What is Operation Jam Jar?

Operation Jam Jar is all about getting back to basics in the kitchen.

Check out my efforts at cooking from scratch - cakes, soups, biscuits

Learn how to make things that you would normally buy at the supermarket - wraps, ice cream, pizza bases

Try to live a more 'country' lifestyle in the city - making your own jams or relish

Get the skills to enjoy cooking in a thrifty way, and have a bit of fun while you do it

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The best thing since sliced cake

If you feel like getting a bit of kitchen-cred from your family / friends / workmates / strangers on the bus, what better way than to bake a cake?

There are loads of top cakes that you can try. One that I love is the River Cottage Pear & Almond cake (check out the recipe on the River Cottage website http://www.channel4.com/food/recipes/chefs/hugh-fearnley-whittingstall/pear-and-almond-pudding-cake-recipe_p_1.html). When I made this for the first time my husband said “This is the best cake you have ever, or will ever make”. Not sure if that is a compliment or not? Either way, tasty.

My favourite cake at the moment is Daisy’s Carrot Cake. This recipe is from a little café in NZ where my sister in law Daisy worked. Aside from taking orders, making coffee and serving the food, she was also put in charge of baking all of the cakes & biscuits for the café. Luckily she made sure to pinch this recipe before she left. It is so so good, totally moist and delicious. I also love that you just mix everything together in a bowl. And most likely after you make it once you will have all the ingredients in the cupboard for next time. Well, except walnuts. Who ever has walnuts in the cupboard?

¾ cup self raising flour

¾ cup wholemeal plain flour

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

¾ cup walnuts

2 cups grated carrot

1 tbsp coconut

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla essence

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp cinnamon

Put all of the ingredients into a big bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until mixed together.

Cook at 150 degrees in the middle of the oven for about 60 mins. Check it now and see how it looks, it most likely will need around 90 mins in total depending on your oven.

Place a tray underneath to catch any leaks (the oil can drip a little bit but don’t worry it will still be fine)

It’s ready when you can stick a skewer in it and pull it out clean

Once it’s completely cooled, make the icing:

60g cream cheese

30g butter

1 ½ cups icing sugar

Beat together the cream cheese and butter with an electric hand beater until light and fluffy. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Top with crushed leftover walnuts if you have any.

Try to make the time to bake a cake next weekend - and be prepared to be showered with love & affection!

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