STYLE

Lorraine Pascale: Baking Made Easy

09/05/2011 12:45 | Updated 22 May 2015

Lorraine Pascale: A super-successful model, who worked with the likes of John Galliano, Chanel and Donna Karan, she was the first British black model on the cover of American Elle.

This would of course be success enough for one lifetime for most of us, but after road-testing various other career options including interior design and hypnotherapy in between modelling jobs, Lorraine discovered her real passion – baking.

Cut to today and with her own cake making business, tv series - Baking Made Easy and accompanying bestselling book under her belt, it's a passion that looks set to create a second outrageously successful career for Ms Pascale.

Here's a taster of how Lorraine's recipes (with commentary from Lorraine) bring baking into 2011.

Why not give them a try and let us know what you think? More to come next week...

Pumpkin and Rosemary Muffins

I wrote this in November, when pumpkins had been whisked away for Halloween, so I had to substitute a butternut squash. To cook a small amount of pumpkin, dice into cubes and place in a pan with just enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and pop on a lid, slightly askew.

Boil/steam for 5–10 minutes and top up with water if needed. Drain and use.

These muffins don't rise loads but they have a flavoursome, moist crumb.

Makes 12 muffins

Vegetable oil or oil spray, for oiling

180g (6½oz) self-raising flour

130g (4½oz) wholemeal flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

Good pinch of salt

3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, very finely chopped

240g (8½oz) cooked pumpkin* (about 1 small wedge), cut into dice

*Ready-cubed, uncooked squash is available in the supermarket

2 eggs, lightly beaten

100ml (4fl oz) plain yogurt

275ml (10fl oz) milk

3 big squidges of honey

60ml (2½fl oz) vegetable oil

Handful of pumpkin seeds

Equipment:

12-hole muffin tin

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6.

Cut out 12 squares of baking paper measuring about 14cm x 14cm (5½in).

Oil the muffin tin and push the squares down into each hole so the paper

sticks up just like the muffins you can buy in the coffee shop. The squares have a habit of popping up out of the holes, which is OK for now as once the muffin mix is spooned inside the squares will stay down.

Alternatively, use ready-made paper muffin cases.

In a large bowl, sift the flours, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda,

stir in the salt and rosemary. If there is any wholegrain left in the sieve

from the wholemeal flour, keep this for the topping.

In a medium bowl, put the rest of the ingredients, apart from a third of

the pumpkin, and stir well so all the liquid is well combined. Pour the

wet ingredients into the dry and, using a large spoon and no more than

8 turns, mix all the ingredients together. It does not take much to over-mix

muffins at this stage and although the end result will still taste sublime the

texture will not be as tender. Leave the mixture to stand for 5 minutes,

then spoon the mixture into the paper cases.

Sprinkle the wholegrain, reserved pumpkin and the pumpkin seeds over

the muffins. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20–25 minutes, or until

the muffins are well risen and a skewer inserted in the centre comes

out clean.

Good for breakfast, good for lunch and good for just about any time of

the day for a snack. For canapés these can made in mini muffin cases as

mouthful morsels of scrumbunctiousness.

lorraine pascale carrot cake recipeMy Big Fat Carrot Cake

A no-holds-barred cake with three moist spiced layers of pure excess. If you don't fancy making this sky-high cake, which takes a whopping nine eggs, then knock off a third of the ingredients and make a more humble two-layer cake instead.

525ml (18½ fl oz) vegetable oil

9 eggs, lightly beaten

525g (1lb 3oz) soft dark brown sugar

420g (15oz) carrots, peeled and grated

Grated zest of 3 large oranges

525g (1lb 3oz) self-raising flour

Pinch of salt

1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda

1½ tbsp mixed spice

Seeds of 1 vanilla pod or 2 tsp vanilla extract

Cream cheese frosting

200g (7oz) icing sugar

40g (1½ oz) butter, cubed

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Seeds of ½ a vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract

115g (4¼ oz) low-fat cream cheese, chilled

Handful of pecans or walnuts, toasted to decorate

Equipment

Three x 20cm (9in) round tins

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (325ºF), Gas Mark 4.

Prepare the tins by oiling the insides and lining the bases with baking paper.

Put the oil, eggs, sugar, carrots and orange zest in a large bowl and mix

with a wooden spoon. If you're making all three tiers, you may have to

do this in batches.

Mix the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and mixed

spice together, then sift into the bowl. Add the vanilla and lightly mix

everything together until the mixture is uniform but still soft and runny.

Ladle into the prepared tins and bake in the oven for 40–45 minutes.

The cakes are ready when the sponge springs back up if pushed lightly.

Although they will be moister than other sponges, a skewer inserted into

the middle should still come out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for

5 minutes or so, then turn out onto a wire rack and peel off the paper.

For the cream cheese frosting, mix the icing sugar, butter, lemon zest and

vanilla together in a bowl, then whisk well to combine. Stir in the cream

cheese. If the mixture looks too runny, put it in the fridge for 10–12

minutes to harden up.

When the cakes are cool, take two of them and

use a large, sharp knife to slice off the domed tops, leaving them

completely flat. Don't slice the top off the third cake.

Put a dollop of frosting in the middle of a serving plate or stand. This

stops the cake from sliding. Take one of the flattened cakes and place it

on top. Then pop a big spoonful of frosting onto it and spread all over,

leaving a 2.5cm (1in) gap around the edge so that the frosting does not

squelch over when you add the next layer.

Put the next flattened cake on top and repeat with more frosting. Put the unsliced tier on the top, cover

generously with frosting and decorate with toasted nuts, if desired.

The Baking Made Easy book, published by Harper Collins, is out now.

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