There are two men I am extraordinarily fond of yet have never met. Dan Lepard & Nigel Slater. I discovered Dan Lepard because of a Carrot Cake recipe which was No. 47 in the Observer Food Monthly’s 50 Best Recipes Ever published in February 2009. I’d never had carrot cake but figured if there was ever a carrot cake recipe to try then it must surely be this one. It was wonderfully moist, crumbly with hidden crunches of walnut & lifted by warm lingering spice notes. Best of all it was massive, there was cake for a whole week.
Ben kindly bought me Exceptional Cakes: Baker & Spice. I sat curled up drinking pot after pot of camomile tea day dreaming of cakes, brownies, cookies, tarts & pastries, I read it cover to cover & all of it sounded sublime. I’m generally terrible at following recipes, in fact I’m prone to reading the ingredients & bouncing off willfully to pull it together however seems best at the time, but there is something in Dan Lepard’s tone which makes me think he really does know best so it’s better to settle down & do as directed. I’ve never had a fail with any of his recipes. Dan Lepard has been the Guardian’s baker in the know since 2005, their website alone has a whopping 350 recipes that’s before we even get as far his own site which has yet more recipes, baking related book reviews, news on events & a forum where you can ask any question you have & actually have them answered. How nice is this man? I tweeted that I was desperate to go to the Sourdough classes he runs at The Cookery School in Little Portland Street but I just don’t have the budget, I’m terrible with twitter & ended up messaging him by mistake which was horrendously embarrassing. But being the nice chap he is he messaged me back to tell me about the Oundle Food Festival where he’s running 2 demonstrations (Breadmaking & Cakewalk) at a very reasonable £12.50 per ticket.
So for anyone who hasn’t already discovered Dan Lepard, go check him out he’s the best thing that will ever happen to your baking. Who knows perhaps I’ll see you at Oundle Food Festival, I haven’t got a clue how to get there but I’m excited none the less. This is not the original Carrot Cake recipe, perhaps I’ll make it for the blog one day, but it’s equally delicious. An Arabic influenced twist on a traditional recipe. I’ve made a few substitutions due to gaps in my pantry, the original recipe for the cake can be viewed here & the icing recipe along with many other helpful suggestions can be found here.