Cheat’s Christmas Cake

Xmas cake

I tend to be a little last minute when it comes to making my Christmas cake, before I know it its December and Christmas is fast approaching. So I wanted to try and find a recipe that didn’t involve having to make one so far in advance. I managed to find this amazing recipe a couple of years ago.

Ingredients
900g mixed dried fruit
1/2 pint/300ml dry cider
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange
170g nuts (almonds, hazelnuts and pecans)
225g butter
225 soft brown sugar
1 dessert spoon of black treacle (optional but great for colour as well as taste!)
4 large eggs, beaten
225g plain flour
1tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
6 tbs apple brandy

Method

Chop up the bigger pieces of dried fruit so that its all the size of a raisin.

Put all the fruit in a pan with the cider, bring to the boil and cook for 2-3 minutes. Allow it to cool. The fruit should absorb all of the liquid but if there’s any left drain it off.

Cream the butter and sugar with the finely grated rinds of the orange and lemon. Add the treacle if you are using it. Add in the beaten eggs and mix well.

Sift the flour with the spices and fold into the mixture with the soaked dried fruit, the chopped nuts, some of the juice from the orange and lemon to produce a soft dropping consistency.

Line an 8in/20cm cake tin with two layers of greaseproof paper. Wrap a thick layer of brown paper or newspaper around the tin and secure with string. Place the tin on a baking sheet with more brown paper between the baking sheet and the cake tin.

Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth it down. Shape a shallow hollow in the middle so that as the cake cooks it will rise evenly, giving a flat top.

Put in the oven and bake for 3-4 hours at 150c, checking half way – if the top is getting too brown cover it with a layer of brown paper.

When the cake is cooked, prick it all over with a fine skewer and pour over the apple brandy. Leave for a further 2 hours to completely cool before removing from the tin.

I have made this cake before and I personally think it tastes just as good as a cake made far in advance using the more traditional methods. Go on give it a try!

L xx

Blueberry and lemon cake

After a lovely sunny weekend the weather has turned decidedly wet and windy today so as its miserable outside I will stay in and bake!

Now this is a recipe I have used before and it always turns out really well and its very simple to make.

Blueberry and lemon cake

Ingredients – serves 10

75g of butter (melted)
200g caster sugar
1 lemon, juiced
2 eggs
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
120ml milk
2 tablespoons of lemon zest
150g fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
4 tablespoons of caster sugar

Method – prep time 30 mins, cook for 1 hour, ready in 1.5 hours

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease and flour a 1 lb loaf tin. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and 200g sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, and beat well. Mix in the juice of 1 lemon. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk. Fold in the lemon zest and blueberries. Pour into prepared loaf tin.
  3. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. For the lemon drizzle, combine 4 tablespoons sugar with 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Drizzle over cake while still warm.

This recipe is courtesy of www.allrecipes.co.uk

So go on, get your pinny on and get baking!

Rainbow cake

2013-02-03 14.02.12

Now this is one homemade cake I am particularly proud of, I had been meaning to make it for a long time.  So with the help of my husband (as this is quite a time consuming cake and with a baby as well I just wouldn’t of got it made).

Here is the recipe and method, its courtesy of www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes

Ingredients

  • 500g sunflower spread (not low-fat), at room temperature
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 500g self-raising flour
  • 10 eggs, at room temperature
  • Gel paste food colours in blue, green, yellow, orange and pink

For the buttercream icing:

  • 400g icing sugar
  • 200g butter, softened
  • Coloured sprinkles, to decorate

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line the base of 2 or more 18cm diameter sandwich cake tins. You’ll need to bake 5 cakes in total but the tins can be reused.
  • Place the sunflower spread, caster sugar, flour and eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk together using an electric mixer until soft, smooth and creamy.
  • Divide the mixture equally between 5 bowls. Add a small amount of food colour to each bowl, mix to colour evenly, adding more colouring if necessary to get vibrantly coloured mixtures. Spoon a coloured mixture into each tin and spread level with the back of a spoon. Bake for 30-35 mins until well risen and just firm to the touch. Cool in the tin for 5 mins then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. If reusing the tins, wash, grease and line with clean paper before adding the next mixture.
  • For the butter cream beat the butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the icing sugar, about one-third at a time, whisking well between each addition until smooth. You need a soft spreading consistency so if the butter cream is too stiff add 1tbsp freshly boiled water from the kettle and whisk again until light and fluffy.
  • To assemble, place the pink cake on a plate or board and spread with a thin layer of butter cream. Top with the orange cake then the yellow, green and blue, spreading a thin layer of butter cream between each one. Using a round bladed knife spread the remaining butter cream over the top and sides of the cake, swirling it slightly. Decorate with coloured sprinkles over the top.

Here is the finished article, I hope you like it!

                                      2013-02-03 14.10.53          2013-02-03 14.11.47

I thought this was the easiest recipe to follow, why not give it a go yourself, you will be very pleased with yourself and all the hard work is worth it!

Scrummy coffee cake

Coffee cake

As the nights are now drawing in I find I am craving more warming, comforting food so I thought it would be a good time to post my favourite coffee cake recipe, I made this yesterday and there is nothing nicer than a freshly baked piece of cake and a hot cup of tea (whilst sat in the front of the fire watching Downton Abbey, heaven!).

Ingredients

150g caster sugar
150g butter or margerine
3 eggs
150g self raising flour
1  1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp hot water
1tbsp instant coffee (add more if you like it strong)

For the icing

225g icing sugar
100g butter or margerine
1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee
1 tbsp hot water

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160c, 325F.  Grease and line a baking tin.
  2. Add the sugar and butter to a bowl and whisk until very fluffy and pale cream.
  3. Whisk the eggs in a mug with a fork and then add them gradually to the mixture with 1 tbsp of flour each time, make sure you don’t use all the flour.
  4. Add the rest of the flour and the baking powder to the mixture and fold it in gently.
  5. Dissolve the coffee in the boiling water and add to the mixture still folding.  Pour into the tin and cook for 50 mins (if dividing mixture between 2 tins cook for 30 mins).
  6. Meanwhile cream the butter and the icing sugar until light and fluffy.  Dissolve the coffee in boiling water, making sure you don’t add too much water or the icing will be runny, add it to the butter and icing sugar.  Whisk and leave in the fridge until the cake is done.
  7. Once the cake is cooked and cooled, decorate with the icing as desired.