Today I was driving round for work with my windows down, basslines pounding out the speakers and my shades on. I know, I know, it was only 13 degrees but after a cold, long winter, 13 degrees feels practically tropical (well, I had my windows down for about 5 minutes. Still a little bit on the nippy side…). I’m normally a real Winter girl, the dark colours and snuggly knits suit me more but I am super duper tres excited for this Summer as my collection of vintage summer dresses has grown exponentially over the winter, to the point where I am struggling to shut my wardrobe. I am blessed with a job that means I travel an awful lot, and spend many a lunchtime in a little village hunting out the best charity shops and making best friends with the OAP volunteers (I think I probably am an old woman in a young body, my love of baking, sewing and collecting home furnishings that wouldn’t look out of place in Del Boys flat). If you make friends with the shop staff then you are onto a winner, they will nip out to get you stuff kept out the back intended to be sold on to vintage shops. The best ones are independant charity shops in little towns, sometimes they don’t realise the value of their own stock and as I pay at the till, I feel a little flicker of guilt that I have just got my hands on a 1960’s unworn bottle green wool coat with mink trimmed collar for £20. £20! 5 meters of 1980’s limited edition Liberty print fabric for £6. 1950’s gingham A line dress for £2. And thats my weakness, cute cotton dresses in amazing prints, I almost have enough to wear a different one every day of Summer. Every time I make a successful purchase, I let out an inner squeel of delight and strut down the street, run home to try it on and stride round the house feeling like I have won the lottery (Oh my, can you imagine if i won the lottery on the same day as having a triumphant charity shop find?! Off the scale). Obviously, finding the winners means sifting through a LOT of rubbish. Piles of Primark cast offs, floral chintzy curtains and wonky eyed teddy bears need to be pushed to one side and finding treasure is getting harder and harder. But once you get an eye for it, you can spot a 70’s maxi dress on a rail from 100 yards. So if your nan needs her wardrobe clearing out, you know where to find me!
And the arrival of Spring means Spring cakes (The smell of baking covers the mustyness of my charity shop clothes)! The return of seasonal fruit, flowers and bright colours, loads of chocolate over Easter and wedding season. I have been blessed with being asked to do a couple of wedding cakes this year, it is a lovely thing to be able to do but also EXTREMELY STRESSFUL. The cake always has its moment, all eyes on cutting the cake, the centre piece of the table. So many things can go so horrifically wrong, the transportation of it is often the worse as you always need someone else to help. Do you let them drive and risk them going too fast or braking too hard and the cake going up the window? Or do you drive and watch them hold it so much that you can’t keep your eyes on the road? My poor mum has suffered many a mouthful from me after nicely (but foolishly) offering to help me out. But despite the stress, it’s great fun and an excuse to spend an entire day in the kitchen.
This weeks bake is a pomegranate molasses cake. I have seen pomegranate molasses on sale in many delis and always wondered what I could do with it. I have used my wonderful Nordicwear bundt tin but feel free to use two 20cm sandwich tins instead. The use of the pomegranate adds a wonderful, slightly sour zingy taste to the sponge, its quite unusual. The creamy cream cheese icing compliments it perfectly, the added seeds on top add an extra texture and crunch which I def recommend you do. I love using yogurt in sponges, it really keeps the moisture in the cake and creates a nice close crumb. I used my beautiful new plates from Anthropology to bring sunshine and summer to the photos. Enjoy!
Pomegranate Molasses bundt cake
150g slightly salted butter (or unsalted but add a pinch of salt)
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 4 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 4 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 150ml full fat yogurt
- 280g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons bicarb of soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
Cream cheese icing
- 150g room temperature full fat cream cheese
- 50g softened butter
- 300g icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
- 100g pomegranate seeds
- Pre heat your oven to 170 degrees. Lightly grease your bundt tin (or grease and line your sandwich tins if using)
- Beat your butter and sugar together for around 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Add your eggs, one at a time until fully incorporated, add the molasses with the last egg.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, bicarb and baking powder. Add to your cake mix along with the yogurt and fold in until just mixed and you can no longer see and flour streaks. Pour into the cake tin and pop into the oven
- Bake for around 30-35 minutes (15-20 if using sandwich tins) until golden brown on top and a skewer comes out clean.
- Remove form the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely
- To make the icing, cream together your butter and cream cheese. Add the vanilla and add the icing sugar slowly, until desired sweetness achieved. The longer you beat your icing, the lighter and creamier it will be.
- Add the icing to your cake and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.