As of yesterday, I’ve turned 29. The very last year of my 20s *shudders*. Where’s that time machine when I need it? The only consolation is that my birthday celebrations seem to get better every year!
True enough, I had a fabulous time with a bunch of crazy, fun loving people. Though I’ll say my liver won’t agree with me here. We started the celebration on Monday night at Sid’s Pubs. Plenty of laughters ensued. Not so sexy was the end of the night after quite a few strong drinks including the all-time favourite Jagerbombs, Irish Car Bombs, and even Graveyard. I forgot to snap a pic of the Strawberry Cheesecake, brought in by the ever bubbly Evelyn. Thanks darl! There was even some Chicken Dance, keeping up with the Oktoberfest spirit.
Last night Frank and I went to Al-Amar for dinner, and we revisited our favourite dishes over few glasses of arack. I won’t blab on about the food as I’ve blogged about them previously. This was then followed by yet another bottle of Jagermeister at Circus KL. Needless to say, it was rather messy. I might still have Jagermeister flowing in my system.
Oh, and here’s the birthday outfit.
Necklace and Dress from Dreamscape by Casey Wong. Quality is great with very reasonable pricing. Check it out!
So…. while on recovery mode today, I thought I’d bake a cake for myself. I’m surprised that I’ve never made a Carrot cake before, since it’s super easy. Not the same as the savoury, steamed version ie “Chai Tao Kway”, this is one of the most popular desserts in the UK and US. During the Medieval period, sugar was hard to come by, so carrots and other root vegetables such as beetroots have been commonly used to sweeten the cakes. Carrot cake was made popular during World War II due to the rationing of sugar (and everything else). Though nowadays, it’s become a cafe staple and family favourite simply for its taste.
This version by George Calombaris is especially decadent. I loved how Lemon zest was added to the Cream Cheese Icing for a little tartness. Here I’ve swapped half the flour to wholemeal flour as usual and decreased the sugar. It adds even more texture to the cake. This is as moist, dense, with plenty of natural sweetness from the carrots and aromatic with spices. Best of all, it’s even a little healthy!
Recipe adapted from Masterchef Magazine Issue 3.
200 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Carrots, Peeled, Coarsely Grated
50g Pistachios (Plus Extra, to garnish)
1/2 Cup Plain Flour
1/2 Cup Wholemeal Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Bicarb Soda
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
Cream Cheese Icing
150g Cream Cheese
150g Icing Sugar
Zest of One Lemon and 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a round cake pan and line the base with baking paper. Combine oil and vanilla extract in a jug.
Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar on high speed for 5 minutes or until thick and pale. Reduce speed to low, and add the oil mixture in a thin, steady stream until emulsified.
Add carrots, sultanas, walnuts, pecans and pistachios, but don’t fold in yet. Sift flour, baking powder, bicarb soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt and spices, then using a large spoon, fold in until just combined.
Spoon batter into prepared pan, then bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 40 minutes. Cover with baking paper to prevent over-browning and bake for a further 15 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely in the pan, then turn out onto a plate.
Meanwhile, to make cream cheese icing, using an electric mixer, beat butter on high speed until pale and fluffy. Add cream cheese, piece by piece, then gradually beat in icing sugar until just combined. Add lemon zest and juice, and stir to combine.
Using a spatula, spread the icing in a smooth layer over the top of the cake, then using the tip of spatula, create ripples in the icing. Scatter with extra pistachios.
Enjoy this with a cup of tea. And here’s to another great year ahead before the dreaded big 3-o!