We are now a good couple of weeks into the new year and this is when our resolutions begin to waiver. The weather is cold and grey and it’s too easy to stay indoors and make excuses not to exercise. We crave comfort food and […]
This is a beautiful festive cake which we make in our household every year at Christmas. As I’m not a great lover of iced cakes this is the perfect cake for me with it’s Florentine style topping. The marzipan is still there but is incorporated into the cake mix. The cake will keep for up to 2 weeks or can be frozen for up to 2 months.
Wishing you all the best for Christmas and the New Year, we will be back in a couple of weeks with the focus very much on healthy eating.
Love Linden x
Jewelled Fruit and Nut Cake
- 250g butter, at room temperature
- 140g light muscovado sugar
- 6 large eggs, beaten
- 280g plain flour
- 85g ground almonds
- 2 teasp ground ginger
- 2 teasp ground cinnamon
- 700g luxury mixed fruit, including raisins, currants, mixed peel and glacé cherries
- 3 tbsp dark rum
- 140g white marzipan, diced
For the Florentine topping
- 50g blanched almonds
- 50g whole skinned hazelnuts
- 85g Brazil nuts
- 85g flaked almonds
- 140g whole glacé cherries
- 100g golden syrup
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°/Gas 4. Lightly grease and line the base and sides of a deep 20cm round loose-based cake tin with baking parchment.
Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, ground almonds and spices until thoroughly mixed and creamy. Measure off 100g of the cake mixture, put into a bowl and set aside for the florentine topping.
Fold the fruit and rum into the remaining mixture, then gently stir in the marzipan. Spoon this mixture into the prepared cake tin and level off the top to make a smooth even surface, then make a slight dip in the centre of the cake. This will ensure that the finished cake has a nice flat top. Put into the oven and bake for 1 1/4 hours.
Meanwhile mix all the nuts, cherries and syrup into the remaining cake mix. When the cooking time is up spoon the mixture evenly over the top of the cake. Loosely cover the tin with foil and return to the oven and bake for a further 40 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes, so the nuts can turn golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. Once completely cool, turn out and place on a serving plate or board.
I love mince pies but I’m always mindful of the amount of saturated fat present in the pastry. These mincemeat slices, adapted from a Delia Smith recipe, are lower in saturates and can easily become vegan friendly, depending on the vegetable fat and mincemeat used. […]
This is my ‘go to’ chocolate cake recipe and is quick and easy to make. It is based on a Mary Berry recipe and I have reduced the amount of sugar originally used. The end result looks and tastes indulgent, and is a real crowd pleaser.
Chocolate Fudge Cake
- 50g sifted cocoa powder
- 6 tbsp boiling water
- 3 large eggs
- 50ml semi-skimmed milk
- 175g self raising flour
- 1 rounded teasp baking powder
- 100g softened butter
- 250g golden caster sugar
For the filling and icing
- 3 tbsp apricot jam
- 150g plain chocolate (50-70% cocoa solids)
- 150ml double cream
Preheat oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. Grease two 20cm sandwich tins and line the base of each with baking parchment.
Blend the cocoa and boiling water in a large bowl until smooth. Add the remaining cake ingredients and beat until the mixture has become a smooth, thick batter. Divide the mixture equally between the tins and level the surface.
Bake in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes, until well risen and the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed with a finger. Leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack and remove the baking parchment. Leave to cool.
To make the icing, warm the apricot jam in a small pan, then spread over the base of one cake and the top of the other. Break the chocolate into pieces and gently heat with the cream in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, until the chocolate has melted, stirring occasionally.
Remove the bowl from the heat and stir the chocolate mixture well to make sure it has completely melted. Leave to cool until it is on the point of setting. Spread on top of the apricot jam on both of the cakes, then sandwich the cakes together. Keep in a cool place until ready to serve.
Last week saw the final of The Great British Bake Off and I must confess to being slightly disappointed in the challenges that were set. The signature bake featured iced doughnuts, something I hadn’t attempted to bake until this week. Pitta bread and dips was the task for the technical challenge, cooked over an open fire pit, and I felt this was more about temperature control rather than a baking challenge.
For the showstopper the contestants had to produce an edible landscape which ended up looking like something made at primary school. What happened to the beautiful cakes and bakes we come to associate with the final? In the end it all came down to taste and Rahul was a worthy winner, despite all the criticism that social media has unleashed.
I decided to give doughnuts a try this week, something we hardly ever eat as they are not exactly the healthiest of treats. The dough is very similar to a brioche dough and is not the easiest to handle due to it’s softness. I also do not possess a deep fat fryer but still managed to produce light fluffy doughnuts although I felt quite intimidated by the whole frying process.
My doughnuts were filled with scraps of jam and curd which were lurking in the fridge. The results? Delicious. We greedily ate two each the first evening! Do eat whilst fresh as they stale quickly. Would I make them again? Maybe as a treat but not on a regular basis. Do give the recipe a go and let me know how you get on.
- 210g strong white bread flour, plus extra to dust
- 7g fast action dried yeast
- ½ teasp salt
- 15g caster sugar, plus extra to dust
- 20g unsalted butter, at room temperature, chopped
- 100ml semi skimmed milk, warmed
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 litres sunflower oil, to cook
- 6 teasp jam or curd of your choice
Combine the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl and mix well. Put the butter into a bowl with the milk and stir to melt. Pour this into the mixing bowl, along with the egg, and stir until it forms a dough. It should be firm but soft.
Tip onto a lightly floured surface, or into a mixer fitted with a dough hook, and knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Put into a lightly greased bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place until doubled in size.
Knock back and tip onto a lightly floured surface, then shape into 6 balls, folding each side tightly into the centre in turn, turning as you go. Then turn the ball over and put it on a lightly floured baking tray or board, spacing them well apart. Leave to rise again until doubled in size.
Heat the oil in a large pan or deep fat fryer to 160°C. Cook the doughnuts in batches for about 3 minutes on each side, until golden, then blot with kitchen paper and sprinkle with caster sugar. Allow to cool slightly, then make a small hole in the side and pipe in the jam or curd.
Best eaten whilst still warm.