Last November was a fun month for me with lots of bookings and events at Willow Bough and a lot of nights out with plenty of fabulous live music. Definitely a work hard, party hard month! I was lucky that one of my favourite musicians, Charlie Worsham, came over to the UK to support the wonderful Lucie Silvas and I’d booked tickets to see them in Islington on 13 November. However, Charlie wanted a bit more of London than just one night it seemed…
Charlie played a Warner Music event which I was lucky enough to attend at the end of October. The following day, my friend Caroline interviewed him for Think Country and snuck in a sneaky fan question: “What’s your favourite cake?” She also said, “I think you’re going to know the girl who asked this” to which Charlie replied, “I think I do…” – I clearly have a reputation!
I then saw Charlie play at a free gig at Gail’s Bakery on Tottenham Court Road (as one of four acts playing that night) on 2 November and was due to see him again in a small café in Chiswick where he would play for just 50 people on Sunday 5 November. I felt so lucky to enjoy Charlie and his music live three times in as many weeks having only paid £5 for the privilege (honestly, if you’ve seen Charlie live you’ll know just how fortunate I was). This seemed a somewhat unfair deal to Charlie – although a marvellous one for me! – and so I wanted to do something to say thank you. So back to the question of Charlie’s favourite cake; while he admitted that all cake was great, his favourite is carrot cake. Back at the shop I set about making a carrot cake like no other carrot cake Charlie will have had before.
Now I don’t mind admitting that I’m a very good baker – my cakes and bakes always get such positive feedback and I know myself when something is good. I also know what I’m not so good at, and making my cakes look pretty is one such thing. I called in a favour from Lisa, who I’ve teamed up with at Willow Bough. Lisa is the queen of sugar craft and can make anything out of icing. She really is a very talented lady and I cannot sing her praises enough. Having made the carrot cake (which was absolutely beautiful, even if I do say so myself!) I presented it to Lisa to turn into a true masterpiece. Which is exactly what she did, turning my cake into a guitar.
Charlie arrived at Rhythm and Brew in Chiswick ahead of his gig, and came over to say hello to me and my friend and I presented him with the cake. And I quote: “My favourite cake ever in my life…” I think our cake was a success!
This recipe makes two 8” cakes which you can sandwich together with buttercream icing. Alternatively, you can ask Lisa to turn them into a guitar.
350ml sunflower oil
12oz muscovado sugar
12oz grated carrots
4oz walnuts, chopped
Zest of 2 oranges
12oz self-raising flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
Mix the oil, sugar and eggs together and add the grated carrots, sultanas, chopped walnuts and orange zest.
Mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and mixed spice and sift into the wet mixture before mixing together.
Divide the mixture into two greased and lined 8” cake tins and bake in the oven (I have my oven on gas mark 4) for 40 minutes or until the cakes pass the skewer test.
Sandwich together with a classic or orange buttercream icing and enjoy a large slice with a cup of tea while listening to Charlie’s album Beginning of Things. You won’t be disappointed.