Presenting Mr Bear... And How to Make Him! December 08 2016
"Nearly eleven o'clock," said Pooh happily. "You're just in time for a little smackerel of something."- Wise words from our favourite hungry bear, Winnie the Pooh
Baking is one of those things that can be very nostalgic, especially at this time of year. Who doesn’t have a memory of those seasonal smells wafting from the kitchen, delightful promises of mom’s famous cookies or grandma’s Christmas pudding. Baking is best when it’s made with loved ones and shared, and if they’re thousands of miles away (as my family are) then it brings me a little piece of home when I can’t be with them.
Not to mention that now the days are shorter and colder and wetter (is the snow ever coming?!!), the thought of spending an evening inside with my warm oven creating something delicious is very tempting indeed. And if the finished product is adorably cute too? Sign me up!
This season we have some fun baking moulds and cutters in the shop, and I have the privilege of showing off our adorable teddy bear to you! Below you can find my family’s recipe for carrot cake (the one and only recipe worth baking, trust me – not that I’m biased at all…) but Mr Bear doesn’t always have to be a cake. Why not mix some goodies like chocolate chips, candied ginger and almond pieces into some softened vanilla ice cream, then pour it all into Mr Bear lined with some plastic wrap? Freeze, turn out and voila! Ice cream cake! Or how about Mr Bear Jell-o? He’s a very versatile young sir.
If that doesn’t persuade you, well – just look at that face. How can you resist? You can find Mr Bear online (here) or in our bricks and mortar shop in Rosedale, Toronto.We'd love to see what you're baking this holiday season, especially if you have a go at our favourite little bear! Share your creations on Instagram @advicefromacaterpillar_
CakeCream Cheese Frosting
2 cups flour (I used whole wheat) + some for dusting the tin
2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 ½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
3 cups grated carrot (approx. 4 small/medium carrots)
Optional: 1 cup walnuts/pecans/sultanas
½ cup cream cheese, cold
¼ stick of butter, at room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1. Preheat your oven to 180˚C/360˚F.
2. Grease and flour your tin. This is REALLY IMPORTANT because Mr Bear is an unusual shape with lots of nooks and crannies. Use a pastry brush or piece of kitchen paper to cover every inch of the tin with oil, then put a small spoonful of flour into a sieve and dust the whole tin with a thin layer of flour.
3. Sift the flour into a large bowl and add all the dry ingredients. Give it a good mix.
4. Beat together the eggs and oil in a separate bowl until well combined, then stir into the dry mixture.
5. Add the grated carrot (and nuts/fruit if you’re using) and mix well.
6. Pour a shallow layer of cake batter into Mr Bear and give the tin a gentle tap against your countertop. This helps prevent any air bubbles from ruining his cute face! Then continue to pour the mixture into the tin, leaving at least ½ inch clearance at the top to make sure the mixture doesn’t spill out when cooking.*
7. Bake for 40 minutes – 1 hour, until the cake is springy to the touch and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.* Leave to cool completely.
8. While the cake is cooling, prepare your cream cheese frosting. Whip the cream cheese with a hand mixer (or good old elbow grease!) until it is smooth, then gradually add the butter until you have a smooth, light mixture. Whip as much as possible at this point – not when the sugar is added.
9. When you add the sugar and vanilla you want to stir the mixture as little as possible, or your frosting will go very runny. Sift all the sugar into the bowl with the vanilla, and use a metal spoon to gently fold it all together.
10. Pop your frosting into the fridge until your cake is ready to decorate.
11. When the cake is completely cool (no shortcuts here - it needs to be cold), run a plastic spatula around the edges, gently easing the cake away from the sides of the tin. Then flip it over onto a plate or chopping board and give the tin some firm taps until Mr Bear emerges. Be patient, and don’t rush! It may take a few goes.***
12. Now let your creativity run wild and give your bear some personality! Use the frosting to add features and clothing, and add the final touches with chocolate drops or some dried fruit.
*It’s always wise to put a baking tray underneath the tin while it’s in the oven – just in case!
**Check the cake before the end of cooking time – you may need to reduce the temperature slightly if it is cooking too fast on the outside.
***If you’re still having trouble removing your cake from the tin after a few rounds of spatula and tapping, try this technique here (and don’t panic!)