Cake season

October is birthday season at Reclaiming Paradise.  Every year my cake making and decorating powers are challenged in new and ingenious ways.  Both the content and the covering on the cakes have to be new and unusual.  I try to include some garden produce and this year I’ve managed an apple cake, using the lovely Howgate Wonders, a carrot cake with the last of the carrots and a banana and apple cake, with more garden apples:

Howgate Wonder

The lovely Howgate Wonders

The apple cake recipe is tried and tested and has been used for years, using either apples or plums, depending on the season’s garden glut :

Apple Cake

  • approx 600g fruit puree (made from approx 1kg apples, plums, pears, or use your imagination)
  • 100g vegetable oil
  • 225g brown sugar
  • 450g flour
  • 2tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1tsp ginger
  • 225 g raisins
  • 100g nuts (or extra raisins if you’re worried about nut allergies)
  1. Beat together the fruit puree, vegetable oil and sugar
  2. Mix remaining dry ingredients
  3. Fold into puree mixture
  4. Pour into a large greased cake tin and bake for about 1 hour at 180c or gas mark 4.

Cooking time varies a lot depending on how soggy the cake is – so usually a bit longer than an hour. Or, if you did forget to put in enough flour, as I did once when I was multi-tasking two cakes at once,  pour everything into a pudding steamer, steam it for 30 minutes serve it as a pudding. It was rather good but I had to make another cake as well. The advantage of this cake is that it is infinitely flexible, very easy to make and also vegan if you want to share with people who can’t eat dairy products.

This year I also managed  a carrot cake, using the last of the carrots from the garden:

WP_20151030_002 (1)The recipe is another tried and tested family cake, with some added extras.

Carrot cake (with added lime and ginger)

  • 225g butter or margarine
  • 225 g sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • grated rind and juice of a lime (or lemon)
  • 225g carrots
  • 100g ground almonds (or extra flour or raisins if you discover at the last minute that you don’t have almonds or are avoiding nuts)
  • 2cm or so of root ginger, grated (or about 1tsp of dried ginger)
  1. Cream the butter and sugar
  2. Beat in the eggs
  3. Fold in four, carrots, almonds, lime rind, and ginger
  4. Add the lime juice
  5. Bake in a large cake tin at 180c or Gas mark 4 for about 1 and a half hours

I also managed a banana and apple cake this year.  The bananas did not come from the garden, surprisingly, but were the result of a mountain of squishy bananas that had accumulated in the kitchen.  The apples were a replacement for the pineapple that the recipe demanded. They were rather good and next time I might go straight for apples.

Banana and pineapple (or apple) cake

  • 300g sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 300ml sunflower oil
  • 300g bananas (about 3)
  • 300g flour
  • 1 tsp cinammon
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • few drops of vanilla essence
  • 100g pineapple (fresh or tinned or use chopped fresh apple)
  • 100g raisins, nuts or extra fruit
  1. Beat together the sugar, eggs, oil, bananas, cinnamon and vanilla
  2. Add flour and bicarbonate of soda and beat together
  3. Add the fruit (and nuts)
  4. Pour into a large cake tin
  5. Bake at 170c Gas mark 3 for 20-25 minutes

This is another really easy cake, which can be put together quite quickly if you’ve got the ingredients to hand.  To make it extra special, ice with chocolate fudge icing.  It doesn’t keep very well because of all that fresh fruit – but it doesn’t last long anyway in our house.

These all make quite big cakes, which can be made in square or round tins and then decorated depending on the requirements of your family and friends. This is usually the challenging bit.The trick is to throw together the cake and save your time and energy for working out how to turn it into a piano, trashcan, volcano, pizza, swimming pool, cello, beetroot, pumpkin, island, cheese board, terraced house, electric guitar or armadillo. I’ve done them all, with more or less success.

What with all this cake making, actual gardening has been low down the list this last week or so but at least I’ve used some of the garden produce.

4 thoughts on “Cake season

  1. What better way to celebrate all those lovely things you have grown! Perfect for this time of year when things are slowing down in the garden. Lovely recipe ideas – thanks!

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