>Yesterday afternoon, I set up a pretty table in the garden shade under the canvas sails we put up in the summer and served our family’s favourite meal at 4: A proper Devon cream tea. The sort of food that makes you grateful (for once) to live in a country that is still able to produce the kind of thick golden clotted cream you long for at tea-time with a hot spelt and buttermilk scone and some light-infused strawberry jam.
But scones don’t always have to be sweet. They can be savoury and complement perfectly a round and rich champagne with a brioche hint or a lemony dry white. Last week at a tasting party, I served my usual scone recipe but put in the mix a sprinkle of Herbes de provence and some cracked pepper plus a chunk of grated mature cheddar. When the scones were baked, I sliced them in two and put a dollop of mascarpone inside. The two cheeses combine for a creamy, rustic taste and nobody can resist this duet! That was the only time I chose to be disloyal to English clotted cream with an italian contender. It was worth it.
The thought of carrot rarely raises lustful memories but as a humble winter vegetable it elevates itself to dizzying heights of seduction when baked into a spongy, moist and spicy cake… I made it as a treat last week-end for a posse of ravenous ten-year olds and I long for it again as a cold Friday closes in…
Shared with my beloved and a boiling cup of tea, it is my cake of choice on a dark evening! You can also use the mix in a muffin for a special treat…
Ingredients: For a large cake or 24 muffins
- 370g self-raising wholemeal flour
- 300g brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon raising powder
- 1 large spoon of cinnamon
- 15 cl rapeseed oil
- 4 large eggs
- vanilla extract
- 100g shredded coconut
- 180g grated carrot
- 1 grated apple – optional but it adds moisture
For the filling and topping:
1/2 small tub of cream cheese and ½ tub of mascarpone
Roughly same quantity of icing sugar.
A few drops of lemon juice : I sometimes cut corners by using 2 spoonfuls of good lemon curd instead – and reducing the sugar.
I use roughly the same quantity of sugar than cream. This is not about skimping on calories ! Use a hand whisk and add spoonfuls of sugar until it is all used up.
Whisk it all together till you get a fluffy filling. Reserve in the fridge.
What to do next:
Warm the oven at 180 degree Celsius. Oil and line 2 sandwich tins. Grate the carrots and apple. Mix all the dry ingredients in a big bowl. Add the oil, beaten eggs and vanilla. If the mix is on the dry side, add a little milk: It must nicely moist.
Fold in the grated carrots and coconut; apple optional. Bake for 35min at 180°.
Take the mix of mascarpone, cream cheese, icing sugar and lemon juice out of the fridge. Spread in between the two cakes and a layer on top. Decorate with coloured vermicelli or whole pecan nuts.
This makes a FABULOUS birthday cake…