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Marzipan for Christmas cake

7 Dec

I know there are so many ways to marzipan a cake and everyone has their preferred method. I use a method that is brilliant for any sort of icing whether you’re going for a traditional Royal icing or more modern sugar paste!

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Ingredients:
500-1kg Marzipan
5-6tbsp Apricot jam heated

I used a 12 inch cake drum(thick cake board)

Estimated time: 20 minutes

Directions:

To start off with you need to trim your cake making sure it’s level, this might not take much as the cake levels out quite a lot while cooking πŸ™‚ for mine I only had to trim some of the fruit on top πŸ™‚

Once level roll a thin sausage of marzipan long enough to go around the edge of your cake.

Using a pastry brush spread a small amount of the heated jam around the edge before placing the marzipan sausage around the very edge. Once positioned gently press the marzipan down with your thumb roughly every inch around so that it’s stuck.

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Carefully take the cake and turn it over so the marzipan is on the bottom and place it in the middle of your cake board and press down so the cake is stuck. As you press down on the cake the marzipan will squish out at the bottom. Flatten this with a palette knife or cake smoother (if you have one!) and then trim the excess off this will cover any gaps so you cake is airtight πŸ™‚

Now take your cake tin and draw around the bottom so you have the size or the top of your cake. You can just use string to get the width and length but this is a lot easier!! Take a large handful of the marzipan and mould it into a rough circle before rolling it. Keep turning the marzipan a quarter each time so it stays in a circle shape. Roll it out to the size of the circle you cut out.

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Brush the top of your cake with apricot jam before carefully placing your marzipan on top. I find it easier to fold one edge of the marzipan back over the rolling pin so you can pick it up by the pin, without it sticking to itself and loosing shape! Once placed on the cake you can roll the marzipan out to the edges if it’s a bit small. If too long carefully trim the edges.

Now the sides, if you have any dents fill them with a bit of marzipan so it’s nice and flat. Like before with the cake tin you want to measure the height an width of the sides this time. It doesn’t have to be perfect but the length needs to be a bit over so you know you won’t be short!

Now with the rest of the marzipan roll it into a sausage roughly the same size as your rolling pin.

Lightly dust your surface with icing sugar before you start to roll. I started with the width,once you’ve roughly got the width you can then roll length aways until your marzipan is long enough.

Trim both ends so they’re straight and trim the height if needs be. Now brush the sides of your cake with the apricot jam making sure it’s all covered.

Roll the marzipan gently back on itself so you have a small roll of it. Take the end of the marzipan and place the edge straight against the cake. Now you can gently un roll the marzipan, keeping it straight against the cake.

At the end you will have a bit left over, using a sharp knife cut through the marzipan where the two ends overlap. Peel the underneath bit of marzipan off and stick the top bit down in its place giving you a perfect join!

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Finally you need to smooth the cake and join the edges with the top. You can use either a cake smoother or your hands for this! Once smooth cover with tin foil and leave for at least a day before icing.

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Christmas Cake

28 Nov

It might seem a bit early to make this now but once you’ve made it, covered it with marzipan, then iced it with royal icing or sugar paste and finally decorated it you’ll be way into December! So now is definitely the time! This is my mums family recipe passed down from mums to daughters for generations and I will do the same πŸ™‚

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Ingredients:
227g Sultanas
454g Currants
227g Raisins
116g Dates
118g Mixed peel
117g GlacΓ© Cherries
114g Chopped blanched almonds
80ml/ 1/8pt Brandy
227g Butter
227g Muscovado sugar
230g Plain flour
1tsp Mixed spice
1 Lemon zest and juice
4 Eggs

Directions:

Firstly weigh all of your dried fruits into a bowl with your mixed peel and chopped blanched almonds. I would half the glacΓ© cherries so they can be evenly mixed through the cake! Give this mix a rough stir before pouring the brandy over. Ideally you want to leave this bowl covered with a tea towel over night, but if you’re in a rush then about three hours will suffice πŸ™‚

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Now weigh your butter and Muscovado sugar into another bowl and cream together until light and fluffy. Obviously as this is dark sugar it will not go as light as normal but there will be a very obvious change in colour!

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Once the butter and sugar have been creamed together slowly mix in the eggs, making sure they are fully mixed in before adding the next. The mix will curdle at this point but don’t worry, once the flour is added it will come together.

Now fold the flour in in roughly three parts, making sure that each part is folded in completely before the next.

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Now to line the tin…this is more fiddly than normal cakes! First you’ll need some string, measure the string around the tin and mark a small bit over so there is some extra room. With this string measure the length of great proof paper, you want to trim the top so it will be a few inches above the tin edges. Once this is measured, draw around the bottom of the tin on another piece of greaseproof.

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Fold the bottom of the paper up about an inch and cut tabs all along the bottom. Now carefully place the paper into the greased tin and arrange it so that the tabs fold into the middle and you can press the sides out so it’s stuck to the tin.

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Once the sides are lined place the circle paper in the bottom so every bit of the tin is covered.

Take your dried fruit and give them a rough stir before folding them into the cake mix. Make sure you add in the lemon juice and zest as well, once all mixed pour into the cake tin and smooth the top.

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Now you need some brown parcel paper, or if needs be you can use a wider bit of greaseproof paper. Measure the length using the string from earlier and cut a bit extra so it will definitely fit round. This time you don’t need to fold the bottom or cut it you just have to wrap it around the outside of the tin and tie it tight with the string.

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Place this doubly wrapped cake into the oven and bake at 180c for 3 and 1/4 hours. Once the cake is ready the top will be browned and a skewer will come out clean, place on a cooling wrack to cool. Once it’s cooled take it out of the tin and wrap it in greaseproof followed by tin foil and leave for a few days before trying to marzipan it!

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This cake smells amazing and will make you want to eat it as soon as it’s out of the oven! It’s such a tease having to leave it for a few days but it is so worth it, this cake finished for Christmas is just amazing! I hope you love this cake, you can always use it for any other occasion cake you want!!

Toffee Apple Cake

9 Nov

My last taste of Halloween! This cake takes you back to eating toffee apples on Halloween with friends and family. This is a wonderfully soft apple cake smothered in sweet sticky toffee going together brilliantly! This cake says bye to Halloween but embraces autumn and leads nicely on to the festive spirit!!!

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Ingredients:
5 Bramley apples
1 Lemon juiced
50g Caster sugar
150g Caster sugar
1tsp Vanilla essence
5 Eggs
300g Plain flour
1tsp Baking powder
150g Melted butter

62g Butter
30ml Semi skimmed milk
112g Muscovado sugar

Estimated time: 60 minutes

Directions:

Weigh your 50g of caster sugar into a large bowl. Squeeze the lemon juice into this bowl. To make sure you don’t get any pips in the sugar place a sieve over the bowl to catch them, or you can squeeze the juice out into a separate bowl πŸ™‚ stir these together and set aside.

Now peel your apples, if you don’t have Bramley (cooking) apples then Grannysmiths will be fine. You don’t want anything to sweet or you’ll loose the flavour while it cooks! Once peeled cut the apples into quarters and cut the core out. Roughly chop the apple pieces into bite size chunks before adding them to the lemon and sugar mix. Give them a stir to make sure they’re all covered as the lemon juice will stop the apples oxidising and going brown, give them a stir every so often πŸ™‚

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Now weigh the rest of the caster sugar into a mixing bowl and slowly stir in the melted butter.

To this stir in the vanilla and then mix in the eggs one at a time. Make sure they are well mixed in before adding the next. This will make it a lighter orange πŸ™‚

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Weigh your flour and baking powder together before carefully folding this into your sugar. Try not to knock any air out, but be careful so you’re not left with lumps!

Now pour your apples and all the lemon juice into your mixing bowl and fold these in before pouring the cake mix into a lined tin.

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Bake the cake at 180c for 35-40minutes until the top is nice and gold and a skewer comes out clean. Allow this to cool slightly in its tin before putting on a serving plate.

While the cake is cooling weigh your butter, milk and Muscovado into a saucepan.

Slowly heat this until everything melts. Once melted bring it all up to the boil and stir constantly for 3 minutes.

When the 3minutes is up pour your toffee on top of your cake making sure all of it’s covered!

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Now cut and enjoy!! This sticky moist apple cake is so amazingly tasty and a wonderful end to Halloween! Everyone will love this cake it’s so more-ish and delicious as a pudding with cream or cold with a nice mug of tea πŸ™‚ enjoy everyone!!!

Soul Cakes

31 Oct

These are really tasty treats which are traditional Halloween cakes. They were originally from the Celtic festival of Samhain where they were baked and left on the doorstep with milk or wine for the departed! The next day the children and poor would dance and beg for the treats, this then because trick or treat!!

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Ingredients:
375g Plain flour
2tsp Ground nutmeg
2tsp Mixed spice
185g Butter
180g Sultanas
1 Egg
125ml Milk

300g White chocolate
400-500ml Double cream

Estimated time: 50 minutes

Directions:

Weigh all of your dry ingredients into a bowl with the butter. Rub this together until the mix resembles bread crumbs πŸ™‚

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Once crumbs have been reached stir in your sultanas before making a well in the middle of the bowl.

Pour your milk and egg into the well and carefully mix together. Mix this until firm dough forms, this not be too stick and you’ll find that it won’t stick to your fingers!

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Spoon this dough onto lined trays using tablespoons, make sure you leave them spaced apart. Once all the mix is spooned onto the trays you can shape them into rough ghost shapes, don’t worry if they don’t look too much like ghosts as they will spread a bit while cooking!

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Bake these in the oven at 220c for 10-15 minutes until kind of puffed up and golden brown. Allow them to cool down on a rack.

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Meanwhile the ganache. Weigh your white chocolate into a bowl. Pour half of the cream into another microwaveable bowl and heat it until boiling hot. Once hot enough pour the cream on top of your chocolate and stir in, the chocolate should all melt, if not then simply heat up more cream and stir it in until you’re left with a nice smooth paste.

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Now spoon your ganache over all of your ghosts, the ganache will get thicker as it cools down! Once covered you can decorate your ghosts giving them fun spooky faces!

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And now enjoy!! These are such tasty things, a mix between biscuits and scones a treat to be enjoyed by everyone on this spooky day! Hope you all love these and have a spooky Halloween!!!

Baked Pumpkin Cheesecake

16 Oct

Finally pumpkins are in England!!!! I love these funky vegetables so under used and to be honest I feel not many people really know how to use them, or what to put them in. But not anymore, I’m going to try and make as many different things as I can before they go out of season again :p firstly this cheesecake is a wonderful pudding for all of the family, brilliant for autumn evenings in front of a fire πŸ™‚

BakedPumpkinCheesecake

Ingredients:
250g Digestive biscuits
100g Butter, melted
1/2tsp Ground cinnamon
1/2tsp Ground nutmeg

700g Cream cheese
120g Caster sugar
1tsp Ground cinnamon
1tsp Ground nutmeg
3 Eggs
250g Pumpkin

Estimated time: 70 minutes

Directions:

First let’s tackle the pumpkin. These are not easy to chop and peel so be careful. I find it easiest to cut out the stalk like you would if you were making a lantern. Scoop out all of the stringy bits and the seeds (keep the seeds for toasting if you like!), now carefully cut the whole pumpkin in half and then each half into quarters. Then once again cut these into smaller pieces.

Now with the nice small pieces of pumpkin carefully cut the peel off taking as little of the flesh as possible. Be careful not to cut your fingers!! Once peeled dice up the cubes and weigh out 250g (if more don’t worry!) onto a lightly oiled (veg oil) baking tray before placing in the oven at 160c and roasting for 10-15 minutes. Give them a mix around about halfway through. Once they are cooked (when you can pierce with and fork and the flesh is soft, or you can eat a piece) take them out and allow to cool down.

While the pumpkin pieces are cooling weigh your biscuits into a bowl and bash with a rolling pin until you’re left with crumbs πŸ™‚ to this mix in your spices and stir in your melted butter. Once mixed well spoon the crumbs into a lined loose bottom tin and press to the edges, try to get it as flat as you can. Once you’ve done this, put to one side.

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In a bowl weigh your cream cheese, caster sugar and the spices. Mix these together with a wooden spoon until the sugar is mixed in and it’s roughly the same consistence as thick cream.

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Beat your eggs together before carefully stirring them into your cheese mix. Make sure it’s all well mixed in.

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Now your pumpkins purΓ©e, scrape your cooked pumpkin into a large bowl and mash until you have the consistency you want. I left a few lumps as I wanted people to be able to tell what was in the cheesecake straight away, just by looking!

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Once your pumpkin is mashed fold it into your cheese cake mix and then pour it on top of your biscuit base! Place you cheese cake into the oven (still at 160c) and bake for 35-40 minutes. When the cakes cooked the edges will be light golden and the middle will have a slight wobble.

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Either serve this cake hot or cold. If you have it warm then the filling will be softer so not as neat to cut! Your family and friends will all love this. It’s a brilliant way to use pumpkin that people will not expect!!! This is a bit of a fiddly recipe but it’s so worth it, also you can save your leftover pumpkin ready peeled for future use!! Hope you all enjoy this, and I hope you all try experimenting with pumpkin and love the results as much as me and my family!!!

Corn Dog Muffins

12 Oct

These are a favourite in America, I’ve never tried them before, but this was the year! I finally ‘manned’ up and tried out my recipe, with help from my brother in America :p these are a wonderful mix of sweet and savoury which is not done too often in England, but with the right ratio of flavour they are amazing!

CorndogMuffins

Ingredients:
100g Melted butter
60g Caster sugar
2 Eggs
150g Cornmeal
245g Plain yoghurt
175g Plain flour
1/2tsp Salt
10 Frankfurters

Estimated time: 35 mins

Directions:

These are possibly the easiest from of muffins I have ever made! Start off by weighing all of your dry ingredients into a large bowl. To this add your sausage chopped up into small bite size pieces and stir together so that the sausages are all coated.

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In a separate bowl weigh your yoghurt, eggs and caster sugar together and gently whisk together. Once carefully mixed stir in the melted butter until it’s combined.

Now carefully fold your dry ingredients into the wet making sure you’re not left with any huge lumps.

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Spoon the mix into muffin cases and bake at 180c for 10-15 minutes until the muffin mix is a nice golden brown. Enjoy these while they’re nice and hot πŸ™‚

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And enjoy!! Did I not say these were easy?! These are a really fun quirky muffins that will keep the family happy for as long as it lasts!! These will bring part of America into your home! Enjoy πŸ™‚

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