Great Bookish Bakeoff, leah's stupid life

The Great Bookish Bakeoff – Carrot Cake


The cakes I make and the books I read whilst baking them. 

My 30 day challenge did some good, it made me come up with a whole new blog feature! I bake a lot – well, if you want to eat cake and there is no cake, what are you supposed to do?! While I’m waiting for said cakes to cook, I use the time to catch up on whatever I’m reading, so I thought it would be nice to combine the two.


This was actually the first carrot cake I’d ever eaten let alone made. The idea of putting vegetables into a cake kind of blows my mind, it’s sick and wrong. Whoever you are that invented the carrot cake, there is something very wrong with you, but thank God there is. This is my dad’s tipple of choice so when my mum bought home the recipe I thought I ought to give it a go. I adapted the recipe a bit (I didn’t have any sunflower oil and I wasn’t about to make cream cheese frosting), so my version is listed below.

Things you will need:
A cake tin
Measuring and mixing equipment (unless you’re hard core and are going to do it by hand)
175g butter
175 sugar
2 eggs
100g golden syrup
175g flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1tsp crushed ginger (I used chunks of crystallized ginger and it was fine)
150g of grated carrot (this was about three normal sized shop bought ones)
I also added loads of dried fruit, when I say loads I mean two mini packs of raisins and two of the pouches from my graze box, so I ended up with dried apple, cranberry and raisins in mine.
For decoration I used plain standard butter cream (100g icing sugar, 200g butter) and a crushed Cadbury’s Flake.
In order to make this exactly as I did, you will also need a book. I was reading The Reader at the time, though the title is optional…

After assembling the equipment and ingredients I neasured out and stuck all the normal cake mix stuff into my blender and then added the golden syrup, cinnamon and ginger. I spent far too much time carefully grating carrots considering you can’t even see them once the cake is cooked and then poured that and my graze packets and raisin cartons in too. For a while I was a bit concerned that there were too many things in the bowl for the blender to work properly but after a bit of squidging about with a spoon and forcing the lid on, we managed not to spill anything and set about mixing it all up. If you’ve got amazing arm muscles/ aren’t as lazy as me, you’ll probably be sensible enough to use a large mixing bowl and to mix all your ingredients separately. Once I had cake mix, I poured the lot into a pre greased cake tin and put that in the oven at 180 degrees  for forty minutes, and finally, I could sit myself down at the kitchen table and begin with the most important item on the list: the book.

If you read my review of The Reader, you’ll know I loved it. I found myself getting towards the end when the alarm sounded to let me know the cake was ready for oven removal. I was just getting to the bit when Peter had decided to get back in contact with Hannah and was forced to set it aside and discover whether I had created a monster of Frankenstein proportions or something a bit lovely. I was slightly book drunk over the utter poignancy of Schlink’s narrative that I had a few getting-the-cake-out-of-the-tin issues but once it was on a plate and ready to start cooling I managed to finish the story completely before I came to even think about decorating it.

The icing ended up being a bit slapdash, mostly because my mind was too full of questions about morality and who was really guilty in the greater scheme of the novel, hence the crumpled flake over the top to distract from how messy it was.

Then came the moment of truth, the taste test. Usually, I would continue reading with a slice of whatever I’d just baked, but with the book finished I didn’t have that luxury. This time around, the review of The Reader was aided with cake. Having never had carrot cake before, I didn’t really have anything to compare it to but it was rather lovely if I do say so myself, my parents ate practically the whole thing between them so I’m assuming that’s a good thing! I’m told that traditionally, carrot cake is a lot more moist than my creation, but that could be because I swapped out the oil, so if any of you guys make it, let me know if oil is better!


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