Lemon and Elderflower Victoria Sanswich

Lemon cake, sandwiched together with lemon curd and cream, topped with an elderflower glaze.

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It is elderflower season again so I have been making copious amounts of my elderflower cordial. I love using elderflower in baking as its such a beautifully delicate flavour. I decided to use it in something really simple, so I made this lemon and elderflower sponge cake.

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I will be bringing this along to Fiesta Friday#127 this week, hosted by Angie and co-hosted by  Suzanne @ apuginthekitchen and Jess @ Cooking Is My Sport.. Happy Friday Everyone!

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Variations: You could use another citrus fruit to complement the elderflower, both lime and orange would work really well. Also if you don’t like elderflower you could add another floral flavour to the icing like lavender or rose.

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Ingredients: Serves 8-10

The Sponge:

  • 250g butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • zest of two lemons
  • 4 eggs
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 3-4tbsp elderflower cordial

The Filling:

  • 200ml double cream – whipped
  • 150g lemon curd

The Icing

  • 200g icing sugar
  • 2-5tbsp elderflower cordial

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To Make:

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line two 20cm cake tins.

Combine all the ingredients for the sponge and mix with an electric whisk until light and fluffy.

Spoon into the prepared cake tins and level off.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown on top and springy to touch.

Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Once the cakes are cool, place one cake onto a cake stand or serving plate and spread with lemon curd. Dollop the whipped cream onto and gently spread t the edges. Sandwich the next cake layer ontop.

To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl, and add the elderflower cordial tbsp at time, stop when the mixture has formed a thick paste that coats the back of a spoon.

Pour the icing over the top of the cake, and gently spread to the edges, add a bit at a time, so it doesn’t all just run over the edges. You should end up with a rustic drippy finish tough!

Decorate with some edible flowers (I have used primrose and violas) and serve!

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Quick and Easy Hummus

Super quick, easy and delicious hummus recipe 

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This recipe comes from one of my favourite cookbooks at the moment; Honey & Co. Ive tried lots of other hummus recipes before, but Ive never found one that tastes as good as this or is as easy! The recipe in the book used dried chickpeas, but I just use a can of chickpeas which means I can have it made in 5 minutes!

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Variations: You can add any extra flavour you want to the hummus, I love using some fresh coriander.

Ingredients: Makes one large bowl full (enough for 4 people as a starter or mezze)

  • 250g can of chickpeas
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 125g tahini paste
  • 1/2 a tsp salt
  • 1-3 tbsp lemon juice

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To Make:

Pour the contents of the tin of chickpeas (including the water) in a small pan and bring to the boil.

Turn off the heat and drain the chickpeas into a blender, reserving the cooking liquid. Add all the other ingredients to the blender along with around half of the reserved cooking liquid.

Blend to form a smooth paste (add more liquid if required!). At this point the mixture will be a bit runnier than you would expect but it will firm up in the fridge!

Cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at lest half an hour.

Top with some paprika or cumin and fresh herbs. Serve with some flatbreads and enjoy!

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Spiced Panna Cotta and Mango Mousse Pots

Panna cotta, spiced with cardamom, cinnamon and saffron, topped with a fruity mango and lime mousse.

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I came up with these desserts when I was trying to decide what to make to finish off an indian meal, so I wanted something light and exotic. I couldn’t decide wether to make a spiced panna cotta or a mango mousse so I just decided to make both!

I actually really liked the combination of the fruity mousse and sweet spicy panna cotta, and they went down well, so I definitely recommend giving them a go!

 

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I will be bringing this along to Fiesta Friday#121 this week. Happy Friday everyone!

Variations: You could use a different mousse flavour – lemon or passionfruit would be lovely.

Ingredients: Makes 10 pots

The Panna Cotta:

  • 400ml double cream
  • 200ml milk
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 10 cardamon pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • 5 gelatine leaves

The Mango Mousse:

  • 2 ripe mangos
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 250ml double cream
  • juice and zest of two limes
  • 4 gelatine leaves
  • 50ml tropical fruit juice

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To Make:

The Panna Cotta:

Combine the milk, cream sugar and spices in a large pan and bring to almost a boil over a low heat.

Soak the gelatine in some cold water for 5 minutes.

Once the cream has reached almost boiling point, remove from the heat and stir in the gelatine leaves. (Taste and check it is sweet enough for you!)

Once the gelatine has completely melted strain the mixture into small ramekins, until each is half full.

Leave to chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours until set.

The Mango Mousse:

Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes, then melt in a pan over a low heat with the fruit juice.

Peel and dice the mango, reserving 1/4 for topping the mango mouse.

Place the rest of the mango in a small blender with the honey, and the lime juice and zest. Blend until smooth.

In a clean bowl whip up the double cream until it forms soft peaks.

Fold in the mango mixture and gelatine until fully combined and no lumps remain.

Spoon into the ramekins over the set panna cotta layer. Leave to chill in the fridge for at least three hours.

Top with the diced mango, and a few cardamom pods.

Serve and enjoy!

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Rhubarb, Ginger and Soured Cream Cake

Deliciously moist cake, made with fresh rhubarb and soured cream, flavoured with a hint of  warming ginger.

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Now that the beautifully pink stalks of rhubarb are appearing in the shops, I couldn’t resist making a lovely rhubarb cake!

I have used this Waitrose recipe for soured cream and rhubarb cake, which is a lovely simple recipe which makes a really flavourful cake!

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I decided to lay the rhubarb on top of the cake in strips to try and make it look a little bit prettier, but you could also just scatter over some cut up rhubarb!

This was a lovely cake which would be a great dessert with a spoonful of creme fraiche or warm custard.

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Variations: You could use a different fruit in this cake  – apple or pear would work well!

Ingredients: Serves 6-8

  • 75g unsalted butter, softened
  • 250g light brown soft sugar
  • 284ml soured cream
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 400g Rhubarb
  • 100g caster sugar

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To Make:

Grease and line a deep 23cm cake tin, and preheat the oven to 170C

Roughly chop about 4/3 of the rhubarb, reserving a few long pieces to cover the top of the cake.

Combine the butter, sugars, ginger, eggs, flour and soured cream in a large mixing bowl and whisk for around 5 minutes until smooth.

Fold in the chopped up rhubarb until it is evenly distributed.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tins. Cut the leftover rhubarb in half lengthways to create long strips, and lay them on top of the cake mix.

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Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, until golden brown and cooked through. You may need to cover the cake with foil halfway through baking to stop it from burning.

Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack.

Serve warm and enjoy!

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Mastering the Macaron

My adventures in trying to make the perfect macaron!

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This weekend was my one year blog-versary! I decided to mark the occasion my attempting to master a bake that has failed me before; the macaron.

I tried them about a year ago with disastrous results! They were just lumpy almond biscuits, with no foot, or shiny top, and since then I have been to scared to try again.

Last time I tried the Italian meringue method and since they were such a disaster, I decided to try the french method, which at first glance seemed much simpler, so I was hopeful for good results!

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I did a LOT of googling before I started, and read through loads of french macaron recipes. I found that most of the recipes contained the same amounts and instructions, and settled on this recipe, as it had good reviews.

My first attempt was almost right, I managed to get quite a good foot on each biscuit, and there were no cracks, so they did look quite like a proper macaron, but unfortunately the tops were very lumpy, and not shiny at all, so I knew I wasn’t quite there!

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I had another google for macaron trouble shooting, and decided that my problems were probably due to either under-mixing the batter, or not having almonds that were finely ground enough.

During the first batch, I only just mixed the almond  and sugar mixture into the egg whites because I was scared of knocking out all the air, but I soon realised that you actually need to mix the batter for  little longer until it runs off the spoon and leaves a ‘ribbon’ trace.

So, for my second batch of macarons, I gave the ground almonds an extra blitz in the food processor to get a finer grind, and I made sure I mixed the batter until it formed ‘ribbons’.

I noticed when I piped the mixture onto the macaron sheet, that it flattened out much more smoothly, and looked a lot more glossy, so I was hopeful that they would turn out better!

And I was right be be hopeful because the second batch turned out really well, with nice smooth shiny tops, and a foot! so now I know how to make proper macarons!

I will give the recipe for the chocolate and coffee macarons which worked!

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Ingredients: Makes 14 Mocha Macarons

  • 100g egg whites (3 eggs)
  • 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar
  • 40g granulated sugar
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 150ml double cream
  • 1tbsp espresso powder
  • 1tbsp icing sugar

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To Make:

Take the eggs out of the fridge a few hours before use and leave to warm up to room temperature.

Line a baking tray with either a silicone macaron mat, or a sheet of baking paper with templates drawn on.

Place the almonds in a food processor and blitz a few times to mix into a finer powder.

Sift the ground almonds, cocoa powder and caster sugar into a large bowl and set aside.

In a separate clean bowl, whisk up the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add the caster sugar, and whisk to form stiff glossy peaks.

Fold the almond mixture into the egg whites bit at a time, until fully incorporated. Continue to mix until the mixture loosens up a little, and the batter runs off the back of the spoon ‘like lava’ or forms a ‘ribbon’ like trace when it runs back into the bowl.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a medium sized circular nozzle.

Pipe dollops of mixture onto the prepared baking tray. Pat down any peaks on the macarons with a wet finger. Tap the baking tray hard on your work surface a few times to remove and large air bubbles.

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Then leave the macarons to set for 45mins-1 hour before baking – this step is very important as the macarons need to form a skin before they are baked. You can check to see if they are ready by lightly touching them, they should be tacky and not stick to your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 140C.

Once ready, bake the macarons in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until they have puffed up and (hopefully!) formed feet.

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Leave to cool completely before removing from the baking tray.

Meanwhile make the filing: dissolve the espresso powder in a few tbsp of hot water. Whip up the double cream until it forms stiff peaks, then fold in the coffee mixture and 1 tbsp of icing sugar.

Spoon the filling mixture into a clean piping bad with a small circular nozzle, and pipe a circle of cream onto one macaron, place another on top, and squeeze gently to spread out the filling.

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Serve and enjoy!

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Baked Chocolate Doughnuts

Chocolate chip and vanilla doughnuts, topped with a dark chocolate ganache and chocolate sprinkles.

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One of my Christmas presents I have been itching to use is my baked doughnut kit, which came with some nice silicone moulds for making doughnuts in the oven rather than frying them!

Although I love making doughnuts the traditional way with bread dough, it does take quite a lot of time, and it’s harder to add fruit prices etc. so I really wanted to give the baked variety a go!

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I decided to start with a basic recipe as I have never baked them before, so I used this Lakeland recipe, and added milk chocolate chips and a chocolate icing.

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The doughnuts were super easy to make as the batter was a lot like a muffin mix and baking them was really really easy. They we’re really fun to ice and decorate too, so I can’t wait to try some more flavours!

I will be bringing these delicious doughnuts to Fiesta Friday #104 this week hosted by Angie and co-hosted by Mila @ milkandbunand Hilda @ Along The Grapevine. Happy Friday!

Variations: You could use white chocolate ganache instead of dark for a sweeter finish. You could also add some orange juice and zest to the doughnuts to make chocolate orange flavour.

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Ingredients: Makes 8-10 large doughnuts

  • 225g self raising flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 100g milk chocolate chips
  • 175g milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 75ml double cream

 

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To Make: 

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a doughnut pan, or silicone moulds.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt  and chocolate chips in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl whisk together the milk, eggs, olive oil and vanilla extract.

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Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix to combine to a loose batter.

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Spoon into the doughnut cases until 2-3 full.

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Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes until cooked through and golden brown.

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Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Melt the cream and chocolate together in the microwave for 30 sends at a time, until smooth and glossy.

Dip each doughnut into the ganache, smooth over and scatter over the chocolate sprinkles or hundreds and thousands.

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Serve and enjoy!

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Lemon Almandine

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I have been itching to make a tart ever since I got my new rectangular tart tin for my Birthday, and my new Pastry cookbook!

I have used a recipe for an almandine tart, but added some lemon flavourings to spice it up!

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I loved this tart, it worked so well, and tasted delicious. The pastry is lovely and crumbly, and the lemon adds a great juicy finish to the frangipane.

We just ate this as it is, but I’m sure a dollop of creme fraiche or mascarpone wouldn’t go a miss!

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I will be bringing this along to Fiesta Friday#103 this week hosted by Angie, and co-hosted by Sonal @ simplyvegetarian777 and Petra @ Food Eat Love . Happy Friday everyone!

Variations: You could use a different jam in the filling, or add some fruit into he frangipane. Raspberry would work very well!

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Ingredients: Serves 6-8

The Pastry:

  • 250g butter
  • 125g plain flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1 egg

 

The Filling:

  • 2-3tbsp lemon curd
  • 100g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g ground almonds
  • zest and juice of one lemon.
  • 2tbsp flaked almonds

 

To Make:

The Pastry:

Preheat the oven to 180C, and grease a 30m rectangular tart tin.

In a large bowl combine the flour and butter. Rub together into a fine breadcrumb like consistency. Mix in the lemon zest, juice and egg until the mixture comes together into a rough ball of dough. (You can add a little extra water or lemon juice if the dough won’t come together)

Turn out onto a clean, floured work surface and form into a rectangle. Roll out into a large rectangle, around half a centimeter thick.

Line the greased tin which the pastry sheet, pushing the pasty into the crevices of the tin. Trim off the edges and prick the bottom of the pasty win a fork.

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Weigh the pastry down with baking beans or equivalent, bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes.

Remove the baking beans and return to the oven for another 10 minutes to brown the base of the pastry.

Remove from the oven.

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The Frangipane:

Cream together the butter and sugar until pale of fluffy. Fold in the eggs one at a time, followed by the lemon zest and juice, flour and ground almonds.

Assembling:

Spoon the lemon curd into the bottom of the blind baked pasty case, and sooth out into a thin layer.

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Top with the frangipane and smooth out, then scatter over the flaked almonds.

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Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

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Remove from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.

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Transfer to a plate or cake stand to serve!

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Rhubarb & Ginger Syrup

Sweet syrup, made with fruity rhubarb and fiery ginger, perfect for cocktails!

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This is one of the first recipes I have tried from one of my new cookbooks which I got for christmas; Wild Cocktails by Lottie Muir. It is absolutely full of fantastic recipes for infusions, syrups and of course cocktails.

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I chose this syrup to make first, as it can be used in a few different cocktail recipes. The leftover rhubarb compote can be used to make a Sloe Time, and the syrup is used to make a delicious Rhubarb and Ginger Collin’s.

I have tried both these cocktails and they are really, really good, definitely the best home-made cocktails I’ve ever had!

The syrup was really easy to make,  and definitely worth the effort, so I can’t wait to try out more of the recipes!

 

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Ingredients: Makes around 500ml

  • 350g Rhubarb
  • 40g freshly grated ginger
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 250ml water
  • 1tbsp vodka (optional)

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To Make:

Place all ingredients (except the vodka in a large pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Allow to simmer for around 15-20 minutes – until the rhubarb disintegrates and becomes pulpy.

While the liquid is still piping hot, pass through a sieve into a wide mouthed jug, and then funnel into presentations bottle(s).

You can add a few slices of ginger to the bottles at this point,  if you want to make the ginger flavour stronger.

You can also add 1 tbsp of vodka to the syrup to make it last a little longer.

Store in the fridge and consume within 2-3 weeks.

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Rhubarb Collins:

  • 60ml gin
  • 60ml rhubarb and ginger syrup
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • soda water.

 

Shake up all the ingredients except the soda water, in a cocktail shaker with a few cubes of ice.

Strain to a highball glass filled with ice and top up with soda. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Stollen

Sweet enriched dough, studded with dried fruits, frangipane and chewy chunks of marzipan.

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Marzipan is one of my absolute favourite christmas treats, and if i’m not careful, I usually end up eating it all straight out of the packet before I have time to bake anything!

 

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Stollen is not something I have ever attempted to bake before, but I buy one from the shop every year, so I decided to have a go myself this year and I am so glad I did!

This tastes so much better than a shop bought stollen, mainly because it has much more filling, and the dough is amazingly soft and fluffy!

 

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I used a Richard Bertinet recipe from his ‘Crust’ cookbook which was surprisingly easy! There is a lot of waiting involved, and quite a few different components, but really once you have made the dough, its just shaping and proving until its ready to bake.

This recipe makes three very big loaves, so I have frozen one of them, to take home with me for christmas.

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I will be bringing this along to Fiesta Friday#99 this week, hosted by Angie and co-hosted by Caroline @ Caroline’s Cooking and Linda @ La Petite Paniere. Happy Friday everyone! 😀

Variations: You could change the ingredients of the filling, for example adding some chocolate chips would probably be delicious!

Ingredients: Makes 3 Large loaves

The Dough:

  • 1kg strong white bread flour
  • 20g fresh yeast
  • 400g milk, body temperature
  • 200g butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 10g salt
  • 4 eggs

 

The Filling:

  • 180g sultanas
  • 100g glace cherries
  • 200g mixed peel
  • 60g toasted flaked almonds
  • 4 tbsp rum or brandy
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 400g marzipan
  • 1 batch of frangipane

 

The Frangipane:

  • 125g butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 25g plain flour
  • 2 eggs

 

The Glaze:

  • 100g butter
  • 2 tbsp rum or brandy

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To Make:

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in a large bowl and mix to form a wet dough.

 

Turn out onto a clean work surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Return to the bowl and leave to prove for 1 1/2 hours.

 

Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients except the marzipan and frangipane, and a bowl to make the dried fruit filling.

 

Once the dough has more than doubled in size, turn out onto a clean work surface and flatten out into a large rectangle.

 

Spoon over the dried fruit filing and spread to the edges on the dough. Fold a few times to incorporate the filling, then form into a ball and return to the bowl. Leave to prove for another half hour.

 

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Meanwhile make the frangipane by creaming together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then fold in the almonds, eggs and flour until the mixture forms a smooth paste. Set aside.

 

Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface and cut into three equal pieces.

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Roll out each piece of dough, smooth side down into a rectangle about 20 x 15cm. Spread with a few tbsp of frangipane, and scatter over a few handfulls of marzipan chunks.

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Fold one of the long sides over the filling, an then the other. fold in the ends, and then lay the loaf, seam side down on a greased baking tray. Repeat for the other two loaves.

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Leave to rest for 2 hours until doubled in size, and preheat the oven to 170C.

Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until light golden brown and cooked all the way through.

Meanwhile melt the butter and rum together in a small pan to create the glaze.

Once removed from the oven, liberally coat in the glaze and dust with icing sugar.

Serve and enjoy!

 

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Christmas Cake

Rich, dark, spiced cake, filled with a mixture of sweet dried fruits and chopped nuts.

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I LOVE fruit cake – especially Christmas cake, but unfortunately I am in the minority in my family, so I’ve never really been able to justify making one. However this year I have decided that I will make one, even if I end up eating the whole thing to myself!

I’ve followed Delia’s recipe for a Classic Christmas Cake, but I have changed the fruit combination a little bit, and I have used Grand Marnier and Cointreau rather than brandy.

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I was a bit worried when I made this, that my cake tin wasn’t tall enough, but the lining of foil-backed greaseproof paper did a wonderful job!

I would recommend starting this in the morning as it takes quite a while to cook! I started at 8PM (stupidly) so I was up past midnight making this cake! Dedication!

I’m enjoying ‘feeding’ my cake every so often and I can’t wait to eat it! I will put up an updated post it is all iced and finished 😀

I will be bringing this along to Fiesta Friday#97 this week hosted by Angie. Happy Friday everyone!

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Variations: Change the combination of fruits to suit your taste!

Ingredients:

The Pre-soaking:

  • 450g mixed dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, currants, candied peel)
  • 100g dried cranberries
  • 175g glace stem ginger
  • 175g chopped glace cherries
  • 200ml Grand Marnier

The Cake:

  • 225g self raising flour
  • 1/4 of a nutmeg, grated
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 225g dark brown soft sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1tbsp black treacle
  • 225g butter
  • zest of one orange and one lemon
  • Cointreau for feeding

To Make 

Grease and side-line a 20cm cake tin with foil-backed greaseproof paper.

Preheat the oven to 140C.

Place all the dried fruits in a large bowl and submerge with the Grand Marnier. Cover and leave to soak for at least 12-16 hours.

Combine all the other cake ingredients (except the almonds) in a large bowl and mix with an electric whisk, until light and fluffy.

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Slowly add in the fruit and almonds, 1tbsp at a time until fully combined.

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Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake in the centre of the preheated oven for around 4 hours. Remove from the oven once a skewer sunk into he middle of the cake comes out clean.

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Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Poke holes in the top if the cake using a skewer and pour over a few tbsp of Cointreau.

Wrap tightly in greaseproof paper and foil and store in an airtight container. Keep feeding win Cointreau a few times a week until you are ready to ice the cake.

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