Tag Archives: cherries

Christmas cake

Lottie’s Christmas Cake

Lottie’s Christmas Cake

My blog has seen two Christmases now and here are some of the Christmas bakes I have posted so far: Lebkuchen – wonderful soft, spiced German biscuits. Christmas Cupcakes – decorated with snowflakes, holly, bows and glitter. Mince Pies – a Christmas favourite with cranberries. Chocolate Yule Log – a must have at Christmas. Orange Kugelhopf Cake – a German orange cake perfect for Christmas. Gingerbread house – this has to be done every year! Stollen – fruity bread with marzipan inside, a favourite this time of year.

This year I will be posting a few of my own Christmas recipes including Christmas Cake, Almond and Orange mince pies and German stollen. The first thing that has to be made though is the Christmas Cake, if you haven’t made yours yet then make sure you do very soon as you need plenty of time to feed it with alcohol before decorating it. My Christmas Cake is packed with  my favourite dried fruits including raisins, apricots and figs, as well as plenty of my favourite glacé cherries. It is lightly spiced and subtly flavoured with almond extract and chopped almonds. This recipe will make one large 8 inch cake, although I split mine to make a 6 inch cake and a couple of miniature cakes to give as gifts. I will be posting soon on ways to decorate your Christmas Cake with fruit and nuts and with marzipan and icing. Now time to get baking!

Christmas cake

For this Christmas cake you will need (makes 1 8 inch cake):

500g currants
180g sulatanas
180g raisings
75g glace cherries halved
50g chopped dried apricots
50g chopped dried figs
50g mixed peel
7 tbsp brandy
50g chopped almonds
pinch salt
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
225g unsalted butter
100g light soft brown sugar
125g dark soft brown sugar
4 eggs
1 tbsp black treacle
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
1/4 tsp almond extract

Start 12 hours before you want to bake the cake. Put all of the dried fruit including cherries and mixed peel into a large bowl and add the brandy. Mix well, cover and leave for 12 hours.

Once the fruit has been soaked you can make the cake. Preheat the oven to 140C. Grease and line a cake tin. In a large bowl whisk the butter and sugars together. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well. Gently fold the flour, salt and spices in. Now add all of the fruit, along with the nuts, treacle, zest and almond extract and fold together.

Dried fruit

Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and bake at 140C. If you have made an 8 inch cake this will take approx 4 hours. A 6 inch cake will take approx 3 hours. Keep an eye on the cake and if it starts to brown to quickly put a double circle of greaseproof paper on top of it. The cake will be done when a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan for half an hour before removing it and leaving on a wire rack to cool.

cake

Once the cake has cooled use a skewer to make small holes over the top of the cake, drizzle a couple of spoons of brandy over the top of the cake. Wrap it up and store in an airtight container. Keep feeding it with brandy like this every few days until you come to ice it.

Feed cake with brandy

Happy Christmas Baking!

Lottie xx

Shortbread

Chocolate, Cherry and Almond Shortbread

Chocolate, Cherry and Almond Shortbread

I thought that after exams I would have tons of time to bake but I seem to have found a million and one other things to fill up my time with and I still have lots to tick off my list! I’m pretty happy right now, for those of you that don’t know, I recently found out I passed medical school and I am finally a doctor! It is finally time for me to join the real world and stop being an eternal student. To celebrate this and then end of a long 6 years at University my lovely sister sent me an absolutely huge bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, and to make it even better it was personalised too! I have included a picture of it at the end of this post. This also means that everything I am baking at the moment involves Dairy Milk, this shortbread being one such example. This shortbread actually includes 3 of my favourite ingredients, hence why I created this recipe, if anyone else loves chocolate, can eat glacé cherries like sweets and loves anything almond flavoured, then this is the recipe for you!

Shortbread

 

To make this chocolate, cherry and almond shortbread you will need (this will make about 15 biscuits):

125g icing sugar
220g plain flour
125g cornflour
225g unsalted butter
100g milk chocolate
100g glace cherries
1tsp Almond Extract
Flaked almonds

Ingredients

 

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a large baking tray. Sift the icing sugar, flour and cornflour into a bowl. Add the cubed butter to this and use your fingers to mix it all together, creating something that looks like a crumble topping. Alternatively you can use a food processor for this. Break or cut the chocolate into small chunks and halve the glace cherries. Add the chocolate, cherries and almond extract to the shortbread mix and incorporate well. Now bring the mixture into a dough, it will be crumbly but will come together. Wet your fingers to help you do this if you need to. Put the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it gently to bring it together. Carefully roll out the do to about 5mm thickness and use a round cutter to cut out discs of shortbread.

Dough

Place these onto the greased baking tray. The biscuits will spread slightly as they cook so make sure there is space in between each of the discs. Sprinkle the biscuits with the flaked almonds. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, keep an eye on them and take them out as soon as they start to turn golden brown. Leave them on the baking tray to cool and firm up. Sprinkle the biscuits with caster sugar before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Then you can enjoy!

Biscuits

 

Lottie xx

And here is the amazing bar of chocolate I was talking about!

Dr Verrill chocolate

 

Edit:

I have entered these into November’s We Should Cocoa Challenge – the theme is cookies!

This is hosted by BakeNQuilt and Chocolate Log Blog.

we should cocoa

Almond Breeze Challenge

Dairy Free Cherry and Almond Banana Breakfast Bread with Cherry Jam – Almond Breeze

Cherry and Almond Breakfast Bread made with Almond Breeze’s Almond Milk

Almond Breeze at Blue Diamond Almonds has given 30 food bloggers  through Foodies100 the challenge of creating a breakfast recipe using their almond milk and I was recently sent a carton of unsweetened Almond Breeze to see what I could come up with. I have never tried almond milk before and wasn’t sure what to expect, I am however a huge fan of almonds, so this sounded like something that I would like!  The unsweetened almond milk is very low calorie and has no added sugars, it is a great alternative to soya or dairy milk and is a good source of calcium. I also found that it is really easy to use in baking as a replacement for cow’s milk. It worked really well. With the chance to win a Gourmet Hotel Stay this competition was something I didn’t want to miss!

I remember going out for breakfast once and ordering coconut banana bread with lime marmalade. It was delicious and made me realise just how good banana bread is for breakfast, because of this I decided to come up with a banana bread recipe using Almond Breeze. As I would use Almond Breeze as a milk substitute I decided to make the banana bread completely dairy free and used a dairy free spread as a replacement for butter too. I also used wholemeal flour in the loaf to make it more of a breakfast bread rather than a cake.

My favourite flavour to pair with almonds is cherry. I think cherry and almond just go beautifully together, I used the combination for my Jubilee cake that I made recently. Cherry and almond is definitely up there with chocolate and orange! So when I hear the word almond, I automatically think of cherries and that is how this banana bread came to be a cherry and almond banana loaf, I used ground almonds to enhance the almond flavour. To finish it off I made a quick cherry jam for those who like a bit of sweetness at breakfast time!

You all know how much I love my 1M Nozzle for creating lovely swirls on my cupcakes. Well now I can honestly say I love it even more having come across an ingenious way of using the 1M nozzle to pit cherries! Let me tell you that it is fantastic! And you do need to stone quite a few cherries to make this. I didn’t realise how much I could love a nozzle.

So, to make this Dairy Free Cherry and Almond Banana Bread using Almond Breeze:

You will need:

160g plain flour
80g wholemeal flour
40g ground almonds
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp baking powder
100g dairy free spread (I used a dairy free olive spread)
120g caster sugar
2 eggs
3 bananas
150ml Almond Breeze unsweetened Almond Milk
120g stoned cherries (quartered)
flaked almonds to finish

Start by creaming together the spread and the sugar and then add the eggs one at a time. Mash the bananas and add to the mix along with the Almond Breeze almond milk. Mix will. Add the flours, ground almonds, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and cherries to the mixture and combine everything together. To prevent the cherries from sinking coat them in flour before adding them to the mix.

Pour the mixture into a greased and lined loaf tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for about an hour. Half way through cooking sprinkle some flaked almonds on the top of the loaf. The cake is done when a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool slightly (although this loaf is very nice served warm!)

To make the quick cherry jam:

200g stoned whole cherries
juice of half a lemon
50ml water
100g caster sugar

Put the cherries in a pan with the lemon and water and let it bubble away for about 10 minutes. Add the sugar, stir and continue to let the cherries simmer until the mixture starts to reduce. Take off the heat and allow to cool.

 

Serve the warm loaf sliced with cherry jam. Enjoy your rather yummy breakfast!

 

Thanks to Almond Breeze for sending me the almond milk for this recipe, I am very pleased I have now discovered almond milk!

Lottie xx

Please leave a comment below, I appreciate every comment left. If you use twitter then follow me @lotts_louise!

 

stollen

Stollen

Bread isn’t something that I make very often, it takes so long and you have to wait for ages before you can actually put it in the oven. But with time off from University for Christmas, what better time to make some bread. So this week a whole day was devoted to bread making! Yay!  The result – 3 stollen loaves and a rather huge loaf of white french bread. Stollen is the perfect combination of bread and cake and tastes so much of Christmas! This is another German bake, Germany seem to do Christmas so well! Apparently there is actually a Stollen festival every year in Dresden! Having never made stollen before I therefore didn’t have a trusty recipe to use, so did a bit of internet research and decided to go with this German Stollen recipe from Waitrose. It worked pretty well, I was pleased. The only thing that didn’t happen is that it didn’t quite ‘double in size’ as it says it should, I think with all the fruit it is just too heavy. It didn’t matter though because once it is baked, it has a lovely stollen consistency.

2 stollen

You need:

  • 1/2tsp mixed spice
  • 225g Strong White Flour
  • ½tsp salt
  • 50g butter
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 150g Mixed Fruit ( I used a mix of raisins, sultanas and candied peel)
  • 25g  Glacé Cherries
  • 25g flaked almonds
  • 2tsp Fast Action Dried Yeast
  • 1 small egg, beaten
  • 100ml warm milk
  • 100g Waitrose White Marzipan
  • 25g butter
  • 50g icing sugar

In a bowl rub the butter into the flour, salt and mixed spice, then stir in the sugar, cherries, mixed fruit, almonds and yeast.

Stollen mix

 

Make a well in the centre of the dry mix and add the warm milk and beaten egg. Mix to make a soft dough and then knead on a floured surface for 5 minutes.

Kneaded dough

Dough

Russell kneading

My boyfriend gets involved in the kneading.

Cover the dough with oiled cling film and leave to rise for 20 minutes. Roll out the dough to an oval shape and roll out the marzipan into a strip. Put the marzipan in the centre of the dough and fold the stollen dough around the marzipan, sealing the edges. Put on a greased baking tray, cover with oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place for 1 hour. This recipe makes one large stollen loaf. To make 3 reasonable sized loaves I doubled the ingredients and split the dough into 3.

3 stollen rising

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 40 minutes. It should sound hollow when you tap it on the base if it is done.

Baked stollen

While the stollen is still warm, brush with melted better and dust with a icing sugar. Then leave to cool and enjoy!

Finished stollen

Sliced stollen

Merry Christmas!

Lottie xx