Mini Carrot Cake Bundts #FoodieReads
This cake was inspired by reading The Last List of Mabel Beaumont by Laura Pearson
I had never heard of this book until I saw it pop up as a recent read from a friend who reads just about as much as I read. Then I saw it on my Kindle...for free. Done. This ended up being a sweet story of female camaraderie, friendships, and unconditional love and support.
Mabel Beaumont is eighty-six years old and has just become a widow after her husband of sixty-two years dies. Arthur, a serial list-maker, had left her a final list that simply read: Find D. Mabel interpreted at that as Arthur directing her to 'Find Dot.' When they were young adults, Mabel, Arthur, Bill (Mabel's brother), and Dot (Bill's fiancée) were inseparable. After Bill dies, Arthur and Mabel get engaged and Dot leaves town.
Before his death, Arthur had arranged for Mabel to have a carer for the first three months. Julie and Mabel quickly become friends and, then, Julie brings Mabel to her dance class taught by Patricia. All three women are alone - Mabel because she's a recent widow; Julie because her cheating husband has left her for his mistress; and Patricia because her daughter and grandchildren have moved out of her house. Add to this mix Kirsty, a young mother who is secretive about her estranged parents, and Erin, a gay teenager who works at the local market. They all bond together to help Mabel find Dot.
I won't spoil it for you, but they succeed and there is huge plot twist at the end. It's a quick read and leaves you feeling grateful for all of your female friends. At least that's how I felt.
There was also plenty of food on the pages. Lots and lots of British food.
Mabel and Erin meet at the market when Mabel shoplifts a jar of Piccalilli, a British interpretation of South Asian pickles of chopped and pickled vegetables and spices. "I never thought something significant would happen to me in the condiments section of the local supermarket. But that’s where I am, just reaching for a jar of piccalilli, when a voice inside whispers for me to take it. Not to put it in my basket with the bread and the bananas, but to put it in my handbag. To steal it" (pg. 43).
"She makes us cheese and tomato toasties with salad and we eat them sitting in the front room, laughing when the hot cheese oozes out of the sides" (pg. 159).
"Later that evening, Erin and I are making beans on toast. 'Sometimes,' Erin says, 'you can’t beat beans on toast.' And I agree. I’m buttering the toast and she’s stirring the beans, and I remember all the times Arthur and I stood in this kitchen together, him doing one job and me doing another" (pg. 294).
But what sent me into the kitchen was this passage...
Julie comes in with a tray of tea and slices of the carrot cake Patricia baked. They’re all here, in my front room, and I can’t quite believe it. It’s become a fairly regular occurrence (pg. 103).
makes four mini bundts
2-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2cup organic granulated sugar
1/2 cup organic dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup milk (I used whole milk)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Also needed: mini bundt pans; butter for greasing the pans; carrot ribbons for garnish; powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter mini bundt pans and set aside.
Place shredded carrots, eggs, oil, sugars, milk, vanilla, and spices in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Use a hand blender to beat into a smooth batter. Add in the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until ingredients are just moistened.
Portion batter into prepared pans. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes - until the bundts are well-risen and a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove cakes to a wire rack and let cool slightly. Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with carrot ribbons.