As a mother there is an emotional sanctuary that, in my opinion, is unprecedented on all emotional levels. That being the unconditional love a mother feels for her child. This love defies all boundaries of tantrums, embraces pain and sorrow, expels sickness, is joyous at success and finds an answer to any question or problem. I honestly believe a mother would put her hand in the fire for her child without even a second thought.
As I watch Soeren grow, each phase and age bring on new adventures and excitement. I am always on the move, always learning and mastering new issues - it can be exhausting at times - but it's all so invigorating. There are so many moments I cherish - moments he probably does not realize.
Like the extra moment I wait in the car before I step out to pick him up from school. I see him you see - running with his friends, unaware I am watching him. He is free, he is laughing, jumping into a pile of fallen Autumn leaves and giggling at the pure pleasure. After a hard day’s of work watching him like this gives me energy to go on. As he sees me he runs and hugs me and every bit of fatigue from the work day washes away and is replaced by a lightness that is indescribable. He gives me wings.
Then there is that other moment as we sit on our old and worn red sofa. He is reading to me, his head resting on my shoulder. His gentle voice spelling out each word carefully soothes me and makes me smile. I nestle my nose between his neck and shoulder and take in that very distinct "Soeren aroma". You see, as they put Soeren in my arms minutes after I had given birth to him, I gently bent down to kiss his head. Although I was holding him - it was his scent that touched me the most. He makes me relax and unwind.
He is the most precious thing to me in my life.
Both of us like to spend time with each other in the kitchen - baking is his favorite as he gets to lick whisks and spoons clean. He's quite comfortable in his role as sous chef or mummy's kitchen helper and loves organizing ingredients and kitchen gadgets according to size or weight.
Last week I suggested we bake something Autumn-y. At the grocery store when I asked him what he thought we should use for the cake, he ran off and within a few minutes came back with a lovely looking organic butternut squash.
"And we have those cool rainbow carrots from the CSA man!" he said.
"Hmmmn I think you might just have something here Soeren!" I said seeing ingredients for a great moist cake.
When Soeren put two organic oranges in the basket I winked at him and said "Go get some cream cheese!"
"To make a cream cheese frosting for the cake!" he completed my sentence. Exactly!
The next day we got together in the kitchen and what we came up with was a delicious, moist and a fantastically flavored cake. A mélange of cinnamon, ginger, all-spice and cloves give this cake a hint of warmth and the tinge of orange a bit of zing. The butternut squash and carrots add body and texture - the sweet, slightly nuttier taste of the butternut squash complemented the delicious sweetness of the carrots. The cherry on the cake – er - or should I say the frosting on the cake was truly divine and played off the flavors of the spiced cake perfectly.
Spiced Pumpkin and Carrot Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
Printable version of recipe here.
For the cake
300g all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
300g muscovado sugar
3 teaspoons mixed ground spices of choice, I used a mix of ginger, cloves, cinnamon, all-spice
180g dried cranberries
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
200g butter, melted
4 eggs, lightly beaten
zest of 1 orange
juice of 1/2 orange
325g butternut squash or any other pumpkin, grated
175g carrots, grated
pinch of salt
For the frosting
200g cream cheese
85g butter, softened
100g icing sugar
zest of 1 orange
juice of 1/2 orange
For the cake
- Pre-heat oven to 170-180 degrees C. Brush a square baking pan (approx. 30 cm x 30 cm) with some butter, then line it with baking paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl place flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cranberries and salt and stir with a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients.
- Whisk the eggs into the melted butter, then stir in the orange zest and juice. Finally combine the egg mixture into the flour-spice mixture and stir to incorporate into a thick batter.
- Add the grated carrots and butternut squash and with a rubber spatula fold into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 30 to 45 minutes (times depend on your oven - mine took approx. 40 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. The top of the cake should be golden and springy to the touch.
- Cool the cake in the pan for approx. 5 minutes then allow to completely cool on a rack.
For the frosting
- To make the frosting beat together all of the frosting ingredients into a smooth and creamy mixture. Then set aside in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
- Using an offset spatula spread the frosting on top of the cooled cake giving it peaks and swirls.
- Keep the cake in the fridge. Take out as many pieces as desired about 30 minutes before serving. This allows it to come to room temperature and for the spices and flavors to unfold properly. The cake will keep, covered, for up to 3-5 days in the fridge.
- Keep an eye on the cake towards the end. Pumpkins can be extremely watery. Depending on the sort you have chosen and it's water content you might have to leave it in the oven for a bit longer.
Yummy yummy! is all I can say. Soeren has been enjoying taking a piece of the cake to school everyday. He has announced to his friends that he was part "cake creator" for this cake idea. It's true he is the source of inspiration for this cake. I really loved the moistness and fresh flavors of carrot, squash and orange intermingled with the titillating spices.
I wish you all Happy Trick or Treating on Saturday. I am going to be in Frankfurt watching A-HA in concert. It was over 20 years ago, when I first saw them in Houston at the age 15! Soeren will be trick and treating with Tom dressed up as scary skeletons. Whatever you are doing this weekend hope you have a real blast!
You might like these yummy cakes from WFLH:
|Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting||Coconut lemon Cake||Orange Cake|
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