With the dogs keeping me trapped in one place for much of the past couple of weeks, I’ve taken to watching episodes of Master Chef.
Last week there was a bake-off between three of the contestants. The brief was to impress Nigella Lawson with a homestyle cake. They had 90 minutes to figure out what to make (ie. know the recipe well enough to just get stuck in), scoot to the pantry to claim their ingredients, get it all done and plate up something fabulous to present to the judges.
It was 90 minutes of cake madness. The stand-out winner (Matt Sinclair) chose to make one of my personal favourites: a carrot cake. He put a slightly different twist on it by baking the cake in two pans so that it would bake more quickly (very cunning) and sandwiching the layers together making up some carrot cake jam he whipped up. He spread some lemony cream cheese icing in the middle as well, then used the rest of the icing to top the cake before sprinkling it with candied walnuts. It looked AMAZING. No, it looked delicious. Completely delicious – and I really (really!) wanted a slice.
So, over the weekend, whilst Himself was available to puppy-sit, I tried to replicate as much of Matt’s creation as I could remember. Fortunately I already have a carrot cake recipe that I’ve used successfully many times, so all I needed was a plausible recipe for carrot cake jam.
However, all the recipes I hunted down seemed to either leave out something I remembered Matt using… or include something not in my kitchen. So I improvised and came up with my own variation, which was good fun.
The next step was to make my carrot cake and improvise a lime cream cheese icing. After all, cooking is often about using what you’ve got to hand – and at present we have limes!
As soon as the whole thing was assembled, we hoed into it. Verdict from Himself: “Yum!!” Also: “More?”
I think we can call it a success 🙂
Oh, and after all that, I found the recipe for Matt’s cake on the MasterChef site yesterday! Ah well, mine worked pretty darn well, so if you’d like my recipe-combo to try, please please let me know.