This weekend I went to McG with my nephew, Jasper. We had an excellent time – we played pool-noodle polo, held our own Earth Hour, walked Jack, read, backgammoned, went out for dinner and watched Blade Runner, the Final Cut. Him for the first time, me for the nth. It was fascinating to hear his take on the movie – he got the ‘son of God’ references immediately, grasped the concept of replica humans being grown from stem cells, understood why they had to be ‘retired’ and felt empathy for their need to find connection. He was deeply affected by the Replicants’ yearning for memories, and asked a million questions about the photographs that one of them, Leon, carried around with him. I wonder if I would have understood Roy Batty’s dilemma so clearly at 10 years old.
On the morning we were due to come home, he reminded me we had still to go to Frangipane. The kids love it there. Glynn, the owner, makes sublime Iced Tea, Ricki (the waiter who has been retrenched, much to Jasper’s horror) is/was always charming, and best of all – there is usually real-home-made carrot cake.
We sat and chatted about our weekend and when we would be back. Tossed around ideas for a possible Easter Egg Hunt, and he informed me that McG was a perfect place for old people to live as there were lots of old people type things to do: like going out for coffee on a Monday at 10.30am. And seeing the Sunday night movie at the local (tiny) movie house – “even if it is opera, because old people like opera.” And then he asked: “have you ever had carrot cake on campari&sofa.” And I had to admit, we hadn’t. “Maybe you should”.
When the bill came, Jasper pulled out his wallet. It’s one of those hip, chap ones that has a chain and a rip of velcro to keep it closed. He added in a 15 percent tip, rounded it off – and said: “OK Suzie, now we can go home.”
Sweetest thing in the world.
So, here it is – not Glynn’s recipe – because she says it is a family secret, but sofabrother’s recipe, which is made even more delectable by the addition of pineapple to the mix. If pineapple is not for you, just replace it by substituting another 250g of either sweet potato or carrot.
300ml Sunflower Oil
300g Brown Treacle Sugar
4 Extra Large Eggs
280g Cake Flour
5g Mixed Spice
15g Baking Powder
60g Pecan Nuts chopped
440g can of Pineapple: chunks drained and crushed
150g Carrots – grated
210g Sweet Potato – grated
Lemon Zest Icing
250g full (or a good low) fat cream cheese
50g softened butter (unsalted)
zest of 1 big healthy Lemon
250g Icing sugar – sifted
30g Chopped pecans nuts (optional – for decoration)
The great thing about carrot cake is it will keep for a good week if stored in an air tight tin. And it gets better with age. Just like me, though I can’t promise I will ever like opera.
(Image of carrot cake from Cafe Food at Home, taken by Craig Fraser. Co-written by Evan Faull and Sue. Styling and baking by Mark Wildish. Images of McG courtesy JFW.)