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
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
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.
My 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
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.