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Happy New Pheasant

8 Jan

Gypsy Pot Roast Pheasant

Last year began in a very similar manner, travelling home to Shoreditch from Lincolnshire with a pheasant to cook. This year rings the changes; home grown apples from Grandma Cakes and the pheasant is whole.

Let’s use them both then, this delicious recipe for Gypsy Style Pot Roast Pheasant from the Cottage smallholder is pretty much perfect. I’m sure it counts as a bake, yes?

Candy Cane Cupcakes

21 Dec

chocolate peppermint cupcake

Not everyone likes a mince-pie, or a slice of brandy rich, fruity Christmas cake. I mean, there must be something wrong with them, right? But let’s not discriminate. Here’s a festive morsel for those raisin haters out there.

candy cane cupcake

Chocolate & Peppermint cupcakes
makes 16 cupcakes

Ingredients
For the cupcakes
50g cocoa powder
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine salt
165g butter
250g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
125ml sour cream

For the icing
400g icing sugar
125g butter
40ml milk
1tsp peppermint essence
16 mini candy canes

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180/160 fan/Gas 4, and line 2 muffin tins with 16 cupcake cases.

2. Mix the cocoa powder, flour, bicarb of soda, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.

3. Melt the butter and allow to cool, then beat in the sugar and then the eggs and vanilla. Mix in half the flour mixture followed by half the sour cream. Then mix in the other half of the flour followed by the other half of the sour cream.

4. Divide the mixture between the cupcake cakes and bake for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. To make the icing beat the butter and icing sugar together until well combined and creamy. Beat in the peppermint essence (you can add more or less to taste). Spread the icing on the cooled cupcakes and top each one with a mini candy cane.

Snow White & Rose Red

18 Dec

red snowflake christmas cake

The cake is ready! A few weeks of feeding with brandy and slowly maturing and it’s time to ice. I was dreaming of a bright red reindeer, like this one, what a beauty!

half christmas cake

But Big Sis Cakes had bought me a set of snowflake icing cutters for my birthday. Snowflakes it is then. Doesn’t it look good? Tastes alright too. You can find the recipe in my recent post, Feed Me!

sliced red snowflake christmas cake

Christmas Pops

3 Dec

Christmas tree cake pops

It’s December, officially time to start thinking about Christmas. How about these fellas then? Christmas tree cake pops and Christmas pudding cake pops. Have a look at my top tips for cakey pop baking for some cake pop basics. Here, for the trees, shape your cake mixture into cones. You’ll need green melts and a selection of sprinkles. For the puddings, it’s the usual round pops with brown & white melts and some little holly sprinkles.

christmas pudding cake pops

Get festive with your cake innards, the trees you see here are ginger sponge with ginger buttercream and the christmas puddings are christmas cake (use off-cuts when you trim your cake pre-icing), and brandy buttercream.

Check out the amazing Bakerella for more festive cake popperage!

Feed me!

12 Nov

Lammermuir Christmas Cake

In the words of Slade, I wish it could be Christmas everyday. But not for all the reasons they list. I can do without the snowman bringing the snow, and the kids singing with the band. But Christmas cake baking, that’s quite another thing. Although a very traditional fruit cake, there are still many variations on the fruit, nuts, booze, decoration, size, icing and so-on. Only being given the indulgence to bake one a year can give one a lot to think about.

One recipe I come back to time and time again is Nigel Slater’s offering, with each bite imparting a crunch of dried figs and hazelnuts. I’ve already decided next year will be dedicated baking demigod Dan Lepard’s caramel Christmas Cake, although there will have to be some booze involved. And you can’t beat Delia for a bevvy of Chrimbo cake options.

This year it’s the turn of Mother Cakes and her recipe for Lammermuir House Christmas Cake. Why, when I’ll be getting some of mother’s cake anyway? Just because, okay? It’s less fruited than most Christmas cake recipes are these days, and it’ll be interesting to see how mine turns out in comparison (especially as mother gave me a list of ingredients, but not the method. Thanks ma!)

fruit, nuts, christmas cake

Lammermuir Christmas Cake

Ingredients
1oz/25g self-raising flour
7oz/200g plain flour
6oz/175g soft brown sugar
6oz/175g butter
4 large eggs
8oz/225g sultanas
8oz/225g currants
4oz/110g glace cherries, halved
2oz/55g mixed peel
2oz/55g walnuts, chopped into chunks
2oz/55g almonds, halved
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tbsp treacle
60ml brandy (plus more to feed the cake)

Method
Begin by soaking the currants, sultanas and mixed peel in the brandy for a week before you wish to make the cake

Preheat the oven to 140C/120C fan/Gas mark 1 and grease and line an 8 inch (20 cm) round cake tin or a 7 inch (18 cm) square tin with a double layer of baking parchment, making sure the paper comes nice and high above the cake tin. You should use a deep cake tin for this too, at least 2 inches deep.

Cream the butter and sugar together and then beat in the eggs one at a time. Sieve together the flours and spice and fold this into the butter, sugar and egg mixture. Then fold in the soaked fruit, glace cherries, walnuts, almonds and treacle.

Put the cake mix into the tin and bake for about 3 hours. It’ll be ready when a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. When cooked, leave in the tin to cool for about 30 minutes and then prick the surface of the cake with a toothpick or skewer and drizzle on another couple of tablespoons of brandy.

Once the cake has properly cooled wrap up in foil and store in a cake tin. Feed the cake once a week with another tablespoon of brandy, until you’re ready to ice the cake. I’ll be doing this a week before Chrimbo. Come back then…

Bah humbug!

6 Nov Xmas Cake 2011

Xmas Cake 2011

Okay, it’s November. Halloween and Bonfire night have been and gone, so I suppose we can start talking about the C word. Christmas! A bit later than usual, I got my Chrismas cake on the go at the weekend. This year it’s Mother Cakes recipe – watch this space.

These two pics are of last years offering. Get your reindeer cake toppers here.

Cake Xmas 2011

If you fancy making this Christmas cake, get yourself 550g of dried fruit and mixed peel and soak for a week in 60ml of brandy. This year I went for sultanas, currants, raisins and apricots for the dried fruit. Figs are really special in a Christmas Cake too. If you do use mixed peel, this should make up about 60g of the 550g of fruit.

Come back next week for what to do next…