Carrot Loaf Cake

Carrot cake is the best of all the cakes. (In my opinion, at least!) This loaf cake recipe is quick, easy, and most importantly – tasty!

This recipe takes around 20mins to prepare and 1 hour 15mins to bake.

Ingredients (makes 1 loaf)

  • Vegetable oil (140ml)
  • 2 eggs
  • Light brown sugar (200g)
  • Grated carrots (300g)
  • Raisins (100g)
  • Self raising flour (180g)
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp mixed spice

Icing ingredients

  • Cream cheese (180g)
  • Butter (40g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Icing sugar (200g)
  • Zest of one lemon and one orange

Making the mixture

  1. Set the oven to 150degC (fan).
  2. First, line a standard sized loaf tin with grease proof paper and give a quick rub with a drop of oil.
  3. Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Grate the carrots.
  5. Add the oil, brown sugar, carrots and raisins into the mixing bowl and mix to combine.
  6. Sift the self raising flour into the bowl, followed by the salt, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice into the bowl.
  7. Mix thoroughly.
  8. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and place in the oven for approximately 1hr 15 minutes.
  9. Check that a skewer comes out clean and transfer to a wire rack to cool. (Keep it in the tin for the first 10 minutes before turning out onto the rack)

Prepare the icing

  1. Beat the cream cheese and butter together in a bowl using a metal spoon.
  2. Add the vanilla essence and half the grated zests.
  3. Sift the icing sugar and mix until the icing is smooth.
  4. Spread the icing over the cooled cake.
  5. Top with the remaining lemon zest

Make sure you store the cake somewhere cool to prevent the cream cheese icing from running or spoiling.

To be fair, it probably won’t hang around long enough to spoil – everyone will be after a slice!

#Easydoughsy #recipe #blog #Aberdeenshire #baking #Scotland #cake #carrotcake #bakingmadeeasy #stepbystep #homebake #homemade #homebaking #blogger #Aberdeenshirebloggers #Scottishbloggers

Banana Bread

Banana bread is the perfect autumnal recipe for cosy evenings at home!

This recipe takes around 20mins to prepare and 1 hours to bake.

Ingredients (makes 1 loaf)

  • Margarine (100g)
  • Caster sugar (100g)
  • Self raising flour (225g)
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 to 4 bananas (depends on size!)
  • 2tsp mixed spice

Making the mixture

  1. Set the oven to 150degC (fan).
  2. First, grease a standard sized loaf tin using a slither of margarine.
  3. Measure out the margarine and caster sugar into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Cream the marg and sugar together using the back of a spoon.
  5. Next, sieve the flour into the mixing bowl, followed by the baking powder and a pinch of salt.
  6. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly until completely combined. The mixture will be slightly stiff (don’t worry!)
  7. Place the bananas into a plastic bowl and mash with a fork until mushy.
  8. Beat the mashed banana into the cake batter, allowing plenty of air into the mixture, and ensuring that the banana is evenly distributed throughout.
  9. Add the mixed spice and stir well.
  10. Pour mixture into the tin & bake for approximately 1 hour until well risen and firm to the touch.

Finishing Touches

  1. Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack.
  2. Once cooled, cut into slices and serve.

(I recommend a large cup of tea as an accompaniment x x )

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Ode to Mary Berry

Mary Berry is a queen. I mean, not only can the woman produce a damn fine Victoria Sponge, but she has raised a family whilst cultivating a 6-decade long career. She’s the ultimate girl boss in my eyes, with high moral standards and even higher standards in food presentation.

My admiration for Mary is well known. People will text me to let me know when ‘the Bezza’ is on TV, my family have sourced many Great British Bake Off related birthday gifts for me over the years, and on parting company with my previous employer, I was even presented with a copy of Mary Berry’s ‘Classic’ recipe book as a leaving gift.

I enjoy Mary Berry’s characteristic take on home-baking and home-cooking. From her opinions on “soggy bottoms” to her love of “informal” presentations; she’s unpretentious, methodical and simply hopes to encourage everyone to make a stab at creating delicious meals at home. This outlook on baking fits well with my ethos for Easydoughsy – don’t over-complicate things, and have a go! I can only hope that someday I will execute my bakes with the same poise and grace as Mary!

Mary has amassed somewhat of a cult following as a result of her time on the Great British Bake Off (GBBO). I believe this is predominantly down to her cheeky sense of humour, love of booze, and inspiring fashion choices. Fashion, in particular, isn’t often something you’d associate with an 80-something year old. However, Mary has become a style icon in her own right. Her love of brightly coloured blazers from the high street caused a stir, triggering several sell outs of bright/floral jackets across both M&S and Zara. Mary has broken down barriers through these blazers – forcing the public to readdress how they view older people, and older women specifically. These brightly coloured uniforms are not just a style choice, but an important symbol. They enabled Mary to stand out from the crowd; all eyes on her and her invaluable knowledge, gained through many years of hard-earned experience. Woman should no longer become invisible in the media once they hit a certain age. Showing diversity on our screens is key to providing people of all ages with inspiration and positive reinforcement… we all need a good role-model, after all.

So, as one of my most cherished heroines, Mary will always be at the forefront of my mind throughout my baking adventures. When I come across a challenge or dilemma I like to imagine… “what would Mary do?”. And, of course, when considering any baking advice, the final word should invariably be from Mary. – ‘In Mary we trust!’

In tribute to Mary, here’s my attempt at one of her most classic bakes – the Victoria Sponge. This recipe can be found, for free, online at BBC Food.

https://www.bbc.com/food/recipes/mary_berrys_perfect_34317

Ingredients 

  • Self raising flour (225g)
  • Margarine (225g)
  • Caster sugar (225g)
  • Baking powder (pinch)
  • 4 eggs

Prep the cakes

  1. Grease two 20cm cake tins and line with baking paper.
  2. Set the oven to 180 degC.
  3. Weigh out the ingredients into a large bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. (mixing the egg and sugar together first, followed by the flour and eggs can aid the mixing process – particularly if you’re mixing by hand!)
  4. Divide the mixture between the 2 trays as evenly as you can.
  5. Pop the cakes in the middle shelf of the oven for 20-25mins.

Building the cake

  1. Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack for cooling.
  2. Once the cakes have fully cooled, generously pour raspberry jam over the top of one cake before sandwiching the other firmly on top.
  3. Dust the cake with icing sugar to serve.

#queen #sponge #victoriasandwich #girlboss #classic #informal #nosoggybottom #maryberry #GBBO #cake #baking #stepbystep #blog #Scotland #Aberdeenshire #Easydoughsy

Ultimate guide to prepping for GBBO Ep1

  1. Buy snacks. It’s top of the list for a reason… you will end up hungry and craving sugar. Unfortunately, this is just a fact we have to accept. For bonus points, bake your own cake in advance (but prepare to feel inadequate, as the bakers produce edible masterpieces on-screen).
  2. Research the contestants and then swiftly choose your favourite based upon their 3 sentence back story and photograph alone. It’s shallow, totally unfounded and you’ll probably choose the contestant whose life most closely resembles your own, but at least you’ll have someone to cheer for from the outset. Bios for each of the contestants can be found at the GBBO instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/britishbakeoff
  3. Book-out the living room between 7.50pm and 9pm. You will require complete and unrestricted access to both the TV and sofa, so it is safer just to claim the room for yourself. Channel hopping in the advert breaks is also strictly forbidden, for fear of missing a single moment of the action.
  4. Taking this a step further, from 7pm onwards, start to remove all potential distractions. This means feed the dog, put the kids to bed, close the curtains, send the husband to the shed (and no I don’t care if it’s cold and getting dark) – whatever it takes dammit!
  5. With 8pm looming, change into PJs and slippers. Transform the snuggliest blanket in the house into a super hero cape for extra coziness. Please note: bras are prohibited… they stifle the joy.
  6. Boil the kettle and make a nice cup or tea/coffee/hot chocolate with mini marshmallows/Ovaltine (if that’s your bag?!). Remember to swoosh your blanket cape behind you as you race across the kitchen between the fridge and the mug tree.
  7. Gather your snacks / hot beverage of choice and park your bum on the sofa. Open your mind to the world of innuendos, Hollywood handshakes and Toksvig/Fielding quirky comedy. Embrace the familiarity of the 3 challenge format and star baker award. It’s time to welcome GBBO back into your life.
  8. Discussions start at 9pm. Bring any leftover biscuits pls.

#GBBO #GreatBritishBakeOff #snacks #ultimateguide #Easydoughsy #Blog #joy #comfort #cake #Ep1

Butternut squash muffin-cakes

img_0448This is one of my favourite experiments. They’re a bit of a cross between a cake and muffin – with the butternut squash keeping everything moist. Preparing the butternut squash is a bit labour intensive – stick with it though, I promise it’ll come good!

This recipe takes around 20mins to prep and 25mins to bake.

Ingredients (makes 12)

  • Sunflower oil (175ml)
  • Muscovado sugar (175g)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Butternut squash (1 small, or 1/2 a large squash)
  • Sultanas (100g)
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Self raising flour (200g)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Prep the butternut squash

  1. Line a muffin tray with 12 paper cases.
  2. Peel the outer skin away with a vegetable peeler and then grate the butternut squash (this may feel like it’s taking forever, but is totally worth it).

Combine the mixture & bake

  1. Set your oven to 180degC (temp may vary for each oven)
  2. Pour the oil into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Next, add the sugar, eggs and vanilla.,
  4. Beat together (I like to use a metal spoon)
  5. Add the grated butternut squash and sultanas.
  6. Beat together (again, still using a metal spoon).
  7. Stir in the mixed spice, cinnamon, flour and bicarbonate of soda.
  8. Spoon into the paper cases using a teaspoon and then tap the tray to settle the mixture.
  9. Bake for 25mins until firm and springy!
  10. Transfer the muffin-cakes onto a wire rack to cool before eating.

These cakes are moreish. You have been warned.

Remember, baking doesn’t have to be difficult, it can be Easydoughsy.

#butternutsquash #muffincake #blog #baking #recipe #bakingmadeeasy #stepbystep #Scotland #Aberdeenshire #Easydoughsy

Soul Food

I’m a big believer that the making, baking and sharing of food is good for both the mind and soul.

When I need to relax, I bake. The mindless (or perhaps mindfulness!) act of following a familiar recipe provides me with space to park my emotions and focus on creating something beautiful… or, if not wholly beautiful, at least tasty! It’s a soothing and reassuring process, much like re-reading a favourite book, or visiting your Grandmother’s house.

Therefore, it is conceivably not surprising that the act of eating these favourite bakes with loved ones is an uplifting process also. All of our major life events incorporate food and baked goods at the heart of their traditions; weddings with their many tiered cakes, hot cross buns and chocolate eggs at Easter time, mince pies and steamed puddings to celebrate Christmas, birthday cakes, christening cakes – the list goes on and on. There’s something comforting about knowing which baked good is to be anticipated at each event. It delivers a warm combination of order and clarity, tradition and nostalgia.

The passing down of family recipes can be a bonding process. Knowing that your mum’s mum’s mum used to add 5 egg whites instead of 4 in her version of meringue, which then went on to win first prize at the village fete in 1963, might just nudge you into giving her method a go. Recipes can also remind you of a person, and give you that warm and fuzzy glow. Scottish tablet (fudge), for example, reminds me of my Grandfather who used to regularly make large quantities of the stuff after he retired. He would fill several large rectangular ice cream tubs with each batch, which would take numerous months to eat, and have to be handed out to various family members and friends in order to “use it up”. But we loved it.

Food, to me, is also a way of offering a token of gratitude, support or condolence. It’s often easier to express that you’re there for someone in edible form, rather than fumbling over your words or offering uncomfortable hugs. (This may be particularly pertinent for us British folk!) However, others may just class me as “a feeder”! So to the lady who I awkwardly gave a cheese and salad sandwich when she crashed her car on my street, to my sister who I presented with lopsided blue cupcakes after the birth of her first son (I had waited until after the birth to find out if I should pipe pink or blue icing), and to the friend whose fridge I filled with lasagne and sweet treats in time for their return from hospital; apologies if it was a bit much, I just wanted to show you I cared.

 

#sharing #warmandfuzzy #feeder #cake #baking #Scotland #Aberdeenshire #Easydoughsy

Fancy a slice?

Cake is an ice breaker. It’s a little piece of comfort. You could be having ‘one of those days’; you’ve been caught in a sudden downpour of rain whilst running late for the bus and now have frizzy hair and a see-through shirt, plus your boss has just asked you to give a presentation in 20mins on a topic you’re not really sure you totally understand, and you’ve just seen that your ex has posted a photo on Instagram of his super-hot new girlfriend who looks like she’s not eaten a square meal in months, aaand then you’ve unexpectedly started your period and have no tampons in your handbag, so you’ve had to stuff a pile of toilet roll into your pants to get you through ‘till you can go to the shop at lunch time – all the really Earth-shattering stuff which isn’t important, but actually, really is… then someone offers you a slice of cake. And it’s like a big hug on a plate. I mean, I’m aware the answer to the meaning of life may not necessarily be as straightforward as 42, but a slice of cake can provide a moment of solace like nothing else when you hit those little lows.

Comfort isn’t shouted about enough. In fact, it’s almost referred to in a derogatory way; “I’ll go stick on my comfy (read: most-unflattering) pants”, “she’s gotten a bit comfy (read: fat) in her relationship”. But comfort doesn’t have to mean boring, stagnant or lacklustre. It’s about celebrating security and a few moments of joyful wellbeing. I like to feel comfortable in the clothes I wear, but I also want to look good. I want to be healthy, but I also really enjoy having that biscuit or cake. Everything in moderation is my mantra.

I grant that in certain cases we do need to push our own boundaries, face the fear and all of those other go-getting clichés. Without lifting self-imposed limitations or restrictions we would never move forward, for fear of failure. I certainly need pushing out of my comfort zone more than most. I seek comfort and reassurance through the tiniest of rituals and routines which I feel help me get through the day unscathed. Yet, new challenges allow us to grow and develop both our confidence and skills. This is something I am excited to explore. It is still reassuring to me, however, to keep some of those old comforts in the proverbial horizon, just visible out of the corner of our mind’s eye, you know – as back up.

Baking can be a vessel to challenging ourselves. It’s relaxing, sometimes perplexing, often frustrating and allows us to fail in a non-threatening environment. Anyone can bake; any age, any ability, it’s not just a mystical black art for those with too much time on their hands. Like anything, having a go is the key to success. I like to use visual representations to explain my processes and recipes, without the usual accompanying jargon. It’s baking made easy. I hope it’ll inspire you to get in the kitchen and expand your skillset too. Once you’re eating that first homemade cupcake you’ll wonder why you didn’t begin sooner.

So, here on Easydoughsy, I hope to step outside of my own customary boundaries and share with you some of my most favourite recipes, fashion quests, lifestyle and wellbeing discoveries. Whatever the topic, we’ll always keep that comforting slice of cake there in the background. Make sure you follow the Easydoughsy Instagram account and blog here at Easydoughsy.com for regular updates.

Baking doesn’t have to be difficult, it can be Easydoughsy.

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#comfort #comfortzone #challenge #cake #baking #bakingmadeeasy #stepbystep #Scotland #Aberdeenshire #Easydoughsy #blog #firstpost