Diane Hughes. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter


The Majorca Mallorca At Home Together cookbook is slowly coming together from the contributors that shared and taught recipes during the lockdown. Today’s sneak preview is of a delicious cake made by Diane Hughes, a well-known cake maker and baker living in the SW of the island.

Diane Hughes grew up in Stepney Green and then moved to Brentwood. She has lived in Majorca for a decade.

“I came here with a friend in the 1980s and bought a lovely little holiday apartment here in 2003. I could only come for short hops until I sold my business in 2010, then came over here to see how it went and never went back. Up until September last year, I was cooking for a bar we owned. I used to make all the sweet stuff, and birthday cakes, sausage rolls and the roast dinners on a Sunday. At the minute I am retired and although I don’t miss the bar, I do struggle without structure to my day. I like to be busy.”

Q: How did you learn to cook?
A: All my family cook – my grandma and Mum are both fabulous cooks and everyone in my family pretty much can cook well. I did do an advanced cookery course when I first got married but I went with a friend and we just laughed all the time and got told off. I do have some cracking recipes from that course which I still use, and just made contact with the girl I went with 40 years ago. Thanks to lockdown.

Q: Why did you choose the recipe you have chosen?
A: This carrot cake recipe is the one we had in Infuze (the bar we used to own in Illetes) every week. I used to double up the quantities and we would sell a whole one in a day. It is a gorgeous recipe and pretty fool-proof!

Q: How did you get on in the lockdown and how did it affect you?
A: I have survived lockdown by cooking eating and drinking. I now seriously need to stop cooking eating and drinking and get the kilos off. The worst thing without a doubt has been not seeing my family. I am very close to my parents and my daughter is pregnant and I feel so far away. I will be going back for a few months as soon as the planes start flying again, to annoy everyone and be a “Gangster Granny”. I also have written a daily diary on Facebook which has been great because I have kept in touch and heard from so many people from my past life.

Q: What are your favourite foods?
A: I like spicy food, Indian especially, anything super hot. I also like to cook Indian food. Good Indian food is one of the big things I miss about the UK. I also like Nandos. Actually I love Nandos. Hot!

Q: What is your life like now? How do you feel about the future?
A: I am finding this stage of the lockdown harder than when we were stuck indoors and I don’t really know why. If I have one normal day and go out and spend time with people I feel so happy but the next day I kind of crash and burn and feel sad. It’s a ridiculous thing. I have nothing really to be sad about so I make sure I don’t slip too far down the rabbit hole.

For the cake
· 175g caster sugar
· 4 large eggs
· 175g self-raising flour
· ½ teaspoon mixed spice and a splosh of cinnamon
· 160g of grated or ground carrot
· 150ml corn oil
· 40g ground walnut
· Zest of an orange

For the frosting
(This is Hummingbird Bakery Cheese Frosting … the best frosting I have found for carrot cake …. Not too much cheese neither too sweet … I think it’s perfect).
· 50g butter
· 120g full fat Philadelphia cheese
· 300g icing sugar
· Grated orange zest

Put everything into a food mixer and mix for about 5 minutes on high speed or with a handheld mixer until everything is combined. The mixture is more like a batter – it’s quite runny so don’t despair.

Put into 2 x 20cm lined sandwich tins

Cook at 190* for about 30 minutes or until springy to the touch.
Whilst cooling, beat the ingredients for the frosting together it should be the consistency of thick cream.

If cakes have risen sufficiently cut through the middle so you now have 4 x thin sponges.
When completely cooled layer on the thick cream cheese filling through the middle and sandwich the cakes together. I also put some on top of the cake. Eat and enjoy!