Urgh, I’ve got a December hangover from hell. I ate WAY too much beige food with all the reds on the traffic light thing, drank almost daily, and poor Jillian Michaels would totally be caning my wobbly arse with contempt and disgust if she were on the same continent. I wish she was, actually – I kind of love her a bit.
I’ve just about managed to call a halt to the unseemly process of standing in front of the fridge, ramming fortnight-old sausage rolls into my mouth and nibbling at the corners of all the leftover cheese. It’s all very funny and collectively joked over, but in reality I feel like crap. My skin is spotty and lacklustre, I’m knackered by my usual daily workouts, and I’ve gained back the love handles that hate me as much as I hate them. My quality of sleep is rubbish and what I really need is a plate of broccoli that hasn’t been tainted with fried lardons.
But I do love the cake. This could be a problem.
It’s not though, because I’m clever and creative and I know that sweet treats don’t have to be unhealthy by default. Back before all the Christmas crazy, Domu Brands got in touch and asked me if I’d like to review the VonShef Stand Mixer and bake a (relatively) guilt-free morsel. Did I mention that I’m moving house (next week, in fact) and I basically want my kitchen to morph into some sort of Masterchef / GBBO hybrid arena? So of course I said yes.
Now, I’ve been beating my mixes by hand (ho!) ever since my trusty 10 year old electric whisk took on some stray liquid and started to smoke over my Vicky Sandwich batter. So I was beyond excited to be getting the freestanding mixer, to the point where I maintained a one-woman vigil at the front door when I got the text from the courier to say it was en route. I ripped open the box and cooed for a while, before inviting my family to bow down to it at a respectful, fingerprint-proof distance of 1 metre.
Here’s the rub though – my kitchen is a bit of a dive, as I write this. Because we’re moving and all that, and I’ve thrown away most of my relic utensils and shabby bakeware. Photography is not my strong point so I apologise for this all being a bit “stock”, you’ll just have to trust me and gaze beyond the rustic. This is what the mixer looks like: very shiny, very clean, and nice and compact. Obvs not my kitchen, I don’t do meringues.
I decided to road test it with one of my infamous “surprise” bakes. The surprise being that such creations are actually a bit healthy. My husband usually rolls his eyes at these offerings, but he usually can’t tell when I’ve substituted beef mince with quorn in a spag bol. He once revered a warm salad with grilled tofu because he thought it was sea bass. Sea bass!
Anyway, I made a Courgette and Orange Polenta Loaf Cake and it was bloody lovely. Here’s the recipe, if you’d like to have a go. I got the idea from one of my favourite health bloggers, Jemma at Celery and Cupcakes. You can have a squizz at her original recipe, here. You don’t *actually* need a stand mixer, either, but it did make me feel ever so swish…albeit in a half empty kitchen, surrounded by boxes, with the freezer defrosting over an old beach towel.
Courgette and Orange Polenta Loaf Cake with Drizzle Frosting by Mouse, Moo & Me Too
I promise you won't taste the courgette (god love it, it's only slightly less boring than marrow) in this gluten free, fluffy sponge with a zesty citrus kick.
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 1 and a half cups polenta, uncooked
- 1 courgette, grated
- 1 cup coconut oil, melted
- 3/4 cups fruit sugar (you can use soft brown sugar if you prefer)
- 1 large orange – zest and juice
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp baking powder (choose a gluten free variety if you’re, well, gluten free)
- 1/2 tub low-fat cream cheese
- 3/4 cup icing sugar
- 1 small orange – zest only (get a small person to eat the flesh as a snack)
For the cake
For the frosting
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
- Grease and line a loaf tin.
- Put the eggs, sugar, lime juice, orange juice and melted coconut oil into a bowl and mix until combined.
- Add the ground almonds, polenta, baking powder, grated courgette, orange zest and juice, and blend all the ingredients together until you have a pale batter at “dropping” consistency.
- Transfer the mixture to the loaf tin, and drop it firmly onto the worktop from a height of about six inches. Nigel, of the Slater variety, taught me this trick once (via the medium of telly) and I’ve never looked back – it seems to help give a nice, even bake.
- Place the loaf tin on the middle shelf of your oven and bake for 40-50 minutes. The sponge should be golden brown, and a little springy to touch. Leave in the tin for ten minutes to cool, then remove and transfer to a wire rack. The sponge now needs to cool completely, otherwise it’ll melt the frosting when you put it on.
- Make the frosting by combining the ingredients in a clean bowl. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up again.
- Smooth a dolloping great layer of frosting onto the loaf cake, letting it drizzle down the sides if it’s a bit runny. Then cut into generous slices, and serve. Yummers.
Fare thee well into February, dear reader. Better get cracking on these love handles before Valentine’s Day, hey.
-SJW January 2017
Disclaimer: I received a Black Stand Mixer by VonShef courtesy of Domu in exchange for this post. All views are my own. For further detail on how I collaborate with brands, please see my Disclosure Statement.