Baking | Carrot Walnut Cake with Mascarpone Frosting … my best one yet & a nice cake for Easter!

“I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.”
Mae West

Carrot Walnut Cake with Mascarpone FrostingCarrot Walnut Cake with Mascarpone Frosting …  a carrot cake doesn’t get better than this. I’ve made a few in the past. One from Ottolenghi, the Cookbook, and then another a few weeks ago with butter instead of oil. The one with butter was kind of OK. This one a few days ago was fabulous! Sang out loud you can say….

CarrotsA few days ago, my ‘almost good for nothing‘ gardener harvested the last bunch of carrots from my little patch. They were so pretty. I made a chicken, carrot and broccoli stir fried rice for the kids. Some were shared with labourers working in the area. I still had quite a few. I knew it was time for carrot cake.

Carrot Walnut Cake with Mascarpone Frosting The recipe I picked was the BBC Good Food ‘Yummy Scrummy Carrot Cake’ recipe. I adapted it slightly, and it turned out to be the best carrot cake ever … yummy scrummy too as they declare it to be. I’m not going to need another recipe for carrot cake again.

Carrot Walnut Cake with Mascarpone Frosting I substituted a few things. Skipped the raisins and threw in walnuts, used some whole wheat flour too. Changed the frosting entirely. Once again made the cardinal error of forgetting that the recipe said self raising flour. Forgot to add baking powder, and used just baking soda! Call it good fortune. I got the best cake ever!

Carrot Walnut Cake with Mascarpone Frosting Frosting? In the fridge was some leftover homemade mascarpone from the Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Strawberry Mascarpone Gateau. I spiked the frosting with a teeny dash of  Grand Marnier {isn’t necessary though}. I also added a tbsp of homemade bitter kumquat marmalade to the whipped frosting.

Carrot Walnut Cake with Mascarpone Frosting I licked the bowl clean after I was done frosting … it was that good! To tie the flavours and colours together, I added slivers of walnuts {a nut slicer is quite handy here}, and snipped some candied orange over the top. Garnishing is the fun part, therapeutic too. I love the whimsical slivers of walnuts on the top,  and the contrast of the orange against the deep white mascarpone frosting.

Carrot Walnut Cake with Mascarpone Frosting Time for the taste test. as it was time for the teens to come in from school. Vegetables in a cake is always scary ground. I offered them a square each. It hit the spot with both. They had seconds, the lad thirds. Kept praising it.  I think it was the frosting that added to the appeal of the cake. It’s a nice Easter Carrot Cake! Simple too.

Media mention

As I go, I’d like to share a little feature about Passionate About Baking that The Crest Edition of  The Times of India carried yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself there as I flipped through the pages sipping my morning coffee. Thank you TOI!!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking| Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip Buns … Happy Easter

  “Happy Easter. May happy thoughts and springtime flowers brighten all your Easter hours.”
Author Unknown

Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip BunsSo what are you making for Easter Mr PAB asked, referring to the ever ‘hungry’ blog! Moi? I had no plans but he talked me into some. Having studied in convents all my life, I’ve been charmed by hot cross buns for long, long, but never baked a batch. Maybe this was the time! Soon enough,  the sweet aroma of Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip Buns wafted gently through the house!Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip Buns

A hot cross bun is a sweet, spiced bun made with currants or raisins and marked with a cross on the top, traditionally eaten on Good Friday. In many historically Christian countries, buns are traditionally eaten hot or toasted on Good Friday, with the cross standing as a symbol of the Crucifixion. Sharing a hot cross bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if “Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be” is said at the time. Because of the cross on the buns, some say they should be kissed before being eaten.

Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip BunsMy version is non traditional yet quite delicious! I bookmarked a few recipes including one in my Thermomix cookbook, but eventually went for an oft used basic recipe. It’s the one I adapted for Apple Cranberry Almond Olive Oil Pull-Apart Loaf & Popovers from The Pioneer Woman, a ‘light as air’ flavourful dough, one that can take a stuffing, and is quite a fun dough to play with!Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip Buns

Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip BunsStuffing? Yes indeed! I had a small idea creeping into my head as I had strawberries calling to be roasted yet again. I wanted to try adding a small ‘heart‘ of that roasted goodness into my hot cross buns. I cooked the syrup to a thick reduction to ensure the filling stayed ‘stuffed’ in! Also, instead of traditional currants I opted for chocolate chips.Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip Buns

Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip BunsThe recipe never fails. For the ‘cross’ on top I piped some thick stirred plain flour and water. The buns were delicious and disappeared pretty soon. The red heart of roasted balsamic strawberries was a nice surprise as you bit through the bread flooding your palette with flavour and balsamic sweetness. It paired well, as does the chocolate, with an otherwise not too sweet bread.Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip BunsButtermilk keeps the dough light, and the vanilla bean adds gentle, beautiful flavour. If I had placed the buns apart on a large baking sheet I’d have managed individual hot cross buns, but since I used a smaller baking pan, they rose into each other and resulted in a pull apart bread. No regrets however!!Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip BunsI like this dough recipe, and keep simplifying it as I use it more and more. The basic dough is eggless, butter free and light. Yeast, soda and baking powder combine to make sure it rises well. Its versatile too as I’ve used it in Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Olive Oil Pull-Apart Bread some time ago. More recently it popped up on PAB as the base of Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry and Chocolate Buttermilk Rolls.Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip BunsIt’s one those recipes you can keep returning to, experiment with and enjoy in different avatars. I might try using the dough for a slow overnight rise sometime soon. So many ideas to keep the hungry PAB and kids happy, but often the lack of time!Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip Buns

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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