Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Happy Christmas and Cake

Midweek distraction no 10 - this is the last blog for 2010 until the new year. I wish you Happy Holidays, a Happy Christmas and successful baking. 

On a Christmas Cake Theme; I leave you with a slice of my White Christmas Cake :

And a song about a rather heavy Christmas Cake. The words and music were written by C. Frank Horn in 1883. 'Mrs Fogarty's Christmas Cake', sung and played by musician, Tom Smith, from Boston, MA, USA ( :

and a joke :

Dave’s Christmas Cake Recipe


1 cup of butter
1 cup of sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups of dried fruit
1 cup of brown sugar
2 cups flour
Lemon juice
1 bottle of brandy

Sample the brandy to check for quality. Take a large bowl. Check the brandy again. To be sure it's the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink. Repeat. Turn on the electric mixer, beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar and beat again. Make sure the brandy is still OK.

Cry another tup. Tune up the mixer. Beat two leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit. Mix on the turner. If the fired druit gets stuck in the beaterers, pry it goose with a drewscriver.

Sample the brandy to check for vonsisticity. Next, sift two cups of flour. Or something. Who cares?

Check the brandy. Now sift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Spoon the sugar or something. Whatever you can find. Grease the oven. Turn the cake tin to 350 degrees.

Don't forget to beat off the turner. Throw the bowl out of the window. Check the brandy again and go to bed. Hic.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Orange and Cranberry Port Wine Cake

A beautiful, glazed cake enhanced with soaked cranberries in Port wine and flavoured with orange and spice. It really is simple too, a very basic pound cake made with good quality organic butter and demerara sugar.
Just one thing to remember, it's the Port that 'maketh' the difference. It plumps up and adds sweetness to the cranberries. I also added a spoonful to the orange glaze. The other notable difference I found, in this recipe, the butter taste was not dominated by any of  the other flavours. Therefore, you get this lovely buttery, spiced orange, fruity taste left in your mouth during and after you've eaten it. 

A very fruity first slice.


Pre bake 2/3 days ahead:

7oz (200g) Dried Cranberries (2 bags of Crazy Jacks Organic Cranberries)
4 tbsp Port (Port wine /sweet Port, non-alcoholic suggestion; raspberry cordial)

Rinse and check over fruit for any stalks etc. Put into a small bowl with Port and cover; stir each day to plump up the fruit.


8oz (225g) Butter (Yeo Valley Organic)

8oz (225g) Demerara sugar (Raw sugar)
4  Large eggs

2 oranges
8oz (225g) Self raising four
2 tsp Ground cinnamon

Cranberries (see pre-bake info above)


4oz Demerara sugar
4 fl. oz Orange juice (the juice from the 2 oranges)
1 tbsp Port

Worth seeking out - good quality dried fruit

Preheat oven 140c/120c Fan/275F/Gas Mark 1

Grease and flour cake tin. For this recipe I used a ring tin or you could use a Bundt tin or a loaf tin.

Cream the sugar and butter together.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat well. Add the zest from the two oranges. Fold in half the flour and the cinnamon. Then coat the cranberries in the remaining flour and combine with the cake batter.  

The mixture is quite chunky so you will need to spoon it into the tin. Place into the oven.

Check after 25-30 minutes. Cook until risen and a skewer comes cleanly out. This one took 40 mins in my ring tin.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes, make sure sides of the cake are coming away from the tin and remove. Place on serving plate ready for a brushed glaze or on a cooling rack and tray for a poured glaze.

To make the glaze; use the juice from the two oranges and put in a saucepan with 4 oz demerara sugar. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time until the sugar is completely dissolved and boil for three minutes. Allow to cool for two minutes and add the tbsp Port. Brush or pour over the cake.

The cake serves at least 16 and the recipe can be halved easily. This did remind me of an English Cherry Madeira Cake which was traditionally served with Madeira wine. Although I suppose you could serve this with Port, I am firmly in the Cheese and Port Brigade and then, Tea and Cake Platoon.  So I’m off to ‘put the kettle on’….

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Chocolate Cake For Breakfast

Midweek distraction no 9 - Chocolate cake is still the theme and why not have it for breakfast? Bill Cosby doesn't see a problem here, in this classic sketch:

And if you want any more encouragement, some lyrics from Greg Lee:

'Last night I dreamed about cake for breakfast
Two big pieces just for me.
They're standing there on a paper platter
covered with a doily.'

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Chocolate Button Cake - Grown Up Style

Warning this is the richest chocolate cake on the blog so far! It started off as a little recipe experiment from a humble chocolate button cake but beware, this is a dark, dark, chocolate cake rather than the sweet confection you are all used to . Using lots of Green and Black's 70 % chocolate and topped off with dark Duchy Original Thins  on a whipped chocolate cream. Tempted?

Everyone loves chocolate buttons and chocolate cake and I guess that's why it's such a popular combination. However, there seemed to be an age limit on this so I've upscaled this for the adult palate.  I've kept the essentials; buttons and cake but added lots of real dark chocolate, alcohol and nuts and pretended to be grown up.

Ingredients :

Cake :

8oz (225g) Butter
8oz (225g) Golden caster sugar
1 tbsp Dark treacle
4 Large eggs

3oz (90g) Self raising flour
1oz (30g) of Dark cocoa powder
4oz (120g) Ground almonds

8 oz (225g)   Dark chocolate 70% – Green and Blacks - 2 bars and a bit


¼ pint (150 ml) Double cream
3 ½ oz (100g) Dark chocolate 70% – Green and Blacks
1 tbsp  Port or liqueur or add flavouring to taste

Chocolate Thins to decorate or your favourite buttons – Duchy Originals


Preheat oven to a low temperature 120c/100c Fan/250F/Gas Mark 1/2 .

Grease and line two sandwich cake tins. I like using 8 inch (20 cm) square ones to shape the cake ready for cutting smaller squares for serving later.

Cream the sugar and butter together, add the treacle and whisk in. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Fold in the flour and cocoa, and then fold in the ground almonds.  Melt the chocolate and combine well into the mix.

Divide into two cake sandwich tins. You can weigh each one to make sure you have the same weight of mixture in both, for two even bakes. Place in the centre of the oven. Check after 30 minutes, mine actually took 40 mins to cook. Cook until a skewer comes cleanly out and the sides of the cake are just coming away from the tin. Allow to cool and make topping. 

This cake is so rich it doesn’t really need a topping but just to go OTT, make this simple chocolate cream. Melt chocolate and in a separate bowl whisk the double cream until nearly thick. Add the cream to the melted chocolate one tbsp at a time and beat in. Add flavouring to taste. Spread onto both cakes. Allow to set slightly before putting on buttons.

Just to prove I’m not  mean or a snob; I made one cake without a liqueur in the chocolate cream and put milk chocolate buttons on it for my children but then, they wanted  giant buttons as well, who wouldn’t?


However, I think the giant buttons do make it look quite special and I used Duchy Originals Dark Chocolate Thins . You can vary this by adding the liqueur of your choice to the chocolate cream or simply orange juice or mint flavouring to go with the other Duchy Thins in the range shown on the link. They are available online or from Waitrose.They have a nice design on the back which you could also use as a decoration.

If you can't source these products, look for good quality dark chocolate with 70% cocoa mass. Happy Hunting!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


Midweek distraction no 8 - the Cakewalk.  I love old film archives and this one shows clips of the Cakewalk.  It has been suggested that the dance originated as a parody of the formal ballroom dancing preferred of white slave owners, including satirical exaggerations of European dance moves.
Cakewalk dance competitions were commonplace in the black community of the southern USA in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In those, couples would be judged on their style in the Cakewalk. The winners were said to have 'taken the cake'*, which was often the prize.

This clip was downloaded by . Also, if you are interested in more Cakewalk and Blues Dance history another interesting site is Sonny Watson’s .
*There is a much older possible origin to the phrase ' take the cake', going back to the ancient Greeks.  Aristophanes wrote "The Knights": "if you surpass him in impudence, then we take the cake". Throughout history it seems sometimes you just got to have...cake. Later on this week we are back to Chocolate Cake with very special 'buttons'. Watch this space.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Banana and Pecan Roulade

This week’s cake has two of my favourite ingredients in it; pecans and bananas. Then again, I have a very long list of favourites so add maple syrup and cinnamon and a filling of sweetened cream cheese, for a lightly spiced, nutty, Banana and Pecan Roulade.

For the UK, let’s just say, I meant a fatless swiss roll but doesn’t ‘roulade’ sound nicer. Also, for a change, there is a slightly different mixing technique for the fatless sponge, where the eggs are whisked separately and you have the final challenge of rolling it all up!

However, these ingredients are particularly forgiving for rolling up with the banana keeping the roll moist. Adding a nice nutty texture with pecans and the cream cheese tang you get cake similar to rolled up carrot cake.  This is quick to make and tastes better than you can buy, so have a go.



5   Large eggs
5oz (140g) Golden caster sugar

1 tbsp Maple Syrup

2  Medium size ripe bananas (8 oz/225g with the skins off)
3oz (90g) Pecans

1 tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Mixed spice
3oz (90g) Self raising flour


10oz (280g) Cream cheese
2 tbsp Maple Syrup

1 tsp Cinnamon


Icing sugar to dredge
Optional; banana slices or dried banana pieces if not serving straight away, whole pecans and some of the filling mix on the top of the roulade


I used a large baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper, 26cm x 38cm which makes 1 large sponge or cut the sponge in half, two smaller ones


Preheat oven 140c/120c Fan/300F/Gas Mark 2

In a blender (I use a Magimix with a Sabatier blade) chop up the  pecans coarsely.

Whisk the sugar and egg yolks together until pale and creamy, they should have at least doubled in size. Mash or puree the bananas and add to the mixture with the maple syrup. Sift in the flour, the spices and stir in the pecans.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff.

Ready to fold 

Gently fold the egg whites into the main mixture, trying to keep those air bubbles in.

Pour into tin and put into oven. Place in the centre of the oven. Check after 15 minutes. Cook until the sponge lightly springs back to your touch.

The roll method I use is to let the cake cool slightly, for only 5 mins max. Prepare a large piece of greaseproof paper with icing sugar sifted over it. Loosen sides of cake if necessary then turn the cake out first on to a large cooling rack or tray. This confirms that you can get the cake out of the tin.

Gently peel off the original greaseproof paper and then invert the cake onto the sugared greaseproof. You may need your hand to help you support the cake as you do this. Cover with a dampened tea cloth for 2 mins, remove tea cloth and start to roll, with the paper, into a roll.

Scary close up of the roll cooling off on the washer...
Let the cake cool completely.

For the filling, simply combine the cinnamon, maple syrup and cream cheese together. This recipe has a lightly spiced cream cheese filling only sweetened with maple syrup, very similar to a carrot cake topping.  This may not be sweet enough for some cake lovers so think about adding icing sugar now if it’s too tangy for you.

After cake has cooled, gently unroll. Keep a large tablespoon of the filling for the decoration, if desired and, spread the filling generously over the cake. Start to roll up again. Trim ends of the cake for a neat look. (Test that bit, I do.)

Place on serving dish and dredge with icing sugar for a simple and effective finish. You can also decorate the top with a band of filling and place pecan and/or bananas slices on the top, as you wish. This cake serves at least 12 people and a good slice each time, no arguments!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Extreme Cake Engineering

Midweek distraction no 7 - Moving on from last week’s Ultimate Car Cake to a Moving Building Cake! You get to play with motors, cake and paints, for an alternative career choice, meet the cake engineer and creative artist; David Cakes. David has been hard at work and play for many years creating amazing cakes but this one had an extra twist:

David was commissioned by Liverpool Biennial, to create a replica in cake of a Richard Wilson’s installation; "Turning the Place Over", in Liverpool’s city centre. The building had been radically changed whereby a section could be seen turning literally inside out. A piece of cake really! (Sorry, couldn’t resist that one.) View now:

If you are interested in more of David’s creations, please check out his site here In the meantime, I am off to do more humble things such as putting marzipan on the Christmas Cake. (Maybe, if I find that old Meccano set we could have a pop out of the chimney Santa Claus or a rotating snow scene... or maybe not.)

Friday, 5 November 2010

Chocolate Orange Cake

This Chocolate Orange Cake Recipe is part homage to the famous pairing of chocolate and orange and, to Green and Black’s Organic Cocoa Powder which is particularly rich, dark and tasty. What makes it different to most recipes is the change in texture for the topping; under the hard, dark chocolate topping is a rich, zesty, soft chocolate orange buttercreammmmmmmmmm.

Text Only Printable Recipe


Cake :

8oz (225g) Butter
8oz (225g) Golden caster sugar
4 Eggs
4oz (110g) Self raising flour
4oz (110g) of Dark cocoa powder (Green and Blacks).
1 Orange

Butter Cream Topping:

4oz (110g) Icing sugar
1 oz (30g) Cocoa powder
1 oz (30g) Butter
1 Orange

Hard Chocolate Topping

100g bar of 70% Dark chocolate (Green and Blacks).


Preheat oven 140c/120c Fan/275F/Gas Mark 1.

Grease two (2lb) loaf tins and line bottom with baking paper. This only fills the tin half way so you can use a smaller tin but I like the depth to topping ratio this gives.

This recipe is enough to make two cakes; one for you to give to a friend and pretend to be generous and, the other for your cake tin.

Cream the sugar and butter together. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Fold in the flour and cocoa. Add the zest from the orange and the juice. Divide into two loaf tins.

Place in the centre of the oven. Check after 20 minutes. Cook until risen and a skewer comes cleanly out. Allow to cool and make icing.

Simple butter cream – whisk butter, and icing sugar and cocoa powder together. Add a tbsp of the orange juice at a time until smooth enough to spread . Add orange zest for more tang. Now spread over top of cakes.

Chocolate Orange Buttercream Layer

Melt chocolate bar gently and spread over butter cream. I find doing this in two thin coats is easier. Allow to cool slightly and make knife marks on top so that the hard chocolate can be cut into easily. Not terribly attractive at this stage but I usually serve this already cut up into slices where the effect of the two textures looks good.


I enjoyed making this recipe with  Green and Black's Organic Cocoa Powder and it does taste better with a rich dark powder. Also, I would like to make this recipe with  lime zest and juice but I was out voted on the home front again. Definitely one for Chocolate Orange Lovers, or maybe there are other alcoholic possibilities Rum, Cointreau........

Did you know that Green and Blacks are looking for a taster? Applications will close on the 14th December 2010 -  click  fancy a change of job?

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Ultimate Car Cake

Midweek distraction No. 6 – Do you remember this advert for the Car Cake, or should I say, a Skoda Fabia?  Now I prefer  to watch this with the music off but it is one of my favourite TV adverts of all time, even though you have to live with the disappointment that it was not actually 'deemed' edible for Health and Safety reasons due to the studio conditions (and suspiciously nobody even licked their fingers?)

It seems that the Car Cake was  'scrapped' at the East London Community Recycling Project in Clapton, a project set up to provide local residents and members with quality compost for use on their gardens or allotments. Some of my cake experiments have had to meet a similar end, although most can be rescued, with the help of a liberal soaking of alcohol in a trifle or two…

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Tangy Parkin Ginger Cake

This is a nice light Parkin with a tangy orange hint which starts off sticky and gets better and stickier IF you can leave it for a few days. It is also goes well with beer; a nice dark ale or a strong cup of tea. Traditionally served on bonfire night, if you make it now it will be perfect!

Text Only Printable Recipe


4oz (110g) Butter
4oz (110g) Soft dark brown sugar
2 tbsp Black treacle (Molasses)
2 tbsp Medium or Bitter marmalade

7oz (200g) Plain flour
3oz (90g) Oats
1tsp Ground ginger
½ tsp Mixed spice
2tsp Bicarbonate of soda

1 Egg
4 tbsp Milk




Preheat oven 140c/120c Fan/275F/Gas Mark 1.

Grease an 8 inch (20cm) square tin and line it with baking paper.

Gently heat the butter, sugar and treacle together, until butter has melted and combine with the marmalade. Stir into the dry ingredients. Add the egg and milk to the mixture and put into tin.

Check after 40 minutes. Cook for a further 20-30 minutes.  Ginger cakes can burn very easily so keep a check towards the end of the cooking time. Cook until risen and a skewer comes cleanly out.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes, make sure the sides of the cake are coming away from the tin and remove.  Brush the top with some warmed marmalade.

Now here’s one of our regular problems; it tastes pretty good the next day, but I repeat, it will taste really good and stickier if you wrap it and leave it for at least three days. 


An apology to anyone from Yorkshire for calling this a ‘Parkin Ginger Cake’ but for my international friends and relatives ‘Parkin’ didn’t translate that well.  My spell checker has been trying to change it to 'Parking' all week…

Meanwhile this is a variation and it is very light on the oats but they are an essential part of the ingredients for me. I hope you enjoy the tangy orange  hint with the ginger, one of my favourite flavour combinations.  If you are interested in the history of Parkin click *here* .

And while I was thinking about Yorkshire :

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Cake - Love You Madly

Midweek distraction No. 5 -  CAKE is an American alternative rock band from Sacramento, California. More info

A slice of their style for now:

I was asked this week if I used a favourite recipe book and the answer is 'sort of', more of an eclectic mix of books and ideas.  I cooked from a Good Housekeeping Compendium when I was very young and looked longingly at all the pictures in their garish 60's colouring. I used it so much that when it fell apart I bought another copy, same era, for nostalgic purposes of course!

As a teenager, I had a modern version of the Complete Cook, in magazine format which had brilliant pictures as well as some 'step by step' instructions. I also had a very traditional high school teacher who taught us all the basics and a 'free rein' in the kitchen at home.

Now I like food blogs due to their picture content and often flick through the image section of Google to see what's out there.  However, I do have a copy of Molly Keane's 'Nursery Cooking' which has no real food photography at all but has been well used and a Mrs Beetons.

I have a photographic memory for recipes but strangely enough not on any other subject.  I also like to take my taste buds on tour and collect recipes from all over the world.

I am sorry that I can not recommend one or two books and there are no Amazon sales here then, as most of the above are out of print! Perhaps this is a future project. Current favourite recipe book suggestions would be welcome.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Chestnut and Coffee Cake

This week’s cake is a subtle blend of chestnut flavours over four layers with a sweet coffee ‘kick’ inside. It’s quite a grown up cake; with a nutty texture, layered with sweetened chestnut puree, a strong central coffee cream and covered in a light coffee butter cream.

It's different to a standard coffee and walnut cake; what you get is far more subtle and sweet.  I would recommend this rich cake with a cup of coffee, a sunny autumn day and at least 15 minutes of daydreaming.

Prebake week – When you purchase your ingredients decide whether to make your own marrons glacé, purchase or leave them off the top altogether. I found them useful for portion control (!), as well as decoration. You should get 16 slices of cake from this recipe.  I enjoyed using the steeping method where you just left the cooked chestnuts in their boiled syrup overnight. Reboil again and leave to dry and, for this cake, I put them on the next day when they had cooled. There are lots of recipes on the net to try; I don’t know why we pay such high prices for these in the UK, have a go, it’s really easy.

8oz (225g)  Butter
8oz (225g)  Golden caster sugar
4                     Large eggs
8oz (225g)  Self raising flour
2 tsp              Instant coffee dissolved in a tbsp of hot water or
                        coffee essence
7oz (200g)  Cooked chestnuts

For the Icings:

Chestnut Icing
4oz (110g)  Chestnut finely ground (3oz – 90g if using tinned
8oz (225g)  Icing sugar

Dark Coffee Icing
1oz (25g)     Butter
4oz (110g)   Icing sugar
2tsp               Instant of coffee/or less but go for the stronger
                       contrast taste dissolved in 2 tsps of hot water

Light Coffee Icing
3oz  (90g)    Butter
12oz(340g)  Icing sugar
1 tsp               Coffee essence (or instant coffee dissolved in water.)
                         Water – add a little at a time to achieve a spreadable
Preheat oven to a moderate temperature 160c/140c Fan/325F/Gas Mark 3. If you find your cakes are browning too quickly turn down another 20 degrees.
Grease 2 sandwich cake tins, if you want to cut the cakes in half, for your four layers or grease four tins and divide mix up accordingly. I like using my false bottom 7 inch cake tins and I add greaseproof paper at the bottom as well.
In a blender (I use a Magimix with a Sabatier blade) chop up the chestnuts into small pieces. Put to one side.
Cream the sugar and butter together, whisk in the eggs one at a time. Fold in the flour, and then fold in the chestnuts

The prickly beasty on the side is the real McCoy, a chestnut from our woods but if that is not for you; go to Porter Foods, which are also stocked at Waitrose.
Divide into two cake sandwich tins or four tins. You can weigh each one to make sure you have the same weight of mixture in each one for even bakes. Place in the centre of the oven. Check after 15-20 minutes. Cook until risen and a skewer comes cleanly out. Allow to cool and make icing.

Lovely chestnut texture showing through.
Take the 3 types of icing ingredients and make each one separately.  If you have used two cakes cut them in half and spread the centre with the Chestnut Icing. Put cakes on separate plates. On one of them spread the Dark Coffee Icing and place the other half on top. 
Tips: If you have cut into fresh cake you will find it quite crumbly to ice, simply place these in the freezer when cool, for 10 minutes before you want to ice them, helps firm up the outside. For a smoother finish you can use 4 tins.

Spread the second layer with the Dark Coffee Icing

Now you are ready to coat the whole cake with the Light Coffee Icing.  Decorate with marrons glacé or as desired.


I found many recipes that used the traditional chestnut substitute for flour but I wanted more of an Austrian layer type of cake suitable for decorating.
I also experimented with the mix just using chestnut puree but found that it was not as interesting as having the chestnut pieces in the texture. The cake is very simple to make but give yourself time to make the icings, as the contrasts in light and strong flavours are the key to this original recipe.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Love Cake or Lurv Cake

Midweek distraction No. 4 – ‘Love Cake’ song by cake creative, writing duo, Rocky and Balls; aka Hannah-Rei and Sophie Madeleine. Good luck with the new album!

Yes, I am aware that some of the songs I have featured do have a double entendre but we’ll pretend it’s just about cake for now….

Also, food bloggers hazard no.2 Butter on the lens, see photo below.

However, you can still see the large strawberry in this slice, well it tasted delicious and it brings us back to food bloggers hazard no.1 Testing.  This weekend I am going to publish and test of course, the recipe for the Chestnut and Coffee Cake. It is a lot more work than a simple Victoria Sponge but well worth the effort.  And to eat it you do need a fork (apparently….)

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Honey Buns and Honey Cake

Take your taste buds back to simpler times; honey and butter for afternoon tea. Warm honey buns straight from the oven or slices of golden honey cake with butter. Sample the changes in texture and aroma, research never tasted so good!

I went back to basics and made a simple honey cake, ha! My honey buns came out a treat but since I didn’t put baking parchment around the tin, or grease and flour, the 1st cake  is now in the ‘Outtakes Box’ and not for public show since getting it out of the tin left a lot stuck on the edges....  I don’t know why I find this bit so difficult.  It’s only preparation and cutting the greaseproof to size but there you go.  Here is how it should turn out 2nd time around:

Text Only Printable Recipe


Cake :
8oz (225g) Butter
4oz (110g) Golden caster sugar
4oz (110g) Thick set honey
4  Large eggs
8oz (225g) Self raising flour
Honey to glaze.


Preheat oven 140c/120c Fan/300F/Gas Mark 2*

Grease a loaf tin and line it with baking paper, grease with butter and dust with flour. For this recipe I made three testing muffins and put the rest in a 2 lb loaf tin.

Cream the sugar and butter together and add the honey and mix. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well. Sift and then fold in the flour. Put into cake cases/tin or both and place in oven.

Check after 15 minutes. Take muffins/small cakes out if done and keep cake in for an extra 30-35 minutes subject to your oven temperature and if you have split the mixture; you will have a smaller loaf and a shorter cooking time. Remember; cook until risen and a skewer comes cleanly out. * If you make a large cake using a loaf tin I had the oven even lower by another 20 degrees and in for another 15 minutes to stop it over browning.

Brush the top of buns and cake with more honey while still warm.

                             Hudnalls Apiaries  

A nice set honey like this one, just warm slightly before brushing on cakes. 

You should have light fluffy buns; eat whilst warm with a large cup of tea and think of summer. Let the loaf cool slightly and remove from tin. Wrap and hide in the tin until at least the next day. Cut into thin slices and spread with butter for afternoon tea.

I came across a variation of this recipe which was a honey ginger cake and the main difference; chopped preserved ginger had been added and it was given a honey and ginger glaze. Very nice but I felt that the ginger overpowered the honey. However, you could have both - add pieces of finely chopped preserved ginger in some of the small cakes and have honey cake and, honey and ginger buns. Finis.

For Interest

Honeybuns is the lovely name of a bakery which bakes handmade, award winning gluten- and wheat-free cakes, some of which are also dairy-free. Available by mail order from their online shop and from cafes, delis, farm shops, supermarkets and their own Bee Shack Cafe in Dorset

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Eddie Izzard's Cake or Death

Cake Distractions No. 3.  I really should make these into a separate page.  Anyway, before I rush off to the big city this morning for those who want a mid-week distraction on cake, here is Eddie Izzard's Cake or Death sketch? Silly question I know....

Cake for me, of course - next blog will be Honey Buns and Honey Cake, honey.

Monday, 11 October 2010

White Christmas Cake

It’s Christmas according to our local shops all mixed up with Halloween. But it did remind me to get prepared for my Christmas Cake, now is the time to soak your fruit in brandy or a spirit of your choice!
This White Christmas Cake has distinct flavours of apricot, fine cut citrus peel and juicy sultanas, almonds and a generous amount of mixed spice, all infused with brandy.
Here's a ‘naked’ cake (decorate it as you desire) cut into, to show the lighter fruit and mixture.  

Text Only Printable Recipe

Pre bake week ahead:
8oz (225g) Sultanas
6oz (170g) Dried apricots
4oz (110) Candied citrus peel (fine cut)
All soaked in Brandy (½ cup)

Rinse and check over fruit for any stalks etc. Put into a small bowl with brandy and cover, stir each day to plump up the fruit.

White fruit mix above and compare this to a traditional mix. (They both look lovely to me.)

Cake :

8oz (225g) Butter
8oz (225g)Golden caster sugar
4  Large eggs
8oz (225g) Plain flour
2 tsp Mixed spice
2oz (55g) Ground almonds
4oz (110g) Flaked almonds


Preheat oven 140c/120c Fan/275F/Gas Mark 1

Grease cake tin. I like using a round 7 x 4 inch tin and I add greaseproof paper all around and cut a piece for the top to stop overbrowning.

Cream the sugar and butter together, add the  eggs one at a time and beat well. Fold in the flour and mixed spice. Pour any excess brandy juices into the cake mix and stir.  Pour the ground almonds over the fruit and stir gently, coating the fruit. Finally fold the fruit and almonds into the cake mix and put into cake tin and into the oven.

The cake takes about 3 hours to cook but check after 1 hour and add your extra greaseproof top to stop the top from overbrowning, reduce oven temperature; 120c/100c Fan/250F/Gas Mark ½ . These cakes take longer to cook due to the height/depth of the cake. Cook until a skewer comes cleanly out.
Inverted cake ready for brandy.

Allow to cool and start ‘feeding’ with brandy. To do this prick over base with a fork, pour brandy over; about 2 tbsp on the top and the following week turn cake over and repeat. Feed cake like this at least a week apart and twice more before icing.

For a traditional cake with slightly more fruit to cake ratio then Delia’s your girl:

I used to follow an old recipe with glacé pineapple but it was pretty tasteless.  Get the best candied citrus peel and finely chop, it should remind you of orange and lemon tang, not the hard tasteless bits which seem to be mainly candied pith you get in cheaper versions. Waitrose have a very good Italian brand and Crazy Jack do an organic one.


A Large Slice 
What I really like about my white fruit cake is that  it makes a nice contrast to all the dark fruit already in mince pies and Christmas pudding. The photo shows the fruit and nuts in a rather large slice but I had to cut into it to show you, didn’t I? mmmmmm.....

So much for the old sugarcraft days - how lazy can you get ?- just a few silver balls, can't wait to get my teeth into that.  Marzipaned and iced in November.

Product tasting started 1st December!


Background Artwork by Amy and Lars Heeren, the Netherlands.