Monday, 23 March 2015


Carrot Cake Tea Loaf
Time Taken: An hour & 20 mins (including the bake)
Ingredients: 230g caster sugar, 280g plain flour, 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder, a big shake of cinnamon, ½ a teaspoon of salt, 120g butter, 100ml milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 230g carrots (that’s about 3 carrots), & 180g chopped walnuts or sultanas.

Hi readers,
So… Monday is done. Readers, you’ve done it again. You have officially made it to the end of the day! A Monday! Three cheers to EVERYONE for your wonderful efforts today, battling against the evil forces of Monday. You. Heroes.
So, has it been a day to remember? At all? If you think about today, and then think about what you might come to remember this day for in the future, what do you think it will be? Will today be remembered? Readers, I hope you’ll be remembering today for all the right reasons, and not for any of the wrong ones. I hope that today’s been a Thumbs Up kind of day.
MY DAY I think I’ll remember for being the day I took a National Express coach instead of a Megabus. This, readers, was a Really Big Deal for me. So big! Basically, due to the incredibly and unbelievably cheap prices of Megabuses, I’m allllllways taking them to get between Newcastle (uni home) and Sheffield (home home). Rarely do I spend more than a tenner on a Megabus which is WAY lower than the trains cost. And if you’re the first person to book onto the bus then you get your journey for the princely sum of one quid (!!!) which was me this December when I journeyed home for Xmas Break.
BUT Megabuses are the worst. You spend ages waiting for them on the pavement and never know when one will arrive. Often, Megabus drivers and marshals are really rude to you. They squash loads of people onto a bus and you never have any legroom. It’s stuffy. Too hot or too cold. The plugs don’t work. The Wi-Fi doesn’t work. The toilet is terrible. A baby is crying. Someone opens a pack of sushi and the smell hits you. And you have hours of survival ahead!
So, for today’s trip, I did my research and found that I could get a National Express coach instead, for only £1 more! Readers, I didn’t look back! So, at 9am my coach set off from Sheffield. The driver was a chatty fellow and he was very concerned with getting his passengers belted up. Safety first. Today, there were only a few people on the coach including me and we each had decent space for legroom. Along with window seats. And no need to sit anywhere near to each other on the bus! Result!
We spent an hour driving to Leeds and then took an hour’s break. I stretched my legs and grabbed a coffee. Back on the bus at 11 and we headed north. After that, it took just over 3 hours and we were rolling into Newcastle. Such an enjoyable trip! The sun was shining through the windows warming everyone up and we got to see the sights of lots of lovely towns along the way to Newcastle. Today, I’ve been through Harrogate and Darlington and Durham… and who knows where else!
When I wasn’t watching the world go by I was having a read at my book ‘In The Darkness’ by Karin Fossum. A proper Norwegian crime thriller! A book which I’ve now gone and finished. And all was good. Today, the journey up to Newcastle has been good. I give National Express a cheerful ten out of ten for today’s trip. It was fun! And so, if I remember today, I think it will be as the day that I finally escaped the Megabus.
OR as the day that they arrested the murderer of Claudia Lawrence. Which I think is the best news ever! Hopefully, this means that the case can be solved and there will be justice at last for Claudia’s family. And perhaps the discovery of her body. So that her family can say good bye and Claudia can rest in peace, as everyone should.
So, readers, you’ve survived Monday. Hopefully you’ll be remembering today for good reasons. And the whole rest of the week lies ahead for you! What will you do with your week?? How will you spend your time? MAYBE you’ll have time for some Spring baking?? I hope you do because I have just the recipe! For a lovely Carrot Cake Tea Loaf. :) This I baked on Friday evening before I headed home to Sheffield,  as a treat for my Father Bear! And a sly way, readers, to get him eating vegetables.
Have you tried carrot cake before? Or  tea loaf, readers?? Whether you have or you haven’t, all you need to know is that this recipe takes the best of both of those cakes MASHES THEM TOGETHER and creates something wonderful for you to bake.
So as you may know, readers, carrot cake is traditionally made with chopped walnuts, in the same way that coffee cake is. Butttt, instead, this recipe uses sultanas. Now, putting sultanas in coffee cake in place of walnuts, definitely seems a weird idea. And maybe putting sultanas in carrot cake seems a weird idea, too? Like, when I set about baking this cake and discovered that I didn’t have any walnuts in to use, I was fairly unsure about subbing nuts for sultanas. And when he sliced this cake this weekend and discovered the sultanas hidden inside, my Father Bear was keen to point out that (for him) sultanas seemed out of place.
BUT the online recipe I was using said that this was an ok thing to do (Click HERE to see the original). And, having eaten a big wedge of this cake, I definitely feel that sultanas work ok. More than ok! ALSO… I was in Caffe Nero this weekend and saw that they sell this very cake. The same one. So, there you have it, this cake ISN’T a weird throwing together of things… it’s a real deal recipe. Which you have to try.
Upon my dad’s recommendation, I’m going to call this recipe a Carrot Cake Tea Loaf JUST SO THAT PEOPLE KNOW this isn’t an original Carrot Cake recipe that they’re signing themselves up for. Nor is it a traditional Tea Loaf. It’s a blend. Zero confusion.

Here’s how you can rustle up your very own Tea Loaf of Carrot Cake, in just ten easy steps…
1. Heat your oven to 190˚C.
2. Measure your butter into a small pan and melt it, then set aside for now.
3. Finely grate your carrots.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: I won’t lie… grating this amount of carrot is bloody hard graft. Your arm will PROBABLY feel like it’s dropping off. And it probably won’t, but this isn’t going to be a fun ten minutes of your life. I recommend regularly switching the arm that you hold the grater with. And distracting yourself with the radio! And not giving in.
4. Measure your sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl. Stir it up!
5. Add your milk, vanilla extract and melted butter to the bowl. Stir everything together until you have a smooth cake mix.
6. Add your grated carrot to the bowl, along with the sultanas/walnuts. Stir it up!
7. Grease either a deep cake tin or a large loaf tin with butter.
8. Spoon your mix into the tin and safely transport this into the oven to bake for 50 minutes.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: My cake seemed to bake very quickly on top but was still wobbly within, so I covered my cake with foil in the oven and this way the middle could finish baking without the top burning! You may need to do this if your oven is anything like mine.
9. Do your dishes and dance around. Then, when your cake is risen and golden brown (and when a knife jabbed into its centre comes out clean) remove your cake from the oven and leave to cool for ten minutes in its tin.
10. Run a knife around the edge of your cake to loosen it from the tin, and then transfer your cake onto a wire cooling rack. Either slice your cake now and eat warm or leave to cool fully on the rack.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: If you decide to leave your cake to cool, you then have the option to decorate it! While I have zero patience for such pursuits, I know that some people beautifully decorate their carrot cakes with cream cheese frostings and chopped walnuts. Maybe you could even ice a carrot design on the top of your cake? Be creative!
Here’s my beautiful tea loaf of carrot cake…
And, readers, this cake tasted SO MOIST. Like, incredibly so. The moistest cake ever, and then some. SO MOIST. I feel like if you left this cake on your plate for a while (though I don’t know why ANYONE would do this) there’s a strong chance it might melt. So. So. Moist.
Gah. And, for me, the moistness was a really good thing. This cake tasted cinammony and carroty, and it was sticky and sweet. Not even 1% dry. And this cake was fine without any decoration, I felt. This cake wasn’t at a loss without icing. It was fine all by itself! Its very fine self. I like this cake and so does my dad. So will you! Get your Spring bake on this week, readers, and let me know what you think of Carrot Cake Tea Loaf. Go on now.

Travel safely,


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