Tag Archives: Fruit cake

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

Ruffle icing

From Cradle to Crown – Renshaw Baking Royal Baby Cake Competition

As I am sure you will all know there is a Royal baby on the way! If you don’t know, then where have you been?? It is all quite exciting and what better way to celebrate the arrival of a Royal baby than with cake! I was recently contacted by the lovely people at Renshaw Baking who invited me to take part in their ‘Royal Baby Cake Competition’ and they even sent me the icing and marzipan to do so.  As if that wasn’t incentive enough to get involved in the competition, the first prize is a place in a class at the Peggy Porschen Academy, I couldn’t say no – I would absolutely LOVE to win that! All I had to do next was come up with an idea. I played around with a few ideas, but not knowing if the baby is going to be a boy or a girl made it a little bit more tricky. Last time I made a royal themed cake was for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, I used a stencil on that cake, you can can see it here. This time I wanted to use the icing I was sent to create a topper for the cake, this isn’t something I do very often so thought it would be a good chance to get some practice in! In the end I opted for a red, blue, white and gold colour scheme for the cake. Red, white and blue for the Union Jack colours and gold to add a bit of royalty. For the theme of the cake I decided on ‘From Cradle to Crown’, after all this baby may be King or Queen one day! This is the result:

Royal Baby Cake

Top of cake

The cake itself is a fruit cake, I chose to make this for a few reasons, one is that it is traditional and the Royal Family is something that is traditional so I thought it well suited. Another reason is that the fruit in the cake bejewels the cake, especially the glace cherries, again making it suitable for a royal cake. This recipe is a quick and easy fruit cake, you can even alter the fruits that you put in to your taste, I used dried figs, sultanas, raisins and glace cherries.

Cake

To make the cake you will need (makes a 6 inch cake):

120g chopped dried figs
150g sultanas
150g raisins
150g glace cherries (halved)
150g unsalted butter
175g golden syrup
175ml milk
225g plain flour
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp mixed spice
2 eggs
Rum (or brandy or sherry)

Heat the butter, syrup and milk in a pan until they are well combined and the butter has melted, simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the figs, raisings, sultanas and cherries. Mix in the flour, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice and eggs. Pour the batter into a greased and lined 6 inch cake tin and bake in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours at 150C until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Pierce the top of the cake with a skewer several times and drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of rum, repeat on the bottom. You can keep feeding the cake with alcohol a couple of times a day until you ice it.

Fruit cake

To decorate you will need:

Apricot jam
Marzipan
White ready to roll icing
Red, blue and yellow icing
Water
Gold lustre powder
Gold ribbon

Now it is time to ice it. I was sent this lovely box of marzipan and icing from Renshaw Baking, it contained a packed of natural marzipan, a packet of white ready to roll icing and a primary colour pack of ready to roll icing that contained blue, red, yellow, black and green icing. Plenty to work with! Renshaw Baking are the royal warrant holders for their almond products so I definitely wanted to include marzipan in the cake. I decided to both fill and cover the cake with marzipan.

Renshaw

Heat the apricot jam gently with a tablespoon of water until it is runny. Cut the cake in half and brush both cut sides of the cake with a little apricot jam. Roll out the marzipan to about 5mm thickness and lay over the bottom half of the cake. Trim the edges and place the top layer on top. Roll out the rest of the marzipan, brush the top and sides of the cake with some more apricot jam and then cover the cake with the marzipan, trimming the edges and smoothing down to give a neat finish.

Marzipan filling

Marzipan

Next cover the cake in white icing, rolling it out to about 4mm, draping it over the cake, smoothing the top and the sides and finishing it by trimming the edges. I used a patterned rolling pin to create texture on the top of the cake and then brushed the top of the cake with gold lustre powder. Make the feet out of red and blue icing, make the soles of the feet and then add little balls of icing for the toes. Make the crown out of yellow icing, brushed with gold lustre and finished with red icing for the jewels. Make the cradle out of white icing, creating a base first, adding a rim around the top and a pillow. Make the baby out of marzipan, a ball for the head and a sausage for the body. Finish it by making a blanket for the baby, use the edge of a metal knife to create a criss cross pattern and brush the blanket with gold lustre powder. Finish both the cradle and the crown with a thin gold ribbon and use the same ribbon around the top of the cake, tying it in a bow.

DSC_0871

Baby

 

Position the baby in the cradle, the footsteps and the crown on the cake so the footsteps lead from the cradle to the crown.

Cake toppers

The final step is to finish the cake off with some ruffled butter icing on the side of the cake in red and blue.

To make the buttericing beat together 200g unsalted butter with 400g seived icing sugar until well combined. Divide the icing into 2 bowls. Add red food colouring to one and blue food colouring to the other and mix well. I like to use paste food colourings. Fill 2 piping bags fitted with petal nozzles with the butter icings. I like to use the Wilton 104 nozzle, it is also good for creating rose petals. Alternate red and blue around the cake moving the nozzle from side to side to create the ruffle as you pipe a line from top to bottom. You can read more about the ruffle piping technique here. The cake is now finished and ready to enjoy if you can bring yourself to cut it!

Ruffle icing

 

Slice of cake

 

Thank you to Renshaw Baking for inviting me to take part in the competition and sending me the icing and marzipan. I found all the products really easy to work with and was very happy with the finish they gave. I also love the colours in the primary colour ready to roll icing pack, they are lovely and vibrant.

Happy Baking!

Lottie xx