Rudolf’s Favourite Christmas Cake

Its so very nearly time for Christmas and I couldn’t be more excited!!

I’m one of those rather annoying people that tends to get very excited about the festive period very early……..so much so that my lovely work colleagues have banned me from saying the “C” word – (Christmas, obviously) – meanies!

I get reprimanded every time I say it and a tally mark added to the white bored. So, obviously I got carried away today about how happy I was that I had made my lovely Christmas cake last night and in doing so I managed to get myself 2 extra tally marks on the board before I’d even realised what I’d said!! Bah!

Scrooges!!

Beisdes, what’s not to love?! I love fairy lights all year round (I could never have enough fairy lights in my life) especially at Christmas though, I love the films, the snow, the feeling of cold on my face whilst being snug and warm in my oversized coat and fluffy ear muffs, I love the food…and the wine! And who could forget all of the extra time I get to spend with my family?! With all that to look forward to I don’t see why I shouldn’t be excited from August onwards! The second half of the year is best anyway šŸ˜‰

This year I am making 6 Christmas cakes because who doesn’t like a challenge?! 5 x 8inch ones and 6inch-er.

Its a bit of a hybrid recipe and I have to admit that I took the foundations of this cake from the lovely Delia. I hope you enjoy, let me know how you get on šŸ™‚

Top Tip: For best results you will need to start prepping this cake the night before baking it.

Ingredients needed for the boozy fruit…

IMG_1262Ingredients needed for the cake…

IMG_1279Ingredients:

For the boozy fruit
(Made at least 12 hours before baking)

  • 450g of Currants
  • 175g of Sultanas
  • 175g of Raisins
  • 80g of GlacĆ© cherries (finely chopped)
  • 80g of Mixed peel (finely chopped)
  • 4tbsp of good quality brandy!

For the cake
(8inch round)

  • 225g of sifted plain flour
  • 225g of soft brown sugar
  • 225g of unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 0.5 tsp of grated nutmeg
  • 0.5 tsp of mixed spice
  • 0.5 tsp of cinnamon
  • 50g flaked almonds (crushed up a bit)
  • 4 eggs (fresh)
  • 1.5 tablespoons of black treacle
  • Grated rind of 1 Lemon
  • Grated rind of 1 Orange
  • Grease proof paper
  • Brown paper
  • String

Recipe:

1. First thing is first – add all of the ingredients from the boozy fruit list to a bowl big enough for all of the ingredients. Use your hands to mix it all together before adding 4 tbsp of branding to the fruit and covering with a clean tea towel. Leave for at least 12 hours

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2. Next, start prepping your cake tin (I definitely learnt this from Delia!). Line around the tin with 2 layers of baking paper. Grease the tin before adding the baking paper.

Tip: Cut a length of baking paper, enough to sit around the inside of the tin and fold it in half length ways. Fold it back 1 inch along the length and snip it at intervals, cutting at a slight angle. It will help the baking paper to sit flush against the tin. Then use the base of the cake tin to cut out a double layer for the bottom of the tin.

3. You will then need to tie brown paper around the tin with string to protect it during its long slow bake.

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4. Preheat your oven to 140c/Gas 1

5. Next add 225g of butter (at room temp) and 225g of soft brown sugar to a stand mixer (or you can use an electric hand mixer) and beat together until light and fluffy.

Remember: Don’t skimp on this part!

6. Next take your 4 eggs and beat them in a separate bowl. You will need to add this to the butter and sugar mixture a little at a time, preferably whilst still mixing, to prevent the mixture from splitting.

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7. Once all of the beaten egg has been added to the butter and sugar mix you can then sift in 225g of plain flour. Mix until all has been incorporated.

8. Add in 1/2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and a 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice. Mix until all has been incorporated.

9. Add the soaked fruit to the cake mixture along with the 50g of almonds, the grated zest if the orange & lemon and 1.5 tbsp of black treacle. Turn the mixer to a low speed to mix these ingredients in.

10. The mixture is now ready to be spooned in to the prepared cake tin! Once all of the mixture has been transferred across in to the cake tin, smooth it down with the back of a spoon.

photo11. Finally – take a large piece of baking paper and fold it half – ensure a small hole – around the size of a Ā£2 coin has been cut out of the middle of the parchment and place over the cake tin before putting it into the oven.

IMG_133712. This cake will take around 4 hours to bake.

Tip: To test if your cake is ready simply remove from the oven and press in the centre of the cake – if it springs back its good to go. If it leaves an indent it needs to go back in for a little while longer.

13. Let the cake cool in the tin for around 45 minutes before removing from the tin and leaving the cake to cool completely on a rack.

VoilĆ ! šŸ™‚

IMG_1338Remember:Ā Once your cake is cool you should use a skewer to poke several holes in to the top and the base of the cake so that you can then ‘feed’ brandy to Christmas cake. A couple of tablespoons every fortnight or whenever you see fit will help your cake mature nicely.

Tip:Ā Wrap your cake in brown paper tied up with string and then wrap around a double layer of foil before storing in an airtight container. Only bring out to feed and decorate.

IMG_1339IMG_1340I hope you like the recipe! Icing and decorating blog to follow in December! Hopefully I can make it look as good as it tastes! šŸ™‚

Love S & P x

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Terry’s Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

IMG_1226So this week it was another friends birthday….the lovely Marielle!

Marielle didn’t really want to do much for her birthday, she just wanted to keep things really low key – so, I decided to bake her some yummy cakes! It’s simply not a birthday without cake! Marielle and Joe used to be our neighbours and have helped us out quite a lot over the years – especially with little Georgie so I decided to try and make something a bit special and a little different! šŸ™‚

I dont know many people that dont rate a good old Terry’s Chocolate Orange so I decided to try and mastermind some cupcakes for her based around a classic treat!

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These are a little different as 3 layers make up the cupcake; 2 chocolate and 1 orange so a little patience is needed!

I’d never made these before so I was taking a bit of a risk as I decided to adapt another recipe that I use to make a big chocolate & orange marble cake….anyway……here goes!

Ingredients:Ā 

For the Chocolate & Orange Cupcakes (fills 12 muffin sized cases)Ā 

  • 260g soft butter (room temp)
  • 260gĀ caster sugar
  • 260gĀ self raising flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 1.5 oranges (grated orange rind only)

For the Buttercream Icing

  • 175g soft butter
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 100gĀ melted plain chocolate
  • 1.5 tsp orange extract
  • A Terry’s Chocolate Orange

Recipe:

1. Preheat your oven to 140 fan/160 or Gas 3

2. Line a 12 hole cupcake tin with muffin cases

3. Beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until fluffy – dont forget the butter should be room temp – (you cant also use an electric hand mixer)

Tip: Mix for a good 5 minutes –Ā Ā this is what makes the cupcakes big and fluffy!

4. Add the eggs two at a time and sift in a quarter of the flour into the butter mixture and beat until well combined

5. Repeat until all eggs and flour are used up

6. Split the mixture into two bowls equally

Tip: You can weigh them if you want to make super sure they are the same.

7. Add 30g of cocoa and 1 tbsp of milk to one portion and mix to combine all the ingredients throughly

8. Add orange extract and rind to the other portion and mix to combine throughly

Tip: You could also add a small amount of orange food colouring to give it the extra wow factor when eaten!

9. Take two spoons and alternate dollops of chocolate and orange mixture into the muffin cases – I did 1 tablespoon full of chocolate, followed by 1 tablespoon full of orange and then 1 more of chocolate again on top.

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Remember: Your muffin cases want to be filled about 2/3rds full (or just a little over) so try not to under or over fill!

Tip: Looking back it might have been easier and quicker to put the mixture into 2 piping bags and piped theĀ muffin cases….

10. Place the muffin tray in the oven on the middle shelf for approx 40 minutes (all ovens vary so check your cake after 20 mins)Ā IMG_1211

11. Your cupcakes are ready when the skewer can be inserted into the cake and it come out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool for around an hour.

Tip: Dont worry if they seem to take a little longer in the oven!

12.Ā Ā Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water – once melted set aside to cool slightly

13. Beat the butter and icing sugar with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy

14. Pour the chocolate into the buttercream mixture inĀ small quantities and mix as you add to ensure that you incorporate all of the chocolate

15. Add the orange extract and beat one last time

16. Fill a piping bag with your buttercream icing and using a nozzle of your choice (I went for a classic star shaped one) ice away before adding a segment of the chocolate orange to each cupcake šŸ™‚

17. Enjoy!

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Love S & P x

Toffee Apple Upside Down Cake – Gluten Free!

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So this was the first cake I made with Penny – what a team!

My timings were a little off, well, only in terms of me thinking how long it would take. Im putting it down to the habit of having to use a fork to mix everything back before I got Penny. Could it get any more amateurish?! No, didn’t think so……

I know this recipe might sound a little odd but it is definitely worth a try! The cake compliments the topping perfectly! I made this one using Gluten free self raising flour but it works perfectly with normal self raising flour too! Perfect for Halloween, Bonfire Night, Autumn and Birthdays in general! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the toffee apple topping

  • butter, for greasing
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 large Granny SmithĀ apples, peeled, cored and sliced in Ā½in wedges
  • 1 large orange,Ā zestĀ only
  • 75g driedĀ cranberries

For the cake

  • 225g saltedĀ butter, softened
  • 225g goldenĀ caster sugar
  • 225g self-raising flour (Gluten Free or normal)
  • Ā½ tspĀ bicarbonate of soda
  • 4 free-rangeĀ eggs, at room temperature
  • 60ml/4 tbsp wholeĀ milk
  • Ā½ tspĀ vanilla extract

Recipe:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 180C/350F/Gas4
  2. Grease and line a 10inch round spring form baking tin.
  3. To make the toffee apple topping you will need to put a medium sized pan over a high heat and add the sugar along with 3 tablespoons of water – cook this until all of the sugar melts and you are left with a lovely looking amber colour.Tip: Some recipes say not to stir theĀ sugar at any point and I agree but have found that sometimes a swift shake of the pan will even out the sugar allowing it to cook all at the same time without any of it burning.
    Remember: The toffee should be an amber colour – any darker and you will have burnt it!
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour the toffee in to the baking tin – make sure you completely cover the base of the tin.IMG_9704
  5. Quickly and carefully place the apple wedges in rows on top of the toffee topping – you will need to work quickly before it sets! I would recommend a good 2 or 3 ‘rows’ of apple slices!
  6. Once you have placed your apple over the toffee, sprinkle around a third of the orange zest evenly on top before adding the cranberries in to fill any gaps.
  7. Now to start making the cake! Add the butter, remaining orange zest and sugar to a stand mixer and beat together until pale and fluffy – alternatively you can use an electric hand mixer (or a fork if you have the time and energy!).
  8. Sift together your flour and bicarbonate of soda and then start adding a table spoon of the flour mixture to the butter mixture along with one egg. Ensure that you have mixed until combined and then repeat this process until all of the flour and eggs have been used.
  9. Once it is all completely mixed together stir in the milk and a couple of drops of vanilla essence.IMG_9705
  10. Your cake is now ready to be poured into the caketin on top of the toffee and apple slices.Ā Simply smooth down the with a spatula and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in to the centre of the cake comes out clean.Tip:Ā I would also recommend placing some foil on the shelf underneath the cake as when the toffee heats up again, some amounts can ‘leak’ out of the tin and make a mess of your oven!
  11. Once your cake is cooked – use oven gloves to remove from the oven. Ā Place cooling rack or a wire rack over the tin and quickly flip it over – Be careful not to burn yourself! You may need some help with this – your helper should also wear oven gloves – Once you have flipped your cake, you should remove the tin and allow it to cool completely on the cooling rack.
  12. Enjoy!

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Love S & P x