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*
Serves 9

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.


  1. Beautiful cake Marie! So glad your mum is a survivor. Well done for raising awareness.

  2. Marie, I can appreciate the seriousness of your post, believe me..but can I just say, that cake is calling my name! I wish I had it in front of me :) I love carrot cake or spiced cakes.And cream cheese frosting? Oh boy! I so wish I had a slice.

  3. That is a very interesting cake. I love beetroot, does the taste come through?

    My aunt is battling stage 4 breast cancer right now. She had never gotten annual exams so it was caught way too late and is now in her lymph nodes and spreading. I always have to remind myself to do monthly self exams, it's amazing how it slips your mind.

  4. Thanks for sharing the story about your mother.

    Love the cake. Adding this one to the "gotta make list"

    Thanks for entering. And good luck with the voting

  5. An excellent choice for Pinktober. Thanks also for sharing your personal story of hope and perseverance by the women in your your family.

  6. Thanks all for your lovely comments! The flavour of the beetroot doesn't really come through, much the same as the flavour of the grated carrots doesn't really overpower a carrot cake. There is an earthy flavour that is most pleasant and has you thinking to yourself what is that lovely flavour I can almost taste but not quite put my finger on ... hmmm....and then you just get lost in the deliciousness of the cake and forget all about it!

  7. Thank you so much, Marie, for sharing this story...and reminder to us! So very thankful your mother is a survivor!! This cake sounds, and looks, fantastic! The carrot and beetroot combination is a novel, yet natural idea. Looks as pretty as wedding cake that! ((HUGS))

  8. Thank you Marie for sharing your story with us. Love the cake too! Two of my dearest friends had breast cancer. Will make it for them next month and invite them for tea. Thanks again!

  9. It looks lovely! My grandmother died of breast cancer when I was in my teens so it's something I'm always aware of.

  10. Your cake is stunning Marie and thank you for sharing your story with us. I am delighted for your mother that she overcome her illness. I have 4 female family members who have died of cancer including my dear mother. I will bake your cake and think of long lost family and friends. Thank you for raising awareness!

  11. Hi Marie! I coulda sworn I replied to this last nite! :-/ Oh well, someone got your reply. :D

    The cake is gorgeous and thanks for sharing about your mom. Hugs and have an awesome day!


  12. Hello, I'm so glad that your mum is a survivor. BC is something that I very much aware of having lost my own mum when she was 58. From the moment she found it (interestingly it never showed up on her mammograms) to diagnosis and treatment she lasted all of five years. It quickly metastasized and I haven't gotten over it yet. It'll be 12 years this January.
    It is so important to contribute to ensure that at some point this dreadful disease may be eradicated.

    It's a lovely cake you've made and thanks for the recipe, I'll make one in honor of my mum.

    Enjoy your day!

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  14. Seriously, you just made me remember to make an appointment for a breast exam. I'm going in tomorrow. Lovely cake, in the meantime. I'd love to know if the beets changed the flavor.

    (Had to remove my other post as it used my *old* blogger name!)

  15. what a brilliant idea, yum and so gorgeous. I loved your post today. Well most days actually

  16. what a cute cake! it's my favorite color aaand it looks so good!

  17. Holy cow, Marie - GORGEOUS cake! Sounds so yummy too. =)


  18. That's great that you answered the pink cake call using something natural instead of food coloring. It looks wonderful!

    My mother is a survivor of breast cancer. It had spread to her lymph nodes and so she had a masectomy but no chemo or radiation. It's been 18 years!

    I hope you enjoy Tea Time at the Inn. Thanks for stopping by!

  19. Hi Marie,
    once again I try to comment ans ay your cake truly sounds and looks delicious.Thanxkyou for sharing this new kind of recipe.I love beetroot and a dor carrot cake.Take Care God Bless.Kath.xx The story of your Dear Mum I have read before,but it is wise advise.


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