Showing posts with label baking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label baking. Show all posts

Thursday, 17 January 2013

What's on your list?

Photo credit: Typography Served

Happy New Year! I know we're a bit late to the party, but January is not over yet!

I'm not really one for making New Year's resolutions - I'm all about under promising and over-delivering - vague things like, "I should exercise more" and "I'm going to try and be punctual" mean I almost always reach my goal! However, the past few weeks have got me thinking about what I really want out of this year and my list goes a little something like this...

1. I will bake more

I adore baking and get a lot of joy out of it, but I don't do it often enough. This year, I'm going to aim to bake two new things a month (be that biscuits, cakes, tarts, desserts - as long as it is something I'd like to eat, it qualifies!).  Husband, get ready to take treats in to work!

2. I will commit to 3 work-outs a week

Now this is a scary one for me - as much as I try, I can't seem to enjoy exercise. I like the idea of it and the way I feel afterwards, but I count down the minutes/seconds/nano-seconds until it's over. Mostly, I just like the idea of having a toned bod. So for 2013, my aim is to do some form of exercise at least 3 times a week (it can be a walk, run, DVD, exercise sheet - as long as it gets me moving). I'm dreading it already... if I can't learn to love it, hopefully I can learn to tolerate it!

3. I will read more books

I love reading and I'd like to broaden my reading horizons in 2013. I'm going to choose 12 books to read before the end of the year (the only criteria is that they can't be chick-lit - my standard go-to read!). As this is my list, I also get to decide what constitutes chick-lit... :)

4. I will be more creative

I am a Pinterest addict. I can spend hours poring over ideas and crafts which lead me to new websites and blogs. There are so many clever and talented people out there and I am always so inspired by what I come across. Last year, I made a Christmas bauble wreath. I had wanted to make one for a long time and throughly enjoyed it. So this year I would like to put a bit more of the 'Oooh, I'd like to make that' into action. I'm setting myself a goal of creating something new every month, using Pinterest as my inspiration. I'll be sure to document my successes (and those that aren't so successful!) on the blog. 

5. I will relax more

I want to stress less in 2013. Last year was a busy and emotional one for me. This year will be more about me finding time for myself, saying 'no' when I need to, spending quality time with my husband and friends, appreciating life and living in the moment.

What's on your list for 2013?


Monday, 23 April 2012

Scrumptious Sunday

The delicious smell of baking always reminds me of lazy Sunday afternoons at home. My mum is an incredible baker - puddings, cakes, biscuits, tarts - you name it, she can bake it! For as long as I can remember, she has spoilt the family with yummy treats and I loved nothing more than helping her in the kitchen.

When I was 10 years old I entered a baking competition. I made an orange cake with orange icing (original, I know); but more surprisingly, I won! The prize was a bag full of baking goodies and R100 in cash (about £10 in those days) - how cool was I? I was ridiculously pleased with myself and so the baking bug had bitten...

Fast forward a few years and I still get great enjoyment out of baking. Luckily my husband has a sweet tooth and is only too happy to taste-test my efforts!

On Sunday I decided to try the Hummingbird Carrot Cake (with the addition of pineapple) and I think it's possibly one of the tastiest cakes I've eaten!

Cake kisses,
Nicky x

Carrot cake ingredients:

300g soft light brown sugar
3 eggs
300ml sunflower oil
300g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp ground cinnamon (plus extra to decorate)
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
200g carrots (grated)
100g pineapple chunks (crushed) - the recipe doesn't include this but i
100g chopped walnuts (plus extra whole to decorate)

Cream cheese icing ingredients:

400g icing sugar, sifted
80g unsalted butter (at room temp)
200g cream cheese, cold

Cake method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC (325ºF).
  2. Mix the sugar, eggs and oil together with a hand mixer.
  3. Gradually add the sifted dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla extract.
  4. Stir in the walnuts, pineapple chunks and grated carrots by hand until they are properly mixed.
  5. Pour the mixture into three greased and lined tins and smooth with a spoon (make sure you line the tins as the cake tends to stick). Bake in the pre-heated oven (170ºC) for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave to cool slightly in the tins before turning onto a wire rack. 
* I only have two tins so washed and re-used one of the tins once the first batch was done.

Cream Cheese icing method:
  1. Beat the icing sugar and butter with a hand mixer. Add the cream cheese (in one go) and beat until completely incorporated.
  2. Continue beating on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Take care not to over beat as it can become runny quite quickly.
Assembling the cake:

When the cakes are cool, place one on a cake stand and spread about a quarter of the icing over it. Repeat with the other two layers. Spread the remaining icing over the sides. Decorate with chopped walnuts and a light sprinkling of cinnamon.