We have penguins on the brain.
In the last few months, my partner and I have been obsessed by penguins. We bought penguin rubbers back from Singapore, have recorded all the penguin episodes from Frozen Planet, and have bought three penguin children’s books.
Penguin by Polly Dunbar had us in fits of laughter. A young boy becomes exasperated at the fact his penguin won’t speak, won’t even smirk, or frown or raise an eyebrow at anything he does. What is the matter with this penguin?
The final book we bought, was Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers, which is a stunningly beautifully illustrated book with a cute story. You could get lost in the image of the penguin and the boy on the dark and stormy sea. Our favourite page, is where the boy pushes the penguin up onto the sheet of ice.
So after this overdose of penguins I’ve naturally been thinking about snow a lot – and food (although I’m always thinking about food). But, this time I was thinking about snowy food. What about marshmallow trees and mint icebergs and ruffles and rolls of soft icing, dusted with ice glitter? Well, here is my winter wondereland carrot cake – inspired by penguins – and Oliver Jeffers…just to get you in the mood for some christmassy fun!
Penguin Carrot Cake Recipe
This has been adapted from Rachel Allen’s recipe, and it is wonderfully light and fluffy.
140ml (5fl oz) vegetable oil
200g (7oz) soft light brown sugar
300g (11oz) grated carrot – I use organic
100g (2oz) raisins
75g (3oz) pecans
180g (8oz) self raising flour
1/4 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp orange rind
1 tsp lemon rind
1/2 tsp vanilla
Whip the sugar and eggs together and then slowly add in the oil. Add in all the other ingredients, leaving the flour till last. Sift in the flour and then pour into a greased cake tin. Bake at 150°C (300°F) or gas mark 2.
Cream cheese frosting
3/4 tub of marscapone cheese
1 tub of cream cheese
2 cups of icing sugar (powdered sugar)
2 tsps vanilla essence
t tsp grand marnier
This frosting – is deeee-licious.
I also decorated my cakes with some wierd and wonderful marshmallow trees. The mini marshmallow branches were fixed with spaghetti. I melted a handful of mini marshmallows until they were sticky enough to make a ball and then attached them to a cake pop stick. For added effect I smeared some marshmallow fluff on top – but this made it too heavy and it slowly began to drip onto the cake as if it was melting. Looked great though.
I created these little Oliver Jeffers characters for the top of my cake out of moulding icing (I’m a bit rusty at sugarcraft).
I love that it looks like a rocky landscape covered in soft snow.
The verdict: very moist with big juicy raisins and sweet sticky frosting. If it had fish instead of carrots it would be perfect for penguins.