Amaretto Light Fruit Cake

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So, is anybody else starting to get excited about Christmas yet? Especially as Stir up Sunday is this weekend. Stir Up Sunday has its roots in the Anglican Church Book of Common Prayer, being the last Sunday before the beginning of Advent. It reads: “Stir up, we beseech thee oh Lord, the wills of thy faithful people.” Since Victorian times home cooks have traditionally made Christmas pudding on this Sunday. Although, more recently, the day itself is set aside to make Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and mince pies. This Amaretto Light Fruit Cake is a lighter, modern twist on a traditional Christmas cake. Most importantly, it can be made up to a few days before Christmas!

 

Amaretto Light Fruit Cake.

Since not everyone is a fan of the traditional, iced, spiced, dried fruit Christmas cake, creating a lighter version is not only delicious but also fun! And, because I know how time strapped the lead up to Christmas can be, as well as making this cake from scratch I have also included a super easy hack using a widely available cake mix. I really have thought of everything, so that you can enjoy baking your cake.

Amaretto Light Fruit Cake – Not Just For Christmas 

Because this cake is so tasty, making it shouldn’t only mean for Christmas. I originally made this cake for our son’s birthday in October. Since he requested Christmas Cake for his birthday celebration I compromised and made this lighter version with the addition of almond liqueur. After posting a photo of his birthday cake on Instagram I received lots of requests for the recipe. Resulting in me trialling Wright’s Baking Madeira Cake Mix with the same mix of fruit and liqueur.

Cut amaretto light fruit cake on a cake plate with a slice of cake on a separate plate. A bottle of Disaronno liqueur and packet of cake mix.
Amaretto Light Fruit Cake using Wright’s Madeira cake mix.

The resulting cake is an absolute hit. So, no matter which version of the cake you choose to make, they are both delicious. For those who would rather not add alcohol simply leave it out of the recipe. Using almond extract as an alternative, in my opinion would totally change the cake’s flavour. And so is not something I would recommend.

Original birthday cake version of this amaretto light fruit cake.
Baked from scratch Amaretto Light Fruit Cake.

The cake’s texture is moist and light with the fruit evenly distributed throughout. Either serve with a hot cup of tea, or a glass of Amaretto. Since both compliment this cake equally well. Because this cake does contain alcohol make sure that those who are eating it are aware. Finally, adding extra liqueur to the cake will result in a very strong alcohol flavour which doesn’t evaporate during baking. I speak from experience!

Recipe: Amaretto Light Fruit Cake – serves 10-12

Cake Made From Scratch:

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

225g/8oz Caster Sugar

1/4tsp Sea Salt – halve if using free flowing salt

4 Large Free Range Eggs

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey 

75g/3oz Ground Almonds

325g/11oz Self Raising Flour – alternately use the same quantity of plain flour and add 1tbsp baking powder

400g/14oz Mixed Dried Vine Fruits – I use a mix without citrus peel

200g/7oz Glacé Cherries

60ml or 4tbsp Amaretto Almond Liqueur

Using Wright’s Baking Madeira Cake Mix:

1 x Wright’s Baking Madeira Cake Mix

60ml Flavourless Vegetable Oil – I use sunflower oil

60ml or 4tbsp Amaretto Almond Liqueur

140ml Plain Tap Water

375g/13oz Dried Vine Fruits

200g/7oz Glacé Cherries

Method:

For both cakes use an 8in x 4in (20cm x 10cm) round cake tin that is thoroughly greased with butter and line the base with baking parchment. Note – cut out two circles of baking parchment per cake. One to line the base and the second to place on the top of the cake if it browns too quickly while baking.

Making And Baking The Cake From Scratch

  • First of all, preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3, 325F.
  • Place the butter, salt and sugar into a large bowl and whisk together until pale and creamy.
  • Next add one egg plus one tablespoon of flour and whisk together until just incorporated. Repeat this step three times until all four eggs have been added.
  • Now add the vanilla extract and amaretto and whisk to combine.
  • Sift the remaining flour (and baking powder) into the bowl and add the ground almonds. Stir together using a large metal spoon.
  • Finally add the dried vine fruit and glacé cherries.
Showing the stages followed to create the fruity batter.
Creating the fruit and amaretto cake batter.
  • Mix the dried fruits into the cake batter .
  • Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin, ensuring the top of the mixture is smooth.
  • Place the cake into the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. If the cake starts browning too quickly place the spare circle of baking parchment on top of the cake.
  • The cake is baked when an inserted skewer comes out clean. If raw cake batter clings to the skewer return cake to oven for a further 15 minutes baking then check again.
  • As soon as the cake is baked remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.
Steps showing the cake tin filled with fruity cake batter and after it is baked.
Filling the cake tin and baking the cake.

Using The Wright’s Baking Madeira Cake Mix

  • First of all preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3, 325F.
  • Into a large bowl add the oil, amaretto liqueur and water. Then add the cake mix from the packet.
  • Follow the packet instructions to mix the cake batter.
  • Add the dried vine fruits and glacé cherries and mix into the batter with a large metal spoon.
  • Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top.
  • Place the cake into the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. This is longer than the time given on the packet due to the addition of fruit.
  • If the cake starts browning too quickly place the spare circle of baking parchment on top of the cake.
  • The cake is baked when an inserted skewer comes out clean. If raw cake batter clings to the skewer return cake to oven for a further 15 minutes baking then check again.
  • As soon as the cake is baked remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.

Removing Either Cake From It’s Tin And Serving

  • As soon as the cake is cooled it can be released from the tin.
  • Run a palette knife between the outside edge of the cake and inside of the tin.
  • Turn the cake out carefully.
  • Remove the baking parchment circle from the cake base.
  • Place the cake onto a cake plate, cake stand, or board.
Lighter alternative to a traditional Christmas cake.
Amaretto Light Fruit Cake

 

Overhead image of sliced cake served with a glass of amaretto liqueur.
Amaretto Light Fruit Cake

Either cake will keep for up to a week when stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge. Alternatively, as this cake takes minimal preparation compared to a traditional Christmas cake, it can be made and baked the evening before it is needed.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Amaretto Light Fruit Cake you may also like these:

Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake

Dundee Fruit Cake on a white cake stand.
Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake

 

Chocolate Marble Celebration Cake

Chocolate marble celebration cake filled with Maltesers
Chocolate Marble Celebration Cake

 

Snowy Black Forest Roulade – gluten free

Gluten free chocolate roulade filled with cherries and fresh cream, topped with chocolate trees and snow.
Gluten Free Snowy Black Forest Roulade

 

Christmas really is the time of year when we think of others. Whether it’s family coming to stay, friends popping by for a drink and nibbles, or others in society that do not have the home comforts we enjoy. Making an extra cake, mince pies, or cookies to give out may take little effort from us, yet mean the world to those they are gifted to. So this coming Christmas, I challenge you, as I do myself, to actively give to those in need. Just as our Heavenly Father freely gave His only Son Jesus to the world that we may know Him. Emmanuel – God with us.

From our home to yours, wishing you a very Happy Christmas.

Sammie xx

 

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Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares

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First of all I want to wish all of my readers a very happy Christmas. And I have a festive looking and delicious sweet treat for you, my Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares. So, close your eyes and imagine biting into a luxury shortbread base, covered in caramel and then topped with velvety smooth chocolate. Finally a festive finish with contrasting white chocolate stars. Christmas in a bite!

FF Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares
Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares a delicious homemade treat.

Christmas Chocolate Sparkle:

Although I attempted to make these last year, also at Christmas time, it resulted in a big mess! Because of lacking confidence the caramel wasn’t cooked for long enough and didn’t set. And this only became apparent after chilling for a good length of time in the fridge. Resulting in an oozing, caramel mess when the squares were cut. So it was time for me to attempt the caramel again.

Since I never give up on a challenge, even if it has taken a whole year, I decided to start again from scratch. First of all a new shortbread recipe for the base. Last year’s attempt used a cookie recipe. Followed by nothing short of sheer bravery, when making the caramel. Please don’t be scared or alarmed, I will talk you through each step, so that you will have success first time and every time you make the caramel. Finally, the chocolate topping needed no alteration. Although I’ve improved the cutting technique, which minimises the risk of the chocolate cracking.

FF Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares
Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares layers of shortbread, caramel and chocolate.

Falling For A Millionaire

Now, I am not known for my sweet tooth – Caramac is an entirely different matter😉 – however, these squares may very well be my undoing. Years ago, when our children were young, a group of us mums would meet up regularly. We all, at that time, had girls who were friends at school. Meeting up gave the girls an opportunity to play together and allowed us mums to get to know each other. 10 years on, I now count two of those wonderful ladies as my best friends.

Overhead image of festive sweet bakes decorated with white chocolate stars. Votive candles are placed on the slate platter.
Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares

One particular time, we met up at my friend Lizzie-Lou’s house. Let me tell you, that lady can cook AND bake! That morning she had been busy in the kitchen, baking with her two gorgeous girls. I honestly cannot remember what they made, except for Millionaires Shortbread. Having never tasted it before I tentatively took a square AND then another. I was hooked! Everything about me shouldn’t have enjoyed the sweet, chocolate covered wonders. But I did, ooh I so did. I’m embarrassed now to think back and wonder how many squares I ate. I simply couldn’t stop!

FF Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares
Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares perfect for sharing.

Friends For Life:

So this post and this recipe are dedicated to my beautiful friends Lizzie-Lou and K. For the love, friendship and support they have given and continue to give. I have learned so much from both of them and wherever we may be, we will always be friends. Looking back over the years, they have truly proven the backbone of this blog. That is, that food really does taste better when it is shared and feasting is fun when friends or family take part.

Recipe: Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares makes 18

For The Shortbread Base:

300g/10oz Plain White Flour

200g/7oz Unsalted Butter – softened

100g/4oz Caster Sugar

1 Large Free Range Egg

1/4tsp Salt – I use Maldon

2tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – I use Nielsen-Massey

For The Caramel Middle:

100g/4oz Golden Syrup

150g/5oz Unsalted Butter

379g Can of Condensed Milk – I use Carnation

1/8tsp Salt

For The Chocolate Topping:

200g/7oz Milk Chocolate

100g/4oz Dark Chocolate

White Chocolate Stars – available from Waitrose

Method: Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan, gas mark 3, 325F.

Lightly butter a 28cm x 20cm x 5cm (11″x 8″x 2″) swiss roll tin and line with baking parchment.

Making The Shortbread Base:

  • First of all, add the softened butter, caster sugar, vanilla bean paste and salt into a large bowl. Whisk until pale and creamy.
  • Next sift in the plain flour and then stir with a spoon until the whole shortbread dough comes together.
  • Tip the shortbread dough into the prepared tin and then using the back of a spoon press the dough evenly into the tin.
  • Prick the shortbread dough all over with a fork. This will stop any air bubbles forming under the cooked shortbread.
  • Now place the tin into the centre of the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time turn the tin around, this helps the shortbread  to bake evenly
  • The shortbread is baked when it is a golden colour and firm to touch.
  • As soon as the shortbread is baked remove the tin from the oven and set to one side.
FF Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares
The shortbread layer. Chilling the dough will give a smoother result.

Making The Caramel Centre:

  • Add the butter, golden syrup and condensed milk to a medium sized saucepan, over a medium heat.
  • Stir continuously until the butter is melted, then increase the heat to bring the liquid up to a bubbling boil. Continue to stir. The mixture will gradually become thicker and as it does it will darken.
  • Once thickened, remove the caramel mixture from the heat and spoon over the cooled shortbread.
  • Using an offset palette knife spread the caramel so that it completely covers the shortbread.
  • Set the caramel shortbread to one side to cool completely.
FF Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares
Making the caramel layer.

Creating The Chocolate Topping And Adding Decorations:

  • Break the chocolate up and place into a heatproof, microwaveable bowl.
  • Heat the chocolate for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between.
  • As soon as the chocolate has started to melt, remove the bowl from the microwave and stir. Continue stirring until the chocolate is completely liquid. If needed, zap the chocolate in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time, until the chocolate has completely melted.
  • Pour the melted chocolate over the caramel covered shortbread. Again using a clean, offset spatula to spread it evenly.
  • Now, take the tin and rap it against the worktop 3 times. This brings any air bubbles to the surface and leaves the chocolate surface completely smooth.
  • Finally scatter over white chocolate stars and then set to one side to cool.
FF Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares
Melting the chocolate, covering and decorating the Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares.
  • When the chocolate has just set, use a sharp knife to score through the chocolate layer, in the tin, creating the squares. Doing so enables a crisp, clean cut after the chocolate is chilled. Therefore removing the risk of the chocolate shattering on cutting after chilling.
  • Place the tin into the fridge for a couple of hours to completely firm up.
  • Once chilled, remove the slab of chocolate and caramel covered shortbread from the tin, using the parchment paper to help ease it out.
  • Finally, cut through, where the score marks are, so that you have 18 pieces of Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares.
FF Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares
Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares, use a ruler to measure if you prefer each square to be the same size.

Enjoying These Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares At Their Best:

Serve with a smile and something delicious to drink. Either a hot not-too-sweet beverage, alternatively they pair very well with Brandy. Since it is the Season to be Merry!

These Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares are not overly sweet. There is a pleasant balance of flavours that are just sweet enough and they are extremely more-ish 😉.

FF Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares
Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares delicious eaten by candlelight with hot chocolate.

The Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares can be kept in an airtight container for up to one week. In warm weather keep them in the fridge.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares here are some others you may also like:

Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars

FF Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares
Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars

Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies

FF Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares
Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies

Crunchy Vanilla Shortbread

FF Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares
Crunchy Vanilla Shortbread

Traybakes are so versatile. Since they travel well and are ideal, individually wrapped, as an addition to packed lunches and picnics. And so they make ideal Christmas gifts wrapped in cellophane with a big, festive bow. Because Christmas is the season to share, why not hand out bags of these squares to thank your post lady, delivery men, garbage collectors, anyone who would appreciate a thank you.

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun, relax, laugh and enjoy your feast in the company of others.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf

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Christmas is only four weeks away and I am thoroughly enjoying the build up. Especially when it comes to creating new recipes to share with you here. Food is a big part of our Christmas, with tradition dictating our ham is cooked on Christmas Eve, as well as fresh sausage rolls and mince pies. And this year there will definitely be a Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf on offer for breakfast on the big day itself. Filling the house with scents of Christmas spice, as it is sliced and toasted.

FF Spiced Christmas Fruit Loaf
Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf delicious toasted for breakfast.

Packed full of dried fruits including dates, cherries and cranberries, in a brioche style loaf. While the added milk, eggs and butter used in a Brioche give it a wonderfully soft crumb. Perfect for eating sliced as is, or toasted and slathered in butter, this loaf really does smell and taste of Christmas.

FF Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf
Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf egg wash gives the bronzed, glossy top when baked.

Creating a flavour packed sweet bread loaf

Using the best Medjool Dates from The Medjool Date Company, certainly enhances the taste of this loaf. While sweeter than my Spiced Fruit Loaf, it does not hold back on the Christmas spices of Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg and Allspice. Resulting in the most amazing aroma, filling the kitchen and then the house, as this beautifully bronzed loaf bakes.

FF Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf
Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf perfect with a cup of tea mid afternoon.

Baked in the British Bakeware, 3lb Farmhouse Loaf Tin, this fruited bread never sticks. And the deep sides of the tin ensure the dough is supported as it rises. Resulting in an evely risen loaf, without a muffin top. The advantage being, a great shaped loaf that is easy to slice and the slices fit in the toaster. Also, this loaf tin has become a treasured piece of kitchen bakeware.

Recipe: Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf

2 Large Free Range Eggs

Approx 320mls Whole Milk – to make volume to 350mls when added to eggs

1tsp Caster Sugar

7g Easy Bake Dried Yeast – I use Allinson in the green container/sachets

500g/1lb 2oz Strong White Flour

50g/2oz Unsalted Butter – at room temperature and cut into cubes plus extra for greasing the loaf tin

7g Salt – I use Maldon

1tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – I use Nielsen-Massey

2tsp Ground Cinnamon

1tsp Ground Ginger

1tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg

1/2tsp Ground Allspice

100g/4oz Medjool Dates – I like The Medjool Date Co.

100g/4oz Dried Cranberries

50g/2oz Glacé Cherries

1 Egg whisked with a teaspoon of water for the egg wash

Method:

A stand mixer was used to make and knead the dough for this loaf. You may choose to make this by hand, however, the dough is incredibly sticky. So using a mixer is recommended.

Making the Christmas spiced fruit dough

  • First of all, measure 320mls of milk into a microwaveable jug. Zap on full power for 20 seconds. Stir and check the temperature, it should be the same as body temperature.
  • Into the slightly warmed (not fridge cold) milk add 2 whole eggs. The volume should be 350mls. Tip away any small excess of milk.
  • Pour the milk and eggs into the large bowl of a stand mixer.
  • Next add the sugar and yeast. Stir with a sooon to break up the eggs and mix the ingredients.
  • Now add the flour, on top of the liquid ingredients. This forms a barrier so that the yeast does not come into direct contact with the next addition, salt.
  • Add the salt and cubes of butter.
  • Fit a dough hook to the stand mixer and mix on a slow speed for 10 minutes.
  • While the dough is mixing prepare the fruit; remove stones from the dates and cut in half, cut each half into four pieces. Next cut each glacé cherry into quarters. Place the cranberries, cherries and dates in a bowl together.
  • After 10 minutes of mixing, stop the mixer and lift the dough hook. Remove a small piece of dough and stretch it. The dough is properly kneaded when it can stretch, without tearing, thinly enough to see light through it. This is called the windowpane test. If the dough tears, lower the dough hook and continue mixing for a further 2 minutes, after which test it again.

Adding fruit and spices to the dough

  • Once the dough passes the windowpane test, add the fruit and spices.
  • Lower the dough hook and mix again on low speed for a further 2 minutes.
  • After the fruit is incorporated stop the mixer and lift the dough hook.
  • Use clean fingers to scrape the dough from the hook and place it in the bowl.
FF Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf
The prepared fruit and dough ready for it’s first prove.
  • Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and place it somewhere warm and away from draughts.
  • Now leave the dough to double in size.
  • NOTE: The presence of spices will slow down the action of the yeast. Therefore, the dough may take longer, up to 2 hours or more, to double in size.

Shaping the dough and proving for a second time

  • While the dough is proving thoroughly grease a 3lb deep farmhouse loaf tin with butter.
  • When the dough has at least doubled in size, scrape it out on to a lightly floured surface.
  • Press the dough into a rough rectangular shape. Now fold the bottom third up and then fold the top third down, so that it slightly overlaps the previous fold.
  • Finally, tuck either end under, so that you have an oval-ish shape. Place the shaped dough into the buttered loaf tin. Cover with the same tea towel as before and leave, as before until doubled in size.
  • While the dough is proving preheat the oven to 220/200fan, gas mark 7, 425F.
  • As soon as the dough has doubled in size, remove the tea towel. Using a pastry brush lightly brush over the egg wash.

Baking the Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf

FF Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf
Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf ready for the oven.
  • Now place the loaf carefully into the centre of the preheated oven. Bake for 10 minutes before reducing the oven heat to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6, 400F.
  • Continue baking for a further 20 minutes and then remove the loaf from the oven.
  • Turn the loaf out on to a cooling rack. Rap the base of the loaf with your knuckle. The bread is baked if the rapping produces a hollow sound. If not, place the loaf, on its side back in the oven and check every 5 minutes until it is fully baked.
FF Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf
Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf fresh from the oven.

Allow the Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf to fully cool before slicing.

This fruited loaf will last for 3 days in a proper bread bin. Serve sliced, as is, or slice and toast for a delicious, fruit and spice filled breakfast.

Enriched festive bread filled with dried vine fruits and Christmas spices.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf you may also like these:

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies 

FF Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf
Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies

Snowy Black Forest Roulade 

FF Spiced Christmas Fruit Loaf
Snowy Black Forest Roulade – with GLUTEN FREE option.

Peppermint Candy Cane Topped Brownies

FF Spiced Christmas Fruit Loaf
Peppermint Candy Cane Topped Brownies

 

Since you are setting the stand mixer up to make this fruited loaf, why not double up the ingredients and make two loaves? Sharing is inherently part of Christmas. I can think of no better reason, than to give one loaf away. Surely anyone would be happy to receive the gift of a freshly baked, Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf!

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun and remember food always tastes better when it’s shared.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes

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Happy holidays to all of my lovely readers of Feasting Is Fun. Today’s recipe for Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes topped with mini gingerbread men, I hope will excite you and add some festive cheer to your day.

FF Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes
Festive Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes

Is anyone else else excited about Christmas? For me a large part of the fun of Christmas is in the build up. Getting the children to write Christmas lists, putting up decorations and ordering our turkey and ham from Graig Farm. Finally making the Christmas cake, yet knowing it can’t be eaten until Christmas Day is always hard on certain members of the family. So, I baked these Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes. Perfect festive sweet treats to enjoy, during the build up to the big day!

Single, individual spiced sponge with miniature festive person on to of the icing.
Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes

Warning, the frosting on these cupcakes is truly addictive! Because it really, REALLY, tastes of gingerbread and once you’ve tasted it I can guarantee that you will want more. And so, in order to provide balance, the cupcake itself is only lightly spiced with ginger. The final combination of both cake and frosting is absolutely perfect. Warming, sweet and not heavy, these really are the perfect festive, sweet treat.

A single small, spiced, festive individual cake with two candles alight behind it.
Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes

Because these cupcakes are so yummy, they disappear very quickly. Always a good sign when everyone in the family absolutely loves them. And I have a feeling that making these may well become a Christmas tradition like so many other things have, in our home.

Christmas Traditions

Traditions include, decorations going up on December 1st, making mince pies then giving them to our neighbours whilst carol singing and cooking the ham on Christmas Eve. Also, tracking Santa Claus’ schedule, whilst munching on cheese straws and playing cards, have all become Christmas traditions. Each as important as putting out a drink, mince pie and carrot, before bed, on the night before Christmas.

Three festive spiced individual sponges topped with spiced whipped buttercream and a little man.
Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes

Each of the traditions has crept upon us, unplanned. If something has been done two years in a row, the children automatically dictate that it is now a tradition. So, this year, I think I will make some Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes to hand out whilst carol singing, alongside the warm mince pies. We are blessed to call our neighbours friends, so sharing homemade goodies with them, whilst they listen to our singing is always fun!

Do you have family traditions at Christmas? I’d love to hear about them.

Recipe: Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes makes 12

For the cupcakes:

175g/6oz Unsalted Butter softened

175g/6oz Caster Sugar

1/8tsp Salt – I use Maldon

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

3 Large Free Range Eggs

175g/6oz Plain White Flour

2tsp Baking Powder

1tsp Ground Ginger

For the frosting:

500g/1lb 2oz Gingerbread Natural Flavoured Icing Sugar from Sugar and Crumbs

alternatively use the same quantity regular icing sugar (confectioners sugar) and add 2tsp of ground ginger

250g/9oz Unsalted Butter softened

2tbsp Very Hot Water

Mini Gingerbread Men (made by Culpitt and White Edible Glitter to decorate both available online from Amazon.

Method: Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3, 325F.

Making and baking the cupcakes:

  • First of all, line a cupcake tin with 12 deep cupcake/muffin cases
  • Next, in a large bowl add the butter, sugar and salt. Whisk, gradually increasing the speed, until pale and creamy.
  • Now add the vanilla extract and whisk until fully incorporated.
  • Into the bowl add the eggs and sift in the flour, baking powder and ground ginger. Then mix together until just combined. Over mixing can result in a tough, not light and airy, cupcake.
  • Spoon the cake batter into the cupcake cases, taking care to ensure that they are evenly filled.
  • Place the tin into the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. Once baked each cupcake will spring back from a light touch. The cupcakes will be soft and fairly pale, this is because they have been cooked at a low heat to ensure a flat top.
  • As soon as the cupcakes are baked from the oven. Carefully take each cupcake out of the tin and place on a cooling rack. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before icing.
FF Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes
Making, baking and decorating the cupcakes.

Making the frosting and decorating the cupcakes:

  • So, to make the icing; place the softened butter into a large bowl and sift the icing sugar on top of it. Next add 2 tablespoons of very hot water from a recently boiled kettle. Whisk, starting on a very slow speed and gradually increasing to a high speed. Continue until the icing is very light and creamy.
  • Fit an icing bag with a Wilton round piping tip #12, or use a large disposable piping bag. Fill the bag with the whipped, gingerbread frosting. If using a disposable bag without a tip, snip off the end to leave a 7mm diameter hole – approximately.
  • Check the cupcakes to ensure they are completely cooled, then begin piping the frosting. Keeping an even pressure on the bag pipe a double swirl. One on top of the other, pressing down in the centre before pulling away at the end.
  • Continue piping until all of the cupcakes are frosted.
  • Place a gingerbread man or woman in the centre of the frosting.
  • Finally, finish by sprinkling each cupcake with a dusting of edible glitter.
FF Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes
Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes pretty delicious.

Store the cupcakes in an airtight container. They will keep for up to 4 days, however, you’ll be lucky if they last that long, unless you hide them 😉.

Individual spiced sponge cut through to show inner crumb.
Light and fluffy cupcake sponge.

Serve each cupcake with a smile.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes here are some other festive recipe you may like:

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies

FF Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes
Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies

Sparkling Snowflake Cake

FF Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes
Sparkling Snowflake Cake

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies

FF Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes
Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies

While it is nice enjoying the build up to Christmas Day, the excitement of children, unexpected guests, the hope of snow, it is also important to remember the true meaning of Christmas.

A baby boy, born of a virgin mother, Emmanuel – God with us. Jesus may not have been born on December 25th, yet that is the day we choose to remember His birth. So, amongst all of the hustle and bustle surrounding Christmas, it is important to remember why we celebrate it. Please see Important Stuff for more information.

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchen, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

Note – this is not a sponsored post. I genuinely love Sugar and Crumbs products. No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

Individual spiced cakes baked for the festive season, topped with spiced, whipped buttercream and a small decoration associated with the holidays. Sized for Pinterest with descriptive graphics.
Christmas lights and decorations in the background set the scene for a tray of festive spiced bakes which sparkle.

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Snowy Black Forest Roulade

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Happy holidays to all of my wonderful readers. Since we are all getting in the festive mood here at Feasting headquarters (home!) I have an easy to make and delicious gluten free dessert to share. While you can absolutely make this Snowy Black Forest Roulade with regular wheat flour, using a gluten free alternative ensures this dessert recipe is available to more people. And we are all about inclusivity here at Feasting is Fun.

FF Gluten Free Black Forest Roulade

Making A Genoise Sponge

Since I have never made a gluten free genoise sponge before, I wanted to attempt it. No fat is added when making a Genoise Sponge. Rather, whisking eggs and sugar until light and foamy. And then you carefully fold both the flour and cocoa powder into the mix.  Most importantly is to be careful not to knock out the whipped air. Resulting in a baked sponge that is beautifully light.

Cherry and whipped cream filled chocolate sponge roll. Topped with chocolate trees and a dusting of icing sugar snow.
Snowy Black Forest Roulade with gluten free option.

Because adding cocoa can have a drying effect on the sponge, I worried whether the cake would hold up to being rolled. Since a good roulade sponge  should withstand rolling, without cracking. So the possibilities of how wrong this sponge could go, seemed endless. Maybe this bake would fail? Yet the only way to know, was to try.

FF Gluten Free Dessert
Gluten Free Snowy Black Forest Roulade

Gluten Free Genoise Sponge Roulade

So, the gluten free chocolate genoise sponge was made and baked. And 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 Rouladand I  am  completely lost in one of my favourite flavour combinations.

Finally, my taste testers were happily enjoying eatythe roulade, completely unaware it was gluten free. A very positive sign. Since I have baked quite a few gluten free recipes, it’s a thrill when the texture and flavour are spot on.  A 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.

I find that the proof of the pudding is in the eating! And 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 alternatively use Plain White Flour (for non gluten free Roulade)

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 (410g)

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″).

Creating the Chocolate Genoise Sponge Batter

  • First of all 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.

Baking and Cooling the Sponge

  • 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 Snowy Black Forest 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 Gluten Free Roulade
Snowy Black Forest Roulade

Serve sliced with a smile!

FF Gluten Free Dessert
A slice of Black Forest Roulade.

All the flavour of a Black Forest Gateaux rolled into a stunning, Christmassy, 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:

Lemon Ripple Ice Cream 

FF Lemon Ripple Ice Cream
Lemon Ripple Ice Cream

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. Also, creating recipes that can be made and eaten by people on a restricted diet, is an important part of what I do at Feasting is Fun. So you can look forward to more recipes being added, especially with Christmas not very far away.

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

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

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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