I wonder what I would choose for a birthday cake for the Queen? With the way my oven is misbehaving I hope they’d let me bake it somewhere else – unless of course it is my cake-making mojo which has left me! I know the winner of last year’s Great British Bake-Off had the honour of making the cake this year, and Nadiya Hussein made an orange drizzle cake – thinking back, I had a triumph with a gluten-free orange drizzle… which may well have been the last good cake I made… Did Nadiya see my blog about it and was she inspired? No, actually… she followed a recipe she had made in one of the Bake-Off challenges!

So what would I make – I think unless I went for a traditional fruit celebration cake with a load of fancy icing and sugar work, and clever decoration… I would actually cook a carrot cake. It is my absolute favourite, though I have to confess I’ve never been very lucky with the recipes I’ve used in the past – so if I’m called on to help Her Majesty celebrate her 91st birthday, I will have to do lots of research, lots of practice, lots of taste-tests!

Carrot cake is very popular now, and although I don’t usually have cake – if I see a nice looking one when I’m having coffee with friends then I often give way to temptation. The trouble is, once something becomes popular, then the standard of whatever it is goes down. My recent carrot cake tastings have been marred by dry cake, or stodgy cake, too many big chunks of carrot, or not enough little slivers of carrot, too much cinnamon – way too much cinnamon or no spice at all, too solid or so fluffy it’s more like a sponge cake, no dried fruit or too much or the wrong sort, or dried fruit like bullets, no walnuts/pecans, or peanuts instead of walnuts /pecans (and often topped with mixed chopped nuts which are usually soapy tasting peanuts)  – and as for the frosting – too often too slimy, too often just greasy, too hard or too soft, to dry or too wet, too often flavourless, too often too sweet, the wrong sort of sugar so its crunchy, sometimes hardly any frosting sometimes a mountain of it – and that’s when it is most likely not to be very good!

A good carrot cake should be moist, and just the slightest bit sticky, it should have the right quantities of carrots and fruit and nuts if used, the frosting should be sharp and almost sour with lemon  and cream cheese and just the right amount of sugar. The cake should be deep and a slice able to stand up perkily on its own, and the frosting to make a nice topping, not dribbling down the side… in fact, it should be fit for a queen!

PS… I’ve just noticed I wrote ‘orange dribble-cake’… hmmm, luckily I read through!

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