So a couple of things have irked me this week.
Firstly, at the weekend, the Husband got stuck into the kitchen and produced a much, much better Pumpkin Soup than I did the previous weekend. He followed a Jamie Oliver recipe, right down to frying the sage leaves first in the oil which you then cook your 'base veg' (the carrot, celery, onions type veg, not the ones shouting obscenities as you chop them up). It was delicious. Grrr.
Secondly, I watched an episode of GBBO.
I know. Shoot me for my hypocrisy.
In my defence, there wasn't even an old episode of CSI Miami (my least favourite of the CSIs) running on 5 USA, and
|What would Messrs Hollywood & Berry say about my icing? On second thoughts, don't answer that...|
So in the interests of testing whether I was right in my views about this sort of TV programme, I decided to endure it. You'll be pleased (or not) to know that I remain firm in my view that this is really car crash TV for the middle classes, and quite exploitative in the way that it plays on peoples' emotions and feelings. All that smarmy niceness and then killer comments basically telling the contestants that their cakes were rubbish. And I still don't really know what it's all FOR? I mean, for a start they weren't really rubbish - those cakes. And secondly, we all know that there are thousands of amazing bakers all over the country producing stunning cakes (both in looks and taste). So why do we need to allow some of those amazing bakers to sob into their fondant icing potagers in public? Hmm?
Anyway, rant about the premise of the programme aside, I have to say that I found the actual baking very compelling, and I liked the vegetable bakes a lot. I am a big fan of veg in cake, and when I was flicking through some books and trying to work out what to bake for a coffee morning this morning, I was mindful of the fact that despite my soup, the Husband's soup and the curry I made for the Harvest Festival Supper, we had still not got through even one of the great big enormous pumpkins from the veg patch.
Now, I know Dan Lepard doesn't take kindly to having his recipes repeated on anyone else's websites/blogs, but I made so many changes to his Ginger Root Cake that I really think this can be called an original cake. For a start, I used pumpkin, rather than root vegetables. But whatever, I was really REALLY pleased with how this turned out. Light and with a lovely ginger flavour in the cake. And of course, lemon and ginger are a match made in heaven, so the icing was a must - and who cares that my attempts at artful drizzling were less than beautiful...
Pumpkin Ginger Cake
2 large eggs
100g dark muscovado sugar
100g treacle (see top tip below for weighing)
150ml sunflower oil (plus a little extra for weighing out the treacle - see below)
160g grated pumpkin
4 balls of stem ginger, chopped fairly small
175g spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
150g icing sugar
juice of half a lemon
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan and line a 20cm round cake tin with greaseproof paper.
Separate one of the eggs and put the white to one side, then beat together the whole egg and the separated yolk with the sugar till thick and foamy.
Add the oil and treacle. A top tip for weighing out the treacle is to grease the bowl you weigh it into very lightly with a little oil, also if you are spooning it out of the tin, wipe a little oil over the spoon too, then the treacle will slide out easily. Also works for syrup.
Beat in the oil and treacle until smooth, then stir in the pumpkin and chopped ginger.
Mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarb and ground ginger, then stir this into the mixture.
Whisk the reserved egg white to the soft peak stage, then fold it into the rest of the cake mixture with a metal spoon.
Scrape the batter into the tin and bake for 40-50 minutes.
Allow the cake to cool in the tin, then make up the icing by mixing together the lemon juice and icing sugar. You want a pretty runny icing to drizzle over the cake.
I also made Dan's Lemon Butter Cake - which if you own a copy of 'Short and Sweet' (and if you don't I thoroughly recommend that you get one immediately) is on the next page to the Ginger Root Cake - but I pretty much followed the recipe for that, and I'd recommend you do too...