Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake

Another week and another theme. #ChocolateWeek is upon us, demanding chocolate bakes from all who are part of the Twitter baking community. How fortunate for me then that I made this beautiful Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake yesterday. Since it is always chocolate week here at home, this hidden chocolate cherry cake fits the bill perfectly.

FF Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake
Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake

First of all, I absolutely adore Bundt pans. Their beautiful designs and intricate moulding create the most exceptional looking cakes. While my cake decorating abilities are improving, especially as I am practicing more, using a Bundt pan really does take away the need to decorate. A simple sprinkle of edible glitter is all that was needed to finish this cake.

FF Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake
Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake

Cherry and chocolate are a classic flavour combination. Using chocolate cherry naturally flavoured cocoa powder gives this cake the base flavour. The addition of tinned cherries and ground almonds creates a moist cake with surprise, hidden cherries inside. During baking the cherries drop to the bottom of the cake, which when turned out, becomes the top. Resulting in a jammy like topping.

FF Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake
Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake up close.

The looping scalloped design of the Chiffon Bundt Pan is very elegant. Flickers of light from the glitter, sparkle and accentuate the design. Aside from covering in a very thin glaze, as done here, this cake really is best left as is. Indeed, left un-iced, dare I say this would be utterly delicious eaten with hot custard.

Recipe: Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake serves 10-12

275g/10oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

275g/10oz Light Soft Brown Sugar

1/4 tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

2 tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

1/2 tsp Almond Extract

5 Large Free Range Eggs

4 tbsp/60ml Whole Milk

100g/4oz Ground Almonds

75g/3oz Chocolate Cherry Cocoa Powder* – available from Sugar and Crumbs

125g/4.5oz Plain White Flour

2 tsp Baking Powder

*If you are unable to obtain chocolate cherry flavour cocoa powder, use plain cocoa and add cherry flavouring available from Foodie Flavours

Half of a 400g Tin of Cherries or Cherry Pie Filling

1/4 tsp Edible Glitter to decorate

Method: Preheat oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3

For this recipe a 10 cup Bundt Pan is needed. I have used the Chiffon Bundt Pan available from Nordicware.

To ensure successful release of the cake from the pan cake release is highly recommended. This is available as a spray, or a liquid that is brushed on with a soft pastry brush. I recommend Wilton.

  • First of all add butter, sugar and salt to a large bowl. Whisk until the sugar is fully beaten into the butter.
  • Next add both vanilla and almond extracts. Also add 5 eggs and milk.
  • Now add ground almonds, cocoa powder, flour and baking powder.
  • Whisk everything together until fully combined. Take care not to over whisk as the resulting cake will be tough.
  • Prepare the Bundt pan, spraying, or brushing liberally with cake release.
  • Spoon the prepared cake batter into the pan, pushing the mixture into the base to avoid air pockets.
  • Finally, spoon half of tin of cherries on to the top of the cake batter, making sure that none of the liquid touches the side of the Bundt pan.
  • Place the Bundt pan into the lower middle part of a preheated oven and bake for 1 hour 20-30 minutes. Low, slow baking results in an evenly baked cake.
  • The cake is baked when it feels firm to touch and an inserted skewer comes outs clean.  Note: the cherries sink to the bottom (top when turned out) during baking.
  • As soon as the cake is baked remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
FF Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake
Making and baking the Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake.
  • Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a cooling rack.
FF Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake
Turning out the baked Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake.
  • Leave the cake to cool completely.
  • Finally when cooled, place the cake on to a board or stand. Using a teaspoon, carefully sprinkle with glitter from a height.
FF Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake
Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake ready to serve.

Since this cake is so elegant, it could be used for any celebration, such as Christmas. Alternatively, if someone you know has a birthday, this would be a delicious surprise. Adding candles would simply make the cake sparkle more.

FF Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake
Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake.

Serve sliced on a plate with a cake fork and a smile.

Store in an airtight container and eat within 5 days. Keep refrigerated if the weather is particularly warm.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake you may also like these:

Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake

FF Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake
Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake.

Maple Syrup Iced Coffee Bundt Cake

FF Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake
Maple Syrup Iced Coffee Bundt Cake.

Lemon Lime Gin Heart Bundt Cake

FF Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake
Lemon Lime Gin Heart Bundt Cake.

Bundt pans are available in a variety of different shapes. Creating a beautifully shaped cake without any extra effort required from the baker. While also allowing for creativity when decorating. From a simple dusting of icing sugar or glitter, to more precise icing, accentuating the features of each Bundt cake. Resulting in an exceptional, celebration worthy, unique cake every time.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, enjoy preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be replicated or copied without the express written consent on the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate

Colder days mean one thing in our house, steaming mugs of hot chocolate. Whether it’s coming in from a chilly walk, huddled around a bonfire, or a bedtime treat, it’s a family favourite. Having won some Cranberry and Almond Biscotti from Daylesford Organic in a Twitter competition, I wanted to create an adult drink to compliment them. Welcome to my Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate.

FF Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate
Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate a delicious flavour combination.

Amaretto is a sweet, Italian, Almond liqueur. Since chocolate goes so well with nuts I thought I’d add it to this hot drink. Oh my! If you love almond and chocolate, you will literally go nuts over this drink!

FF Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate
Luxury Hot Chocolate without the Amaretto for a fun, festive, children’s drink.

Regular hot chocolate mixes are generally a mix of cocoa powder and sugar. For this luxury version I wanted to use real, dark chocolate. Melted into the hot milk, the dark chocolate takes this drink to the next level. In fact, no sweetening is needed, so leave out the booze and this drink is perfect for children. For adults though, the addition of a splash of Amaretto, creates a delightful, warming drink, that goes down too easily.

FF Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate
Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate served with cranberry and almond biscotti.

Since this, is a luxury treat, it is topped with whipped cream and crunchy chocolate pearls. Toasted, flaked almonds would also provide a crunchy topping, indulgently eaten with a long handled, sundae spoon.

FF Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate
Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate served with a spoon.

The Cranberry and Almond Biscotti complimented this incredible drink perfectly.  My only concern is that they aren’t really long enough to dunk! So, I’ll be working on a recipe as soon as possible for us all to share. Meanwhile my prize is very gratefully being devoured, here at home. It’s a real treat not to have to have baked them myself. Also, they are not baked until they are jaw breakingly hard. An absolute bonus, these biscotti are delicious.

While creating the recipe, I used amounts for one drink. If making more than 3 drinks it would be advisable to heat the milk in a saucepan, over a medium heat.

Recipe: Makes one Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate

200ml Whole Milk

40g Dark Chocolate – use the best quality you can

2tbsp/30mls Amaretto – I use Disaronno

Whipped Cream

Grated Chocolate or Crispearls available from – Callebaut

Method:

  • First of all, measure out the quanity of milk needed into a heatproof, microwaveable jug.
  • Place the jug into the microwave and heat on high for 1 minute (per serving).
  • While the milk is heating finely chop the dark chocolate.
  • Add the chopped chocolate to the warm milk and stir. Return to the microwave and again heat for a further minute (per serving). Keep an eye on the milk to ensure it doesn’t boil over.
  • Once heated, remove the jug and gently whisk the melting chocolate into the milk using a balloon whisk.
  • Pour the Amaretto into latte glasses and then pour over the hot chocolate.
FF Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate
Making the Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate.
  • Top with whipped cream and your choice of sprinkles, add a long handled spoon and serve.
FF Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate
Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate a great festive tipple.

This drink is the ultimate in homemade luxury. The combination of hot chocolate and the warming almond liqueur, results in a drink that really is the equivalent of a big hug!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate then you may also like these:

Chocolate Dunking Waffles

FF Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate
Chocolate Dunking Waffles

Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies

FF Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate
Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies

FF Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate
Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies

While this drink, with all of the trimmings, is a treat, using real chocolate is really worth trying. The lack of overt sweetness, results in a really chocolatey drink. So much so, I am considering chopping up a big bar of dark chocolate and storing it in a tin, ready for use.

An alternative drink, for those who don’t or cannot drink alcohol, is to add a drop of almond extract to the hot chocolate. The almond/chocolate flavour combination will still be present, without any alcohol.

Whatever you are creating, making and baking, during this festive period, have fun. Christmas is a time for feasting and celebrating. Make sure you have time to unwind, relax and most of all not cook! Yes I’ve said it. As much as cooking, having guests round and visiting people is fun, it’s important to have a little time to ourselves. So that we can enjoy all of the other parts of Christmas, without it becoming a burden.

Sammie xx

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Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies

Regardless of presents, food and glittering tinsel, only one thing makes Christmas Day itself perfect for me. Snow! Beautiful thick white flakes, falling from the sky, erasing the landscape and brightening our days. In mere hours, falling snow turns our environment into a Winter Wonderland. Alas, it is rare that we experience a White Christmas. So, to ensure some Sparkling, I have made these Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies.

FF Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies refreshingly beautiful.

While these cookies do not taste of snow, they are cooling and refreshing, due to the peppermint flavour. Added to both the cookie and icing, the taste is balanced by the buttery flavour of the cookies. Perfect for serving after a large meal, these sparkling wonders are not at all heavy.

FF Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies each as individual as real snowflakes.

Cookie swaps are a common tradition in the U.S. and Canada. Everyone bakes up batches of their festive, Holiday cookies and then shares them with neighbours, friends and work colleagues. What a brilliant idea! Not only is there a whole lotta love baked into each cookie, new recipes and different flavours are swapped and shared.

Now that’s a tradition I’d happily see start over here!

FF Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies perfect for sharing.

Baking and icing these cookies is really so much fun. Since no two snowflakes are the same, you can really let your creative juices flow whilst decorating them. The semi-hard royal icing won’t break any teeth, yet it will set hard enough for these cookies to be stacked together. Perfect for packing into festive cellophane bags, tied with ribbon. Resulting in a beautiful edible gift, that anyone would be happy to receive.

FF Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies simply stunning.

My friend Liz, over at Teta Lizza’s Kitchen, baked a huge batch of cookies last year to take into work. She presented them so beautifully in a gorgeous basket. The overall effect was not only amazing to look at, but also incredibly enticing. I wanted to put my hand through the screen and grab a handful one, of her fantastic bakes. Why not pop over to her beautiful website, where you’ll find her love of sweet things inspires some incredible cookies?

Recipe: Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies makes 15-20

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter softened

150g/5oz Caster Sugar

1/4tsp Salt – I use Maldon

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I only use Nielsen-Massey extracts

1tsp Peppermint Extract

1 Whole Large Free Range Egg

275g/10oz Plain White Flour

For the icing:

200g/7oz Sifted White Icing Sugar – or royal icing sugar

2tsp Meringue Powder (omit if using royal icing sugar)

2tsp Peppermint Extract

Silver balls and edible white glitter

You will also need a snowflake shaped cookie cutter approximately 10cm wide from tip to tip. A star cutter would also be effective.

Method: Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan, gas mark 3.5

  • First of all, line 3 large baking trays with baking parchment.
  • Next, in a large bowl whisk together the butter, sugar and salt until pale and creamy.
  • Now add the whole egg, vanilla and peppermint extracts and whisk to fully combine.
  • Sift the flour into the bowl and then stir with a spoon until the mixture comes together in large clumps.
  • Wipe the worktop with a clean, wet cloth and then lay over a good sized piece of cling film. The wet worktop will cause the cling film to ‘stick’ and stay in place.
  • Using your hand, bring the dough together and tip out on to the cling film.
  • Form the dough into a disc shape and then wrap in the cling film.
  • Now place the dough into the fridge and chill for at least an hour.
  • On a lightly floured worktop, roll out the chilled cookie dough to approximately 1/4 inch/7mm thick. Note – the dough gets stickier the warmer it becomes. Use a dusting of flour to keep it moving, whilst rolling out.
  • Cut out the cookies, placing them on the lined baking trays, spaced well apart. I placed 3 cookies on each tray.
  • Place the baking trays into the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Rotate the baking trays halfway through baking. This ensures an even bake.
  • While the first batch of cookies are baking, pull together the leftover cookie dough, wrap and place back into the fridge.
  • The cookies are baked when they are golden in colour.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to firm up for a couple of minutes, before transferring to a cooling rack.
FF Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
Cutting, baking and cooling the Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
  • Allow the baking trays to cool completely then, flip over the baking parchment.
  • Remove the cookie dough from the fridge, roll out and cut out the remaining cookies. Bringing the pieces of cookie dough together and re-rolling, until it is all used up.
  • Bake the cookies as before.
  • Allow the cookies to cool completely before icing.
  • Preparing the peppermint icing:
  • While the cookies are cooling prepare the icing to decorate with.
  • Into the bowl containing the sifted icing sugar, add the meringue powder (not neccesary if using royal icing).
  • Next add 2 teaspoons of peppermint extract and enough cold water 2-3 tablespoons to form a thick paste.
  • Transfer the icing to an icing bag fitted with a small, round writing nozzle. Alternatively, use a disposable icing bag, just prior to icing snip the very end off to leave a small hole.
  • Icing the cookies: – 
  • Note – have a butter knife, cocktail stick, kitchen roll and decorations to hand prior to starting.
  • Touch the tip of the icing bag to the cookie, keeping even pressure on the bag, pipe a line across the cookie. Effectively drawing a line from one point to its opposite. Repeat, until you have a criss-cross design. Place a silver ball in the centre and the cookie is decorated. To continue decorating, starting at a smaller point on the edge, touch the tip of the piping bag to the cookie and pipe a star shape. Joining to the already piped criss-cross lines. Finish by adding final detail to the points of the cookie. Add silver balls to create different finishes on each snowflake cookie. Please see the photos for reference.
FF Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
Making the icing and decorating the Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
  • Decorating tips – use a butter knife to remove accidental/dripped/wobbly icing. Ensure the silver balls are added before the icing sets, so that they stick. To fill in a piped star, pipe icing inside the already piped lines, then use a cocktail stick to spread it to the edges.
  • Finally, dust the iced cookies with edible glitter and allow to set.
FF Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
Sparkling Cookies under the spotlights in the kitchen.

These Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies are almost hypnotic, with their beautiful sparkle, under the spotlights in our kitchen!

Store the cookies for up to one week in an airtight container.

Serve with a smile and for an indulgent treat a whipped cream topped hot chocolate 😉.

If you have enjoyed the recipe for these Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies you may also like these:

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies

FF Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies

FF Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies

Sparkling Snowflake Cake

FF Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
Sparkling Snowflake Cake

Christmas is such a special time of the year. I’m fairly sure that it didn’t snow when the baby Jesus was born. Similarly I cannot imagine Mary and Joseph wishing for snow! Yet for me, snow on Christmas Day, really is the icing on top of the cookie!

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and hope that you will take time, during the exciting festivities, to remember the real reason we celebrate it.

Sammie xx

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Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies

Baby it’s cold outside! The second of two storms is currently battering the southern half of the British Isles. While gale force winds and squally showers are battering outside, baking makes indoors warm and cosy. Especially when the aroma of these Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies escapes from the oven. A brilliant and tasty way to warm up the day.

FF Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies
Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies a deliciously warming treat.

Since discovering Sugar and Crumbs gingerbread flavour icing sugar, I have become a little obsessed with all things ginger flavoured. Wanting to create a winter spiced brownie, I decided to substitute the flavoured icing sugar for some of the treacly dark sugar in the recipe. Having been sent some Dark Chocolate Ginger Thins from Beech’s Chocolates, to try, I couldn’t resist adding some to the brownie batter. Resulting in a deep, dark chocolate brownie with a background warmth from the gingerbread sugar and nuggets of ginger chocolate studded throughout.

FF Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies
Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies perfect for sharing.

While not as dense, or fudgey as regular gingerbread and brownies, these squares are perfect as they are. Bordering on cake-like, yet not light and fluffy, these squares tick all the boxes. Sweet, but not overly so. Chocolatey, yet not cloying. Warming, without being overwhelming. Perfectly balanced flavours that satisfy with every bite.

FF Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies

    Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies a delicious comforting treat.

So easy to make and bake, these brownies also make a delicious edible gift. Ensure the icing is set, then pop a few into a pretty tin, or cellophane bag tied with ribbon. All food tastes better when shared. Homemade treats have the extra luxury of love mixed into them. Now that is something that cannot be bought!

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies makes 15

150g/5oz Unsalted Butter

225g/8oz Dark Brown Muscavado Sugar

50g/2oz Gingerbread Icing Sugar available from Sugar and Crumbs see *note

1/8tsp Salt – I use Maldon

50g/2oz Cocoa Powder – I use Callebaut

150g/5oz Plain White Flour

1/2tsp Sodium Bicarbonate

4 Large Free Range Eggs

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

100g/4oz Dark Chocolate Ginger Thins – available from Beech’s Fine Chocolates

*note – if flavoured icing sugar is unavailable use 275g/10oz of D/B Muscavado sugar and add 2tsp of ground ginger to the sieved flour.

For the icing:

100g/4oz Gingerbread Flavour Icing Sugar – if not available use plain icing sugar.

Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, gas mark 4

You will need a 28cm x 20cm x 5cm (12″ x 8″ x “2) traybake tin lined with aluminium foil.

  • First add the butter, both types of sugar and salt to a heavy bottomed large saucepan. Place over a medium heat and stir constantly until the butter is melted.
  • Take the pan off the heat and add the cocoa powder, stirring until it is thoroughly combined. Set the saucepan to one side to cool slightly.
  • While the pan is cooling, crack the eggs into a jug, add the vanilla extract and whisk lightly to combine – liquid ingredients.
  • Next sift the flour and sodium bicarb. into the saucepan. Stir to combine. The mixture will be quite stiff, that is normal.
  • Now pour the liquid ingredients into the saucepan and stir thoroughly until the brownie batter is thoroughly combined.
  • Roughly chop the ginger chocolate and add to the saucepan. Stir a couple of times to distribute evenly.
  • Finally pour the brownie batter into the prepared tin. Give the tin a couple of sharp raps against the work top. This will bring any bubbles to the surface.
FF Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies
Making the brownie batter and filling the tin.
  • Place the tin in the centre of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Halfway through the baking time, open the oven door and rap the tin against the shelf. This really helps to stop the brownies becoming too airy and cake-like.
  • The brownies are baked when the top is set and there is not hint of wobble in the centre.
  • Once baked, remove the tin from the oven and allow the brownies to completely cool in the tin.
FF Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies
Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies baked and cooling in the tin.
  • While the brownies are cooling, make the gingerbread icing.
  • First, sift the icing sugar into a medium sized bowl, then add a teaspoon of water. Stir, adding extra water, drop by drop, until you have a thick, drizzling consistency.
  • Spoon the icing into a small piping bag. Alternatively, cover the bowl with cling film and you can use a spoon to drizzle the icing.
  • When the brownies are completely cooled, lift the entire slab from the tin, using the foil to help. Peel the foil carefully away from the baked brownie and place on to a large piece of baking parchment. Now cut the brownie into 15 equal sized squares. First cutting across the width, diving into 3 and then cutting across at 5 equal intervals to create 15 individual brownie squares. Spread the squares out so that each one can be iced individually.
  • Next, snip the end from your piping bag to leave a very small hole. Pipe diagonal lines across each brownie, or lightly drizzle the icing using a teaspoon.
FF Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies
Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies finished with piped icing.

Leave the icing to set before serving, or storing in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

FF Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies
Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies the piped icing gives them a professional finish.

These Brownies are delicious served just as they are, with a hot drink and a smile. However, if you really want to turn them into a fantastic dessert, warm briefly (10 seconds in the microwave) and serve with a scoop of you favourite ice cream!

If you have enjoyed these Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies then you may like these too:

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies

FF Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies
Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies

Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes

FF Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies
Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes

Chocolate Sparkle Cake

FF Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies
Chocolate Sparkle Cake

Whether you bake these Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies as a treat for yourself and you family, or to take into school or work to share with friends, they are sure to be a big hit. Homemade bakes taste infinitely better, unless you live close to a great bakery. Sharing our bakes shows others that they are valued in our lives. Regardless of their situation, someone has thought of them. I personally, cannot think of a better reason to get in the kitchen and bake!

Whatever you are creating, making and baking in your kitchen, have fun and remember to stir some extra love in.

Sammie xx

Beech’s Chocolates sent me the dark chocolate ginger thins to try. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions, views, photographs and content are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake

Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake a delightful fruit cake with fresh lemon and sherry. Perfect for any celebration, or afternoon tea.

It was our son’s 14th birthday yesterday. He loves everything about celebrating his birthday, from blowing up balloons, hanging fairy lights, presents, cards, seeing family. Yet the thing he most looks forward to is his birthday cake. Not being a huge fan of icing, yet loving Christmas cake, after much discussion he decided on this Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake.

FF Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake
Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake topped with crunchy whole almonds.

Since he would happily eat Christmas cake every single day, this seemed to be a good compromise. Rather than soaking the dried fruit in an alcoholic concoction, as is needed for Christmas cake, this Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake is easily made in one day. Much as I love making Christmas cake, usually with our son’s help, having it throughout the year, would make it less of a special event.

FF Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake
Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake packed full of flavour and dried fruits.

Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake is a lighter fruit cake, filled with raisins, sultanas and in this recipe, glacé cherries. Recipes differ and I’m unsure as to how authentic their addition is. In our home their presence in any fruit cake is a must. Should you disagree, simply leave them out and add more dried fruit.

FF Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake
Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake perfect for any celebration.

The beauty of having a fruit cake without spices, is that the other flavours in the cake come through really well. On taking my first bite the freshness of the lemon added to the warmth of the sherry, creating a deliciously moist cake. While the cherries and fruit add to the overall flavour, the almonds, in contrast, provide a delightful crunchy topping. Resulting in a perfectly balanced cake, both in flavour and texture.

FF Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake
Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake perfect for those who don’t like icing on their cake.

One firework candle was lit in the centre of this cake, providing a spectacular display that had our son enthralled. Once cut, his pleasure was clear to see. While devouring his first slice he had a big smile on his face. Thoroughly pleased with this Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake for his birthday, this was most definitely a hit.  Most importantly, our son thoroughly enjoyed his birthday, it was indeed a true celebration.

Recipe: Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake serves 10-12

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter plus 1tbsp – at room temperature

225g/8oz Soft Light Brown Sugar I use – Billington’s

1/4tsp Salt I use – Maldon

1tsp Vanilla Extract I use – Nielsen-Massey

4 Large Free Range Eggs

300g/11oz Plain White Flour

4tsp Baking Powder

100g/4oz Ground Almonds

225g/8oz Sultanas

200g/7oz Raisins

200g/7oz Glacé Cherries cut half of the cherries in half and leave the remaining whole

1 Whole Lemon – scrubbed with a nail brush under hot water

2-3tbsps Sherry – alternatively replace with full fat milk

75g/3oz Whole Blanched Almonds

Method: Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3

A 20cm/8″ diameter 10cm/4″ deep round cake tin is needed for this bake. Grease the tin with butter and line the bottom and sides with baking parchment. The sides of the parchment should be above the top of the tin by 3-4 inches. Cut a spare circle of parchment that fits the base. This may be used later to stop the cake from browning too quickly on the top.

  • First sift the flour together with the baking powder into a spare bowl.
  • Next in a large bowl add the softened butter, sugar and salt. Whisk these together until they are pale and creamy.
  • Add the vanilla extract, 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of sifted flour. Whisk for 30 seconds until just incorporated.
  • Repeat this process, adding an egg and 1 tablespoon of flour, whisking to mix, until all the eggs have been added.
  • Now add the remaining flour and ground almonds. Then add the sultanas, raisins and glacé cherries.
  • Grate the zest of the lemon directly into the bowl and then add its juice.
  • Finally add 2 tablespoons of sherry, or milk and using a large spoon fold all the ingredients together, adding another tablespoon of sherry/milk if the batter is too thick.
  • Spoon the lemon/sherry flavoured cake batter into the parchment lined cake tin, smoothing the top so that it is flat.
  • Decorate the top of the cake with 3 rings of blanched almonds – see the photos for guidance. Tip – lay the almonds flat on to the cake batter surface. I pushed them in a little and a couple were enveloped by the cake batter whilst baking.
FF Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake
Making the cake batter, filling the tin and decorating with almonds.
  • Place an ovenproof dish of water on the shelf underneath the middle shelf in the oven. This should ensure a flat, even top as the cake bakes.
  • Next put your cake tin into the middle of the oven and bake for 2 – 3 hours.
  • Check the cake after 1.5 hours baking. If the top is already golden, then place the spare circle of baking parchment on top of the cake. Because the cake still has a while to bake, this should stop the top from burning.
  • Once 2 hours baking time has elapsed, check to see if the cake is baked by inserting a skewer. The cake is baked when the removed skewer is clean. Should it have cake batter on it, the cake is not fully baked and needs more time in the oven.
  • Continue checking the cake at 15 minute intervals. As soon as the skewer comes out clean the cake is fully baked and can be removed from the oven.
  • Place the cake tin on a trivet or cooling rack and allow the cake to cool completely in the tin.
  • Leaving the cake to cool overnight is ideal.
  • When the cake is completely cooled turn it out from the tin and then carefully remove the baking parchment from the base and the sides.
  • Since this Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake is such a beautiful cake, placing it on a cake stand really does show it off.
FF Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake
Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake a beautifully baked fruit cake.

Serve the cake with a cup of tea, or a glass of something bubbly.

FF Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake
Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake each bite is a celebration of good home baking.

Homemade cake is far superior in both taste and texture when compared to mass produced, shop bought alternatives. Any celebration, whether a birthday, anniversary, or family get together, will be richly enhanced, with the addition of a home baked cake.

If you have enjoyed the recipe for this Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake then you may also like these:

Raspberry Almond Cream Cake

FF Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake
Raspberry Almond Cream Cake made to see in the New Year.

Fluted Chocolate Lemon Marble Cake

FF Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake
Fluted Chocolate Lemon Marble Cake made to celebrate Father’s Day

Mascarpone Topped Carrot Cake

FF Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake
Mascarpone Topped Carrot Cake made to celebrate my love of carrot cake!

While I enjoy baking cakes, getting together with family and friends is always a celebration when cake is present. Catching up over a slice of cake and a cup of tea can turn any event into a celebration, even if it is simply sharing with a neighbour.

Most of all, my long held belief that food shared, not only tastes better, it also somehow enriches the experience of eating. As a result our lives are made richer, purely by eating with others. A simple concept that can easily be achieved.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

 

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Snowy Black Forest Roulade

Gluten Free – Snowy Black Forest Roulade, kirsch whipped cream and cherries rolled into an elegant dessert that is topped with chocolate trees.

Joining in with the #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong has, so far, proved to be a lot of fun. The challenges stretch my baking skills and my creativity. Wanting to create a gluten free bake that more people can make and enjoy, I came up with this Snowy Black Forest Roulade.

FF Snowy Black Forest Roulade
Snowy Black Forest Roulade kirsch whipped cream and cherries all rolled up together.

While never having made a gluten free genoise sponge before, I had to try. Genoise sponges are made without the use of any type of fat. Generally they are made from eggs and sugar, whipped until at least tripled in size, with flour folded in at the end. When folding in the flour, extra care is taken to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.

FF Snowy Black Forest Roulade
Snowy Black Forest Roulade with hand piped chocolate chocolate trees.

Knowing that cocoa can have a drying effect on the taste of the sponge, I also wondered if the cake would hold up to being rolled. A good sponge roulade should withstand rolling, without cracking. The possibilities of just how wrong this sponge could go, seemed endless. Maybe this bake would fail. The only way to know, was to try.

FF Snowy Black Forest Roulade
Snowy Black Forest Roulade an elegant dessert.

So, the gluten free chocolate genoise sponge was made and baked. As you can see from the photos, it did indeed roll, without cracking and the flavour is utterly delicious. Light, soft, chocolate sponge, filled with kirsch flavoured whipped cream and soft, sweet cherries. One mouthful of this Snowy Black Forest Roulade and I was completly lost in one of my favourite flavour combinations.

Since nobody could tell that it was gluten free, I took that as a positive sign. Having baked quite a few gluten free recipes, on occasion I have found them to have a slight gritty texture. Not this luscious dessert. Soft, yielding sponge, that tastes just like a sponge should. As a result of this bake I have plans to make another gluten rolled sponge, that is simply flavoured with vanilla or lemon.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating! When plates and bowls are left empty, I am satisfied that whatever I have made is a hit. Our children can be brutally honest, especially Snugs, our youngest daughter. She scored this Snowy Black Forest Roulade at 9 out of 10. Another success for the Feasting kitchen.

Recipe: Snowy Black Forest Roulade

1tbsp Unsalted Butter

4 Large Free Range Eggs

80g Caster Sugar

50g Gluten Free Plain White Flour – I use Doves Farm

50g Cocoa Powder plus an extra 2tbsp – I use Callebaut

1tsp Baking Powder – I use Waitrose as it is gluten free

Small Pinch of Salt – I use Maldon

300ml Double Cream

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

4tsp Icing Sugar

1 Tin Cherry Pie Filling

Optional 2tbsp Kirsch Liquer

100g Dark Chocolate

50g White Chocolate

Optional – White Edible Glitter

Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, gas mark 4

Note: To bake the sponge for this Snowy Black Forest Roulade you will need a baking tray that measures 38cm x 25cm x 3cm (15″ x 10″ x 1″).

  • First, grease the baking tray with butter and line the base with baking parchment.
  • Sift the gluten free flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
  • Next, in a large bowl, or if you have a stand mixer use the bowl with the whisk attachment, add the sugar and eggs. Whisk continuously for at least 5 minutes, until the egg/sugar mixture has more than tripled in size. The mixture will be a pale cream colour that is very light and airy. It should leave a ribbon trail, that lasts a few seconds, after you remove the whisk.
  • Tip the sifted ingredients into the whisked egg mixture and using a large metal spoon, carefully fold the sifted ingredients in. The aim is to retain as much air within the finished cake batter as possible.
  • Once the ingredients are completely combined pour the mixture in to the prepared baking tray. Use a palette knife to ensure that the cake batter is evenly spread, ensuring that it reaches all of the corners.
FF Snowy Black Forest Roulade
Making the sponge batter and filling the baking tray.
  • Now place the baking tray into the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  • To test if the sponge is baked press lightly in the centre, when baked the sponge will spring back. Note – be careful not to over bake as this will cause the sponge to be dry and it will then be harder to roll without cracking.
  • Finally, when the sponge is baked, remove it from the oven.
  • Next, allow the sponge to cool in the tin for 2 minutes.
  • While the sponge is cooling, lay a large, just bigger than the sponge, piece of baking parchment on the work top.
  • Dust the baking parchment with the extra 2 tablespoons of cocoa, so that it is evenly covered.
  • Now run a palette knife around the edge of the sponge and then turn it out on to the baking parchment.
  • Very carefully remove the parchment that lined the baking tray.
  • Starting at one side and using the baking parchment to help, gently roll the sponge, while it is still warm.
  • Once rolled, set to one side until completely cooled.
FF Snowy Black Forest Roulade
Please use baking parchment, my brain wasn’t working and I used a pastry mat. It worked absolutely fine but next time I will turn the sponge out on to parchment!

Making the Chocolate Trees:

  • While waiting for the sponge to cool, the chocolate trees can be made.
  • First you will need 2 small disposable piping bags to pipe the trees with.
  • Next break up both types of chocolate and place in heatproof, microwaveable bowls.
  • Heat the chocolate, individually, on medium until it has started to melt.
  • Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir until the chocolate has completely melted.
  • Now fill each piping bag with melted chocolate. Leave the chocolate to cool, until it is still liquid, yet warm, not hot, in the piping bag. As a result of leaving the chocolate to cool, it will be thicker and easier to control whilst piping the trees.
  • Starting with the dark chocolate, pipe tree shapes on to a non stick silicone mat, or baking parchment. The trees should be about 3 inches (7.5cm) high, please see the photo below.
FF Snowy Black Forest Roulade
Pipe the main trunk down then up and then pipe the branches.
  • Allow the dark chocolate to set and then pipe white chocolate on the top of each branch. Leave the trees to completely set before attempting to remove them.
  • It is inevitable that some trees will break as they are removed. This is great as most forest floors have fallen/broken branches on them. So they can be used to add further decoration to the roulade.

Filling and decorating the Roulade:

  • In a large bowl add the cream, vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon of Kirsch and 2 teaspoons of sifted icing sugar – a tea strainer is handy for sifting small amounts.
  • Whisk the cream until it just holds a stiff peak.
  • Unroll the chocolate sponge and then, using a palette knife, spread half of the cream over the sponge.
  • Decant the cherry pie filling into a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of kirsch and stir to mix.
  • Next, using a spoon, place cherries evenly across the sponge, then spoon the syrup in between the cherries.
  • Using the baking parchment roll the sponge into it a log, finishing with the seam underneath.
  • Transfer the Roulade to a suitable plate.
  • Fit a piping bag fitted with a large star tip, then fill the bag with the remaining whipped cream.
  • Pipe single flower stars along the top of the Roulade and then along the sides.
FF Snowy Black Forest Roulade
Building, rolling and piping the Roulade.
  • To finish the decoration, carefully peel the piped chocolate trees away from the non stick surface.
  • Place the trees evenly along the top of the Roulade, pushing them into the piped cream.
  • Use any broken tree parts as forest floor decorations, anchoring them to the roulade with the piped cream.
  • Finally finish the dessert by sifting icing sugar snow over the Roulade, sprinkling edible glitter for added sparkle!
FF Snowy Black Forest Roulade
Snowy Black Forest Roulade beautifully dusted with icing sugar snow.

Serve sliced with a smile!

FF Snowy Black Forest Roulade
Snowy Black Forest Roulade an elegant, incredibly tasty dessert or afternoon tea treat.

All the flavour of a Black Forest Gateaux rolled into a stunning Snowy Black Forest Roulade that is completely gluten free. A dessert that can be enjoyed by more people, without any loss of taste, texture or quality.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for this Snowy Black Forest Roulade here are some other gluten free recipes you may enjoy:

Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

FF Snowy Black Forest Roulade
Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes gluten free.

Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova

FF Snowy Black Forest Roulade
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova gluten free.

Strawberry Whipped Cream Giant Doughnut

FF Snowy Black Forest Roulade
Strawberry Whipped Cream Giant Doughnut gluten free.

Gluten free recipes can taste just as great as their regular, wheat based counterparts. Creating recipes that can be made and eaten by people on a restricted diet, is an important part of Feasting is Fun. So you can look forward to more recipes being added, especially with Christmas not very far away.

When a recipe tastes as good as this Snowy Black Forest Roulade, there is no need to bake separate desserts. That has to be a good thing, for both those on a restricted diet and the cook!

Enjoy making, baking and creating in your own kitchens.

Sammie xx

I am submitting this Snowy Black Forest Roulade to October’s We Should Cocoa over at Tin and Thyme

FF Snowy Black Forest Roulade

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Sparkling Snowflake Cake

Merry Christmas one and all. Today I am sharing this beautiful Sparkling Snowflake Cake with you.

Sparkling Snowflake Cake www.feastingisfun.com
Sparkling Snowflake Cake www.feastingisfun.com

 

This cake is stunning and I can take no credit for the beautiful detail. It is baked in a beautiful Bundt tin made by Nordicware Amazon, ebay and Lakeland UK are all stockists of Bundt tins, it really is worth shopping around as prices vary. These Bundt tins are not cheap, but treated with care and looked after, they will last you a life time.

The beauty of Bundt pans is the beautiful array of delightful shapes available. Although I have embellished this Sparkling Snowflake Cake with edible diamonds, a dusting of edible glitter and some piped icing, a dusting of icing sugar would be perfect on it’s own.

Sparkling Snowflake Cake edible diamonds and a dusting of flavoured icing sugar set this cake off www.feastingisfun.com
Sparkling Snowflake Cake edible diamonds and a dusting of flavoured icing sugar set this cake off www.feastingisfun.com

 

Our youngest daughter should have been a near Christmas baby, however, she obligingly arrived early! So this Sparkling Snowflake Cake was made for her birthday. To say she was thrilled would be an understatement!

She isn’t too keen on icing, so this cake was perfect for her. A deliciously moist vanilla sponge, dusted with flavoured icing sugar. The flavour I used is called Santa’s Snowball, perfect for this beautiful snowflake!

Sparkling Snowflake Cake vanilla sponge dusted with flavoured icing sugar www.feastingisfun.com
Sparkling Snowflake Cake vanilla sponge dusted with flavoured icing sugar www.feastingisfun.com

 

I had some edible diamonds and knew they would look perfect on this cake. White, edible, sparkly glitter has also been dusted on top of the icing sugar. It is a real shame that it didn’t photograph well, in any light, trust me I tried. Moving the cake aound the house to catch the small amount of sunlight that we get this time of year, shining through the windows. The lengths I will go to trying to get the perfect shot!!!!

You will just have to trust in me that this cake really, really sparkles. It looks so pretty, twinkling like a real snowflake. We may not get snow this Christmas, but you can certainly make your own!

Sparkling Snowflake Cake catches the light and sparkles like a real snowflake www.feastingisfun.com
Sparkling Snowflake Cake catches the light and sparkles like a real snowflake www.feastingisfun.com

 

Here is the Sparkling Snowflake Cake lit by candles for our daughter’s special day. It would make a fantastic alternative to the delicious, fruit laden Christmas Cake, that not everyone is a fan of. Set on a cake stand, or pretty plate, surrounded by tea light candles. Perfect.

Spending Snowflake Cake stunning with candles www.feastingisfun.com
Sparkling Snowflake Cake stunning with candles www.feastingisfun.com

 

Here is the incredibly detailed snowflake Bundt tin that I used for this cake, alongside is Wilton bake easy, cake release spray. I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to use cake release spray (or the brush on version) for this tin. I tried this recipe, brushing the tin with melted butter, as I have with previous Bundt bakes and the cake stuck. Badly. It was an epic disaster. I even cried – how silly is that? Determined not to be beaten by a cake tin AND with lots of tips and advice from my Bundt baker friends on Twitter, I rebaked the cake and SUCCESS. Let me tell you, this Sparkling Snowflake Cake is the sweet taste of success 😉

Snowflake Bundt tin and cake release spray.
Snowflake Bundt tin and cake release spray.

 

Now time to share how I made this wonder.

Recipe: Makes one Sparkling Snowflake Cake that will serve 12

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

225g/8oz Caster Sugar

225g/8oz Selfraising White Flour

4 Large Eggs

1tsp Vanilla Extract

1/4tsp Salt

100g Icing Sugar

Edible glitter in the colour of your choice

Method: Preheat oven to 175C/160C fan

Thoroughly spray or brush the Bundt tin with cake release. I will not judge if you want to give it a double coating (I did!).

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

Add the salt, vanilla extract, one third of the flour and 2 eggs. Mix until just incorporated.

Add another third of flour and the last 2 eggs and mix as before.

Add the last third of flour and gently mix into the cake batter until incorporated, taking care not to over mix.

Spoon the cake batter into the Bundt tin ensuring it is evenly spread into all the points.

Ready to go into the oven.
Ready to go into the oven.

Place the tin in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.

The cake is cooked when pressed lightly in the center and it springs back, or an inserted skewer comes out clean.

When baked remove from the oven and place the tin on a cooling rack or trivet.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin.
Invert the tin onto a cooling rack.
Invert the tin onto a cooling rack.

Leave for another 5 minutes if the cake doesn’t turn out immediately gently shake the tin the cake should release from the tin.

If the cake still will not turn out, gently go around the ouside of the cake with a small palette knife. Re-invert the tin onto a cooling rack, the cake should release easily.

Note: The more you use the Bundt tin the more non stick it becomes.

Sparkling Snowflake Cake look at the beautiful detail.
Sparkling Snowflake Cake look at the beautiful detail.
Sparkling Snowflake Cake dusted with flavoured icing sugar.
Sparkling Snowflake Cake dusted with flavoured icing sugar.

I made a small batch of royal icing, lightly tinted pink and piped detail onto the outer points. Edible diamonds were placed in the round dips, as seen in the photo below.

Sparkling Snowflake Cake edible diamonds, edible glitter and piping add an extra special touch to this already beautiful cake.
Sparkling Snowflake Cake edible diamonds, edible glitter and piping add an extra special touch to this already beautiful cake.

 

My Sparkling Snowflake Cake is as beautiful as it is delicious. It would make the perfect gift as would the tin – hint, hint, for all you Bundt lovers out there 😉

Sparkling Snowflake Cake perfect for Christmas and celebrating www.feastingisfun.com
Sparkling Snowflake Cake perfect for Christmas and celebrating www.feastingisfun.com

If you have Disney’s Frozen fans in your household, a touch of blue, or all white and this cake will have them singing “Let it snow!”

Do you love Bundt tins? If so, are there any tips you would like to pass on?

If you love this Sparkling Snowflake Cake and want other Christmas recipes take a look at these:

Chocolate Sparkle Cake

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas

Sammie xx

Note: all italic links provided purely to aid sourcing products. This is not a sponsored post.

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Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies. Just think on the deliciousness that is these chocolatey wonders.

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies utterly delicious Christmas treats. www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies utterly delicious Christmas treats. www.feastingisfun.com

Hello everyone how is the run up to Christmas going for you?

This time of year can be completely manic and overwhelming for me and strange as it may seem, a day spent baking and creating, although a luxury, is a great way for me to chill out and really enjoy the festive season.

I have baked these Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies twice now, the second batch was larger because they disappeared so quickly the first time!

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies baking these is the perfect way to get into the festive mood, or escape the seasonal mayhem. www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies baking these is the perfect way to get into the festive mood, or escape the seasonal mayhem. www.feastingisfun.com

Ah the look on our little (teenagers but still my babies) cherubs face as I give these cookies away is priceless! I thought I’d done a pretty good job as a mum, teaching them to share. Apparently not!!! I’m sure these cookies would be kept in a locked safe if our children had their way.

Rich chocolate cookies, with a hint of brownie flavour, topped with melted white chocolate and sprinkles. Utterly divine, decadent and delicious.

The chocolate smell as these cookies bake will have people knocking at your front door, drawn by the aroma. If it could be bottled, the chocolate smell would be a hit. As it is, we get to bake the cookies and then eat them – sharing of course!

Really I would recommend making a double batch of the cookie dough, it’s hardly any extra effort and you can choose to bake all the cookies in one hit, or leave half of the dough in the fridge for up to a week.

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies perfect to make, bake and decorate with children. www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies perfect to make, bake and decorate with children. www.feastingisfun.com

My Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies make perfect presents. Pop a few in a cellophane bag, tie with pretty ribbon and hand out to friends, family, neighbours, the postman. I honestly don’t think a gift made with love by ourselves can be beaten.

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies a great gift for anyone who live cookies - like me!!! www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies a great gift for anyone who loves cookies – like me!!! www.feastingisfun.com

Making these cookies is a whizz! The cookie dough comes together in moments, it is then rolled into a log and wrapped in cling film and refrigerated  until it is firm. The chocolate, dough log is then sliced and the slices are baked. Once cool, the cookies have their cream (melted white chocolate) added, sprinkle on some holly and wait for the chocolate to set. Then eat!! Quite simple really 😉

Recipe : Makes approx 25 Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter – at room temperature

150g/5oz Light Soft Brown Sugar

1 Large Egg Yolk

1tsp Vanilla Extract

1/4tsp Salt

225g/8oz Plain White Flour

50g/2oz Cocoa Powder

100g/4oz White Chocolate

Sprinkles for the top of the cookies, I’ve used holly leaves and berries.

Method:

Place the butter and sugar into a large bowl. Whisk until light and fluffy.
Place the butter and sugar into a large bowl. Whisk until light and fluffy.
Add the egg yolk, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk until fully incorporated.
Add the egg yolk, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk until fully incorporated.
Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl. Mix slowly until you have all the ingredients are combined.
Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl. Mix slowly until you have all the ingredients combined.
You now have a bowl of the most delicious chocolate cookie dough!
You now have a bowl of the most delicious chocolate cookie dough!

Wipe your work surface with a clean, damp, cloth. Lay a good length of cling film onto the damp surface – the water ‘sticks’ the cling film in place so that it stays flat and doesn’t move.

 

Place the dough onto the cling film in a rough sausage shape.
Place the dough onto the cling film in a rough sausage shape.
Wrap the dough up and roll the dough into a sausage shape approx 1.5"/3.5cm diameter.
Wrap the dough up and roll the dough into a sausage shape approx 1.5″/3.5cm diameter.

Place the dough log into the fridge for at least 2 hours (it will keep for a week, well wrapped). The dough log needs to be cold and firm before you can slice the cookies.

Preheat the oven to 175C/160C fan. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper (you may need to cook the cookies in batches). Remove the chocolate dough log from the fridge. Dont worry if the bottomof the log has flatted slightly, it just adds to the christmas pudding look.

 

Unwrap the cookie dough and slice into individual cookies approx 1cm/0.5" thick.
Unwrap the cookie dough and slice into individual cookies approx 1cm/0.5″ thick.
Place the uncooked cookies onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, allowing room for expansion between each cookie.
Place the uncooked cookies onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, allowing room for expansion between each cookie.

Place the baking trays into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, depending how thick/big your cookies are. My cookies took 20 minutes to bake.

It is difficult to tell when the cookies are cooked, due to their colour! They are baked when the surface looks dull however, they don’t set hard until cooled.

Once baked remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes on the baking tray (it is fine to leave them to cool completely on the tray) you can then move them, using a palette knife to a cooling rack. If after 10 minutes cooling they break  when trying to transfer them, pop them back into the oven for another 5 minutes.

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies place onto a cooling rack to cool completely before icing. www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies place onto a cooling rack to cool completely before icing. www.feastingisfun.com

Once the cookies have completely cooled it’s time to get creative and frost them WITH CHOCOLATE!!!!

Chop or break up your white chocolate and place into a heat proof bowl. Either place the bowl on top of a saucepan as I did here  Chocolate Sparkle Cake , or melt the chocolate using a microwave, on medium setting, in short 20 second bursts, stirring after each zap! Remove the bowl just before the chocolate is completely melted and stir continuosly, the heat already in the bowl will melt the remaining chocolate.

Note: When making these cookies with children, if the bowl is hot, decant the melted chocolate into a cool bowl before decorating the cookies.

Melt the white chocolate.
Melt the white chocolate.

Using a teaspoon, place the melted chocolate on the top of the cookie, encouraging it to ‘drip’ down the ‘christmas pudding’ with the back of the spoon.

Place the chocolate covered cookie onto parchment paper, sprinkle on your chosen decoration and leave to set.
Place the chocolate covered cookie onto parchment paper, sprinkle on your chosen decoration and leave to set.

The effect is so easy, yet incredible. These Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies really do look like the real thing with cream dripping down from the top.

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies a double batch production!! www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies a double batch production!! www.feastingisfun.com

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies last for a week in an air tight container. I used a tin to store ours in and placed a piece of parchment paper between each layer, to keep the cookie’s presentation perfect. This is good advice if you are cooking alone and making these ahead of time.

When baking and decorating these with children, to be completely honest, you will be very lucky to even see the chocolate set!! So it’s rather a nice idea to have some already made and packaged in small cellophane bags, tied with ribbon. This way the children can take home extra cookies to share with their families.

I’m assuming everyone bakes with their children and their friends, when they come round for tea???

If you are a teacher/teaching assistant/child minder or Sunday school teacher, making the undecorated biscuits ahead of time and then letting little and big kids alike decorate their own, is a wonderful pre-Christmas activity.

 

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies simply delicious www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies simply delicious www.feastingisfun.com

Whatever you do and whoever you bake the with and for, I hope you have lots of fun and the Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies bring smiles from all who see and eat them!

As well as these Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies you may like these other Christmas Bakes:

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies

FF Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies
Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies can you stop at one?

Sparkling Snowflake Cake

FF Sparkling Snowflake Cake
Sparkling Snowflake Cake edible diamonds and a dusting of flavoured icing sugar set this cake off www.feastingisfun.com

Please post photos of your cookies on Twitter and tag me in @sammiefeasting. I would love to see what fantastic decorations and creations you bake?

Do you enjoy the build upto Christmas or dread it?

Sammie xx

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Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies

Ok, please don’t hate me? I know it’s only October and yes I am posting a recipe for mince pies. Just hear me out for a sec please?

These Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies are totally, out of this world amazing and it would be completely unfair for me to have waited any longer to share these with you.

Phew! I said it.

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies can you stop at one? www.feastingisfun.com
Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies can you stop at one? www.feastingisfun.com

 

Just look at them. They are so cute and little and perfectly bite size. They’ve even got a dusting of snow.

Tell me you’re not interested now – thought so!!

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies mouthfuls of ultimate deliciousness www.feastingisfun.com
Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies mouthfuls of ultimate deliciousness www.feastingisfun.com

 

Who would have thought of putting Cream Cheese in pastry??? Well, actually this recipe is based on a Pampered Chef recipe I jotted down years ago at one of their parties. They (the Pampered Chef’s) are masters of quick, delicious, recipes and whilst their cooking and bakeware may be a little on the pricey side, it lasts forever. This isn’t a sponsored post, I genuinely love their stuff.

Anyway, back to the pastry. I first saw this made and demonstarted at a Pampered Chef Party (if you host one you get great discounts – just saying!). The Cream Cheese Pastry was used to make some mini Pecan Pies and delicious they were too.

Now me being me, I like to fiddle around with recipes. The pastry has a subtle, yet beautiful tang to it and I just knew it would pair beautifully with sweet mincemeat. Thus was born the Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies.

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies so beautiful, easy and delicious www.feastingisfun.com
Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies so beautiful, easy and delicious www.feastingisfun.com

 

With recipes I tend to be a bit of a rebel. If someone tells me something isn’t going to work, I want to know why and then try to figure out a way to make it work.

It was heavily stressed, during the cooking demonstration, that this pastry could not be rolled out. Well I just had to take that as a challenge and prove them wrong. And so I did.

The Cream Cheese Pastry is unbelivably soft, which is why it produces such a tender crumb. However, if you chill it for long enough and work quickly and methodically with it, then my lovelies, you sure can roll it out. This little tip transforms a one recipe pastry into a whole new realm of possibilities, includung my Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies!

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies perfect for sharing www.feastingisfun.com
Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies perfect for sharing www.feastingisfun.com

 

Having never made anything bigger than a regular sized mince pie, using this pastry, I am doubtful it woud have the strength to hold together for a large tart. But I am willing to be corrected. Indeed I think now I’ve written that, I may have set myself a challenge!!!

Aside from the deliciousness that this pastry brings to the mince pies, it is so easy to make. No mixer, food processor, just a bowl and a fork – really it’s that simple. Here I’ll show you how.

Recipe : Makes 36 mini Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies (approx 18 regular sized ones)

225g/8oz Very Soft Unsalted Butter

200g/7oz Cream Cheese – I used Philladelphia (own brand products work just fine)

275g/10oz Plain White Flour

Sweet Mincement

Jam any flavour

Method :

Add the butter and cream cheese to the flour in a large bowl.
Add the butter and cream cheese to the flour in a large bowl.
Using a fork gently mix the 3 ingredients together to form a dough.
Using a fork gently mix the 3 ingredients together to form a dough.
Form the pastry dough into a disc, wrap tightly in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Form the pastry dough into a disc, wrap tightly in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.

 

A good tip, as this dough warms up very easily, is to have everything you need to make the pies, ready before you start rolling the dough.

Also preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan.

On a well floured surface, break off 2/3 of the dough and roll out to 1/2cm.
On a well floured surface, break off 2/3 of the dough and roll out to 1/2cm.
Ensure you have plenty of flour, cutters and a palette knife handy.
Ensure you have plenty of flour, cutters and a palette knife handy.

 

Due to the high fat content I never grease my tin. Feel free to do so if you are unsure of it’s non stick ability.

Line your tin with pastry cups.
Line your tin with pastry cups.

 

Gather up the pastry and re-roll if needed to cut all of your pie bases out. Make sure you have plenty of flour on the work top, otherwise this pastry will stick.

If the pastry does start to get too sticky, wrap up in cling film and pop back in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Fill your pastry cups with mincemeat or alternatively jam.
Fill your pastry cups with mincemeat or alternatively jam.

 

Important: do not overfill your pastry cups, you will literally just end up with a heated mess.

I used a scant 1/2 teaspoon of filling in each of my mini pies.

You can see the 2 vertical lines on the left are filled with blackberry jam – youngest daughter not keen on mince pies!

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies - use a cutter that just fits the top of your pies.
Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies – use a cutter that just fits the top of your pies.

 

Use the reserved third of pastry for rolling out the lids.

By placing different shaped lids on the pies you can vary the filling and know which pie is which.

I sprinkled a little demerera sugar on the star topped mince pies for sparkle.

Place into a preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until puffed and golden.

Once baked, remove from the oven and immediately remove the pies from the tin and place on a cooling rack. Be careful the filling is extremely hot.

 

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies tempting, tasty, treats www.feastingisfun.com
Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies tempting, tasty, treats www.feastingisfun.com

These Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies are delicious warm just as they are, or drizzled with cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream……

They can be kept at room temperature for 3 days in an airtight container, or frozen, once cold for one month. Perfect to make before Christmas and stash in the deep freeze.

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies keep a close eye on these, they always disappear too quickly! www.feastingisfun.com
Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies keep a close eye on these, they always disappear too quickly! www.feastingisfun.com

 

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies are a revelation on your taste buds. Not sugar coated, overly sweet, pre-packeged shop bought ones, perfectly balanced homemade delights.

Is it too early for Christmas baking for you?

If you enjoyed this recipe, you’ll love this,

Apple Pie

Sammie x

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Double Chocolate Brazil Nut Cookies

Ooh Delicious Double Chocolate Brazil Nut Cookies, sound scrummy, taste amazing!!
Double Chocolate Brazil Nut Cookies a perfect way to use up nuts after Christmas and totally delicious to boot!! www.feastingisfun.com
Double Chocolate Brazil Nut Cookies a perfect way to use up nuts after Christmas and totally delicious to boot!! www.feastingisfun.com
Today’s activities have been dictated by the weather!!!  Actually not such a bad thing.  I decided originally to make jam today, however it’s not raining and will be later on today, tomorrow, the next day, so on and so forth.  Jam is most definitely a wet weather activity at this time of year – especially as I hadn’t yet put my Daffodil bulbs and Viola plants into the front garden flower bed.

I had actually resigned myself (given the very sorry state the Viola plants were in) to not being able to get this last bit of gardening done this year.  My back has been playing up and as long as I’m  up and about my priority for any given day is to try and get dinner sorted – in the morning, if possible, as my pain levels increase during the day.  Also if I can get a wash load on that’s a bonus.

I know it sounds pathetic, but that simply is how it is.  I always try and focus on the positive aspects of the day.  If I started to look too closely as what I’ve not achieved I think that could lead me into a downward spiral – and that’s not the person I chose to be. Don’t get me wrong, there are days (weeks) that are harder than others and it does occasionally get me down, but I’m an optimistic person by nature, so I chose to look at the good things in my life.

 

I’m loved, more than I could ever imagine by The Most Amazing God, I have a wonderful family who also love and accept me.  Friends that love and accept me despite my inability to be reliable or commit properly to something.  I have a lot to be thankful for.

So today was the day for jam making,  Except the weather’s good and jam  can be made on rainy days!!  I didn’t abort all cooking attempts though and decided to see whether some ‘left over’ chocolate covered Brazil nuts would make nice cookies? Oh yeah they do!!

Double Chocolate Brazil Nut Cookies

Recipe:

5oz  Dark Brown Muscavado Sugar

8oz  Unsalted Butter – room temp

1  Egg yolk – pref free range

1tsp  Vanilla Extract

1/4tsp  Salt

6oz  Plain White Flour

2oz  Cocoa Powder

2oz  Shelled Brazil Nuts – chopped finely, to the same consistency of ground almonds

6oz  Chocolate Covered Brazil Nuts

(or 3oz  Shelled Brazil Nuts and 3oz  Milk Chocolate Chunks)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 175C (160C fan)

Place the sugar and butter into a large bowl (I’ve used a clear glass jug as it’s easy to check that all the dry ingredient have been mixed in, later on).

The dark muscavado sugar gives the cookies a lovely depth of flavour, without tasting too sweet!
The dark muscavado sugar gives the cookies a lovely depth of flavour, without tasting too sweet!

Whisk (or beat vigorously) the butter and sugar together until completely combined and paler in colour.  Whisk in the egg yolk, salt and vanilla extract.

The whisked mixture will be darker than when using white sugar.
The whisked mixture will be darker than when using white sugar.

Now take the 2oz of shelled Brazil nuts and  either using a mini-chopper or food processor, chop finely until it has the same texture of ground almonds.  Add these finely chopped nuts, the cocoa and the flour to the bowl.

In this recipe I've substituted 4oz of flour with 2oz of both Cocoa powder and finely chopped Brazil nuts.
In this recipe I’ve substituted 4oz of flour with 2oz of both Cocoa powder and finely chopped Brazil nuts.

Now chop the chocolate covered Brazil nuts roughly (do the same for plain Brazils if using).

Don't chop too finely as you want some nice, nutty crunch to your finished cookie!!
Don’t chop too finely as you want some nice, nutty crunch to your finished cookie!!

Add the roughly chopped Brazils and gently mix all the dry ingredients into the sugar/butter mix.  Make sure you combine all the dry ingredients that have dropped to the bottom of the bowl.  Once everything is combined STOP!! If you overwork the mixture the dough will become tough and will affect the finished cookie.

Next, using a desert spoon and eating knife, drop golf ball sized dollops of the cookie dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Aim for a roughly circular dollop of cookie dough!!
Aim for a roughly circular dollop of cookie dough!!

Dampen your hand and gently press down on the cookie dough to slightly flatten it.  This mixture is very sticky so you may need to rinse your hands, in cold water, in between squishing the cookie dough.

Place in the preheated oven and cook for 20-25 minutes.  Keep a close eye on your cookies whilst cooking, it’s much harder to tell if chocolate cookies are burnt by sight!!  the cookies are ready when the tops have a sugary, slightly shiny surface.  When cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely and firm up on the baking sheet.

Double Chocolate Brazil Nut Cookies- the perfect way to use up leftover Christmas nuts www.feastingisfun.com
Double Chocolate Brazil Nut Cookies- the perfect way to use up leftover Christmas nuts www.feastingisfun.com

It’s time to pop the kettle on!!!  Place the cold cookies in an airtight container, or pop a few into cellophane bags tied with pretty ribbon and give as gifts

I’m sharing mine with my official ‘Taste Tester’ the Green Goddess, whose honest feedback and encouragement is invaluable.

It really is so much more fun sharing what you’ve baked with others – and they enjoy it too!!

Sammie x

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