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07.12.2012

Lucy’s Baking Blog #1

Excitement abound: today we’re introducing what we hope will be the first of many cake-shaped comfy blog posts, as our very own Lucy dons her pinny, cooks up a storm in the sofa.com kitchen, and then tells us all about it. Today, dear friends, the comfy blog shall be willingly hijacked and known as Lucy’s Baking Blog.

My name is Lucy, I’m 20 years old and I work on the sales team here at sofa.com. When I’m not cosying in at the showroom here in Chelsea Wharf, I love to bake. I take inspiration from many people: the ‘Queen of Cakes’, Mary Berry is a particular favourite of mine, and I’m glued to The Great British Bake Off each year.

I’ve baked for as long as I can remember, and from today I’ll be baking for our showroom visitors every weekend and writing about it here on our comfy blog. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin!

‘tis the season…

December is upon us. We’re two and a half weeks away from Christmas, everyone is rushing around getting all the last bits and pieces to make it as wonderful as we remember it to be each year, and it is COLD. This is the time when we all crave comfort food the most, so something warm and wholesome to cure the winter blues is a must.

Today, I’m baking some organic mini carrot cake muffins, which are the perfect little treat without going overboard on the calories. A natural sweetener, carrot has been used in cakes since the medieval times and became particularly popular during WWII when sugar was not as easy to come by.  As well as meaning that you use less sugar (winner!), carrots also add a beautiful texture to cakes, making them particularly scrummy.

Ingredients (makes about 30 mini muffins or 12-14 regular cupcakes)

For the cakes:

-              150ml Organic Rapeseed Oil

-              100g Organic Wholemeal Flour

-              100g Organic Self- Raising Flour

-              250g Organic finely grated carrots

-              2 Large Organic Free-Range Eggs

-              Zest of 1 Organic Orange

-              120g Organic dark Muscovado Sugar

-              90g Organic Sultanas

-              2 tsp Mixed Spice

-              75g Chopped Organic Walnuts (optional)

-               1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

-              1 tsp Baking Powder

For the icing (optional):

-              200g Organic Cream Cheese

-              200g Icing sugar

Recipe:

1.            Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees centigrade. Line a mini muffin baking tray with mini muffin/cupcake cases. Sift the two flours together, along with the mixed spice, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and put to one side.

2.            Grab an electric whisk and beat the eggs and sugar together until thick and very foamy – they should just about triple in size. Keep whisking on a low speed and slowly pour in the rapeseed oil.

3.            Now, time to ditch the whisk. Grab a spatula and carefully fold in the flour mixture a little bit at a time until it’s nice and smooth – I find a nice figure of 8 motion works best. Add in the grated carrot, sultanas, and the nuts if you’d like to go for them.

4.            Spoon the mixture into your cake cases; they should take a small teaspoon-full each. Pop them in your pre-heated oven for 8-12 minutes and voila! When they are ready, they will be a nice dark brown colour and spring back when you press them. Take them out of the oven and leave to cool.

5.            These cakes are deliciously moist so don’t necessarily need icing, but if you would like to, just mix the cream cheese with the icing sugar until smooth and thick.

Tip: If you would like a spicier carrot cake, reduce the mixed spice to 1tsp, and add a tsp of ground ginger and a tsp of cinnamon instead.

Tip: You can play around with the icing quite a lot: I like mine to be very thick and pipe-able; if you prefer yours thinner, add 50g butter; and if you’d like it less sweet, you can reduce the icing sugar respectively.  Spread or pipe the icing on to your cakes and they are good to go!

Enjoy!

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