Sunday, 23 September 2007
Pretty in Pink for Pinktober!
Minko from over in Couture Cupcakes is holding her very first blogging event. "Think Pink for Pinktober" which just happens to co-incide with Pink Ribbon Day , which is October 22nd I believe.
Breast Cancer is something that is very close to my heart. My own dear sweet mother is a breast cancer survivor of almost 25 years now. (Thankfully) I can still remember the terror those words struck into my heart when she telephoned me to tell me that she had it. I was a young mother with four young children and that was the first time I recognized that my mother would not be around forever. Because her own mother had died of cervical cancer my mum had always been really aware of cancer and always very vigilent in watching for the signs and having regular checkups. One day when she was checking herself she noticed a small lump. Since she is a very small breasted woman that was something that she noticed right away. She made the appointment to see her GP and was in for a mammogram almost immediately. Within several days she got the dreaded news that, yes indeed, there was something there that looked very suspicious. They did a needle biopsy and sure enough, the news that came back from that was not favourable, and within a very few days she was admitted to hospital and went through a complete radical mastectomy.
In those days it was very risky to do a lumpectomy, and really, because she was so small breasted, a lumpectomy would have taken almost all of her breast tissue anyways. Thankfully, the cancer had not spread in to any of her lymph nodes and she did not have to have any chemo or radiation therapy. She had been one of the lucky ones who caught it really early. All her vigilance and frequent checking had paid off.
My mother's experience has made both myself and my sister even more aware than ever of our own risks. Having had a Grandmother and Aunt both die of cancer and our own mother having had breast cancer, we both know that our chances are that much greater than normal, and that we have to be extra vigilant and cautious in our monthly checks. We must never be complacent. Neither should you be. Please check yourself regularly. It only takes a few minutes. If you notice any changes at all, such as a dimple in the skin or nipple that wasn't there before, a lump of any size, any change in colour or shape, a sore that never seems to heal, just anything different at all . . . run . . . don't walk, to your nearest GP and request further investigation. It could save your life!
Miki has invited us to each make a Pink dish in honor of Pink Ribbon Day. I have long been a fan of carrot cake and decided that I would take the idea one step further and make a beetroot spice cake. When I first grated the beetroot, and looked at it's horrifyingly red colour I thought perhaps this might just be a bit too pink, but, as you can all see from my results, it turned out perfectly fine and actually is quite delicious! Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my pink offering . . . (pink being one of my favourite colours!)
*Pretty In Pink Polkadot Cake*
Moist and spicy with intriguing pink speckles throughout. Your guests will be quite surprised when they find out where all that pretty colour comes from! I like to think this is quite healthy and a good way to have your vegetables and eat your cake too!
150g raw beetroot, peeled and grated
200ml sunflower oil
250g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs, separated
3 TBS milk
100g chopped walnuts, toasted
200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp each, ground cinnamon, ground ginger and ground nutmeg (I like to grate my nutmeg fresh)
1/2 cup really good quality strawberry jam for filling
180g butter, softened
150g icing sugar, sifted
450g low fat cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pink sugar flowers and pink glitter to decorate
Preheat the oven to 190*C/400*F. Grease two nine inch cake tins really well and dust with flour. Set aside. (alternately you can line with baking paper and grease it as well)
Remove about 1 tsp of the grated beetroot into a small bowl and cover with 2 teaspoons of boiling water and set this aside. (You will use this to colour the icing)
Whisk the sugar and the oil together in a bowl. Whisk in the egg yolks and the milk. Fold in the remaining beetroot and the nuts. It will look quite revoltingly red but don't let this alarm you in the least! (trust me!)
Sift together the flour, baking powder and the spices. Stir this mixture into the beaten mixture. Whip the egg whites until stiff with an egg beater and then fold them into the cake mixture in three additions, being careful not to over fold. Fold only to incorporate fully. Divide the batter evenly amongst the two prepared pans.
Bake in the heated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, only until the cake tests done and shrinks away a bit from the sides of the pan and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Run a knife around the edges and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the frosting by beating the butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy. Blend in the cream cheese until smooth and then work in the vanilla. Add some of the reserved beetroot liquor a little at a time to help tint the icing a pretty pink.
Remove the cake from the pans and place one layer in the middle of a pretty plate. Spread about 1/4 of the frosting on top of this layer. Spread the strawberry jam over top leaving about half an inch border around the edges with just icing. Carefully sandwich the other layer on top. Use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides, spreading it evenly and swirling it somewhat on the top. Decorate with the sugar flowers and sprinkle on some pink glitter to finish.
Place in the refrigerator for about 1 hour to set. If not serving straight away, cover with cling film and chill. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you want to serve it.