After my painful attempt at pain au raisin last week (excuse the pun – I had several lined up for my post last week, I just didn’t have the heart to put them in), I scuttled back to the safety of Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and made a nice and comfy carrot and orange loaf. It’s not something I’d usually make, but I did have half a bag of carrots left over from Sunday lunch that were starting to go soft and on 4th April it was, according to the internet, International Carrot Day.
I started with an orange. I grated the rind, cut the pith away as best I could and sliced it thinly – again as best I could. Oranges are slippery beasts aren’t they? I mixed the rind with softened butter, light muscovado sugar, self-raising flour, baking powder and mixed spice.
The recipe includes carrots, obviously – even my two-year-old would get this – but it doesn’t tell you what to do with them before adding them to the mixture. I thought I could safely assume that peeling and grating would be the way to go, but what if was making my very first cake?
I peeled and grated them and then almost forgot to add them to the mix. I almost forgot the eggs as well. This mixture is a bit dry, I thought, a bit on the biscuity side, I’ll definitely be adding extra milk… then I saw my pile of carrots and basin of beaten egg sitting patiently on the work surface. This is the baker that, just a week ago, actually thought she might be up to pain au raisin.
Once the carrots and egg were in, I had a batter of perfect dropping consistency as required by the recipe. I poured it into a loaf tin and baked it at 160° fan for an hour. I crossed my fingers that it would rise. When I put it into the oven, the mixture only came about halfway up the tin.
Rise it did and, after an hour, I took a good-looking loaf out of the oven, put my thin orange slices onto the top and brushed it over with honey. It went back into the oven for another 15 minutes. I let it cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turned it out to cool completely on a wire rack.