? I spent mine baking, running around with my face painted like a snow leopard [always good], and completing essential Primark expeditions.

Just one more week and then Easter! In which I'll be able to faff about, see my family....and work. No rest for the wicked.

So this beautiful muffin above [sitting on a beautiful scarf donated unknowingly by my lovely flatmate] is in fact slightly healthy! I know, healthy. It's so unlike me! It's a date and pecan carrot cake. Nuts are healthy, right? And there's probably one of your 5 a day packed in there too. More to the point, they're delicious and have in fact been scored 10/10 by an independent judge [actually my friend Andrew] and if you do in fact bake them, you're guaranteed love and adoration from all around.

Also, this is awesome. Kate Nash meets Kate Bush? After Noel Fielding performed Wuthering Heights, this song is having a major revival in my mind.

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

This makes about 15 muffins-ish, so I tend to halve the recipe.

2 cups of plain flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups of light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups of flavourless oil 
[I used vegetable oil, I think? Or maybe sunflower. Probs doesn't matter.]
4 eggs
3 cups of finely grated peeled carrots
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped dates, or a dates/raisins mix
1 teaspoon Jack Daniels, or just scotch/whiskey
[This is optional but I bought a bottle to make bread and butter pudding with so I keep trying to sneak it in everywhere to prove to myself it's useful.]

  1. Preheat the oven to  180 degrees celcius. Or, if you have a stupid gas oven like me, point the dial vaguely in the direction of 180 and hope it all works out.
  2. In a largeish bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
  3. In another [slightly bigger] bowl, whisk the sugar and oil together until you have a lovely oily paste. Sometimes the brown sugar clumps, so I have a go at breaking up the lumps before I add the oil [there's also something quite fun about crushing things with your bare hands].
  4. Beat in the eggs, and then add the flour mix bit by bit, trying not to get flour everywhere, or wipe your floury hands all over your nice clean leggings. Add the booze now too. Some of you may want to 'test' the booze, to make sure it's still good. This is an excellent idea and I thoroughly approve.
  5. Fold in the carrots, dates and pecans - voila! You have your mix!
  6. Pop into your prepared pan - but be warned, this cake doesn't rise that much, so a semi full muffin pot will produce a nicely sized muffin
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are nicely golden, the tops spring back when pressed, or a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  8. Top with cream cheese frosting and a pecan, and bask in the glow.

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