Saturday, 17 November 2012

Happy Birthday Tea Time Treats! And the Nation's Favourite Cake...sort of

This time a year ago Karen from Lavender and Lovage and I sat down and created Tea Time Treatsa monthly blogging and baking event concerning all things (you guessed it) Tea Time.

And exactly twelves months on, we are celebrating the first anniversary of Tea Time Treats with the theme: cake!

But what to bake? I dithered and deliberated. Contemplated and cogitated. Ruminated and reflected. And, erm, so on.

And eventually I had an epiphany.

Well, by 'epiphany' what I really mean is 'had a pretty good idea'.

For Tea Time Treat's very first birthday I will bake the nation's favourite cake!

The only problem was everyone had a view on the nation's favourite cake.

A BBC survey reckoned chocolate cake, echoed by a Good Food Channel vote. A Radio Times survey had Carrot Cake in the top spot. The Cherry Bakewell came top in a Mr Kipling poll. Meanwhile Delia plumps for a Ginger Cake and Mary Berry the classic Victoria Sponge. And a strawpoll of my mates on Twitter was most inconclusive.

So in the end I plumped for a cake that is consistently in my own personal Top Ten Bakes...

Carrot Cake with Clementine Icing

125g sultanas
juice of 1 orange
75g pecan nuts or walnuts

3 large eggs
150ml oil
150g light brown soft sugar
200g self-raising flour (wholemeal or white)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
220g peeled and grated carrots
50g dessiccated coconut
grated zest of 1 orange

200g full fat cream cheese
75g butter
100g icing sugar
Zest of 3 clementines

1. If possible, the night before baking the cake, place the sultanas and orange juice in a bowl and set aside. This will plump up the sultanas ensuring they are nice and juicy for the cake. If you haven't the time, simply pop the sultanas and juice in a microwave-proof dish and microwave for around a minute or so
2. Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 3/180C/160C fan/325F. Grease and line two 8inch/20cm sandwich tins with baking paper
2. Spread the nuts on an ungreased baking tray and toast for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven
4. Whisk the sugar, egg and oil together for a few minutes until all the sugar is nicely dissolved
5. Sift the flour, spices and bicarb into the bowl and stir gently
6. Add the sultanas, carrots, coconut, orange zest and 50g of the toasted nuts and stir gently until combined
7. Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and bake the cakes for approximately 25-30 minutes or until risen, firm and springy to touch. Allow to cool in the tins for five minutes before removing the cool completely on wire racks
8. To make the icing: gently beat the butter, cream cheese, icing sugar and zest of 3 clementines. Spread to sandwich the two cakes together and use the remainder on top of the cake. Decorate with the remaining nuts

Baker's notes...

  • This recipe is a bit of a mash-up, with inspiration from Delia, a Good Food recipe and Felicity Cloake
  • I took it into work for consumption by my cake-loving' colleagues. If this cake was a politician it would be like Boris and have a very high approval rating
  • For more details on this month's Tea Time Treats challenge pop over to Karen's blog

Tea Time Treats Challenge Logo


  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to us and a FAB FAB FAB cake Kate! Thanks so much for baking this for our BIG first year's birthday party! XXXX

  2. Happy Anniversary Tea Time Treats :p This cake looks LOVELY! I'm glad you decided to bake this one :) though what I'd count as my favourite cake probably changes day in day out so it's no wonder the nation can#t decide!

  3. Wow! A year already. How quickly time flies by. While I may not have found the time this year to take part in any of the challenges I do enjoy reading all about them and seeing everybody's fab ideas. Happy 1st Birthday ;0)

  4. I think for taste and enjoyment to eat I would always plump for a carrot cake... chocolate cake can be too sickly sweet, and Vicky Sponge can be a bit plain, so yes... carrot cake it is... YOUR carrot cake it is... please... now... come on!...

  5. Personally, my favourite cake is whichever one is in front of me!

    Lovely looking cake - sort of cake where one slice is never enough!

  6. Carrot Cake would definitely be in my top a recent cake off Paul Hollywood's Carrot Cake beat Mary Berry's Chocolate Cake by a country mile. I love the sound of your clementine frosting too...the perfect frosting to complement the cake! :-)

  7. Ooh, looks lovely :-) I do like carrot cake, and your spice combo sounds lovely.

  8. Very good choice, for me it would be carrot all the way and the clementine icing is perfect. What I am amazed at is that my number 2 choice, a banana cake isn't featured anywhere.
    This cakes is a winner and congratulations on a very successful year of Tea Time Treats!

  9. Actually I don't think you can go past a good carrot cake and the cream cheese icing is just the best - all I need now is a nice cup of tea. Congratulations another year ticked off.

  10. Yay, Happy Birthday TTT and congratulations on the great success it's been. All of the cakes you mentioned are worthy, although the chocolate would of course have to come first for me ;-) Lovely cake and made extra special by having an unusual icing.


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