Christmas Fruit Cake

Now that we’re heading into December, there is only one thing on most people’s minds-Christmas! A lot of people still like to make a fruit cake for their Christmas dessert-it’s traditional and can be done weeks/months in advance, meaning there’s one less thing to stress about on the day!

The best Christmas fruit cake recipe I have ever used is by a cake decorator Mich Turner MBE. This recipe is from her book ‘Mich Turner’s Cake Masterclass: The Ultimate Guide to Cake Decorating Perfection’.

little-venice-cake-company-mich-turner-s-cake-masterclass-book-16674-p
The ingredient list is quite long and can look daunting but once you have all your ingredients weighed out, the cake is really simple to make! If you don’t believe me, have a wee look at the video below, of Mich taking you through the recipe. It helps to watch the video because it lets you see exactly how the cake should look at each stage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRKCb_BrwGQ

The great thing about this cake is that there is no need to feed it with alcohol, which means even less stress!

This really is a delicious fruit cake so it can either be eaten on its own, or it can be decorated with marzipan and/or icing.

Ingredients

 For an 8″ (20cm) round/square cake tin:  
  • 250g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 360g glacé cherries, halved
  • 320g sultanas
  • 450g raisins
  • 550g currants
  • 225ml brandy
  • 260g dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 tbsp treacle
  • 5  large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 240g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 40g glacé ginger
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  • Grease  and line a deep cake tin with non-stick baking paper or use a non-stick cake tin.
  • Wash the fruits and drain through a sieve. Tip into a bowl, and pour the  brandy over the mixture. Leave to steep for about 6 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 140C/285F/Gas 1. Ensure all the ingredients are at room temperature.
  • Melt the butter and sugar together in a saucepan, stirring until well mixed, then pour into a mixing bowl. Add the treacle and mix well, then add the eggs and mix again.
  • Sift in the flour, baking powder and spices and fold in well. Stir in the steeped fruit and remaining liquid, the glacé ginger and vanilla extract.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for roughly 2 1/2 to 3 hours (depending on your oven, it may take longer). It is ready when a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  • Leave the cake to cool in the tin overnight and turn out in the morning.

To store the cake, wrap in a double layer of greaseproof paper and a layer of foil. Store at room temperature to mature for up to 6 weeks prior to the event. Alternatively, you can store it in the freezer wrapped in a double layer of greaseproof paper and double layer of foil pretty much indefinitely.

If you are decorating this cake, once covered in marzipan and icing, it will keep for a further 6 months at room temperature.

Never lined a cake? Check out our other blog on covering a cake too!

We hope you enjoy making and eating this delicious cake! x

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no bake cheesecakeSimple No Bake Cheesecake

Who doesn’t love a good cheesecake?! (If you don’t, you’re crazy) This simple no bake cheesecake recipe is so simple yet so delicious. It is for a no-bake cheesecake so all you have to do is mix some ingredients together then throw it in the fridge! It is a basic, plain cheesecake so feel free to add any flavourings or other tasty ingredients to it and let us know how you got on!

no bake cheesecake

Ingredients

  • 300g plain digestive biscuits
  • 200g melted butter
  • 20g butter
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 175ml double cream
  • 80g icing sugar

Method

  1. Use the 20g butter to line the cake tin you are going to make your cheesecake in.
  2. Put all the biscuits into a food bag and crush the biscuits with the end of a rolling pin, or something similar, until the biscuits are crumbs.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the 200g butter.
  4. Put the crushed biscuits into a mixing bowl and add the melted butter. Stir the butter through the biscuit until you have a thick mixture.
  5. Put the crumb mixture into your cake tin and press down with the back of a spoon to form your base. Place in the refrigerator to set.
  6. Add cream cheese to a mixing bow, add the double cream and whisk until you have a thick, creamy mixture.
  7. Add the icing sugar into the bowl and stir well until you have a smooth, thick mixture.
  8. Take your cake tin base and spoon your mixture onto it, smoothing with as you go.
  9. Finish off by adding your toppings and place in the fridge to set (I leave mine overnight).

Tips

  • If you want to add any flavourings, fruit etc, add them to the mixture along with the icing sugar at stage 7.
  • The first time I made this cheesecake, I found the biscuit base too thick in comparison to the topping. If you don’t like too much biscuit in your cheesecake, I would recommend either cutting down the amount of biscuit base, or increasing the filling.

Let us know how you got on with this recipe and share with us any tips/other recipes you love!

Our website lets you send cake instead of flowers! Yum!  Just order online then we deliver. Buy a cupcake bouquet anytime before 12 for delivery the next day.

cupcake bouquet

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10 Utensils Every Baker Needs

I don’t know about all of you, but when I first started baking I bought every utensil, cake tin, gadget I saw. You name it, I’ve probably had it at one point. As time goes by and you bake more and more, you realise most of those ‘must-have’ things are a complete waste of money. Since getting rid of them, I now actually have free space in my baking cupboard, no more avalanche every time I open the door!

Here are 10 things I really do find essential for any baker, amateur to professional, and a few others that are essential to me.

1. Oven thermometer- no matter how new your oven is, the temperature could still be off even by a few degrees and those few degrees could be the difference between delicious and burned.

Oven Thermometer
Oven thermometer for baking

2. Timer- Most ovens come with a timer now but if yours doesn’t, you really should invest in one. They are great for when your items need  a few more minutes, especially if you’re a wee bit forgetful like me.

3. Good quality oven gloves/mitts- this seems like an obvious one but a lot of people end up using a folded towel instead, which means burned fingers. Even if you don’t bake regularly, it’s still something you should have in your kitchen. You can buy silicone gloves now too, I’ve not tried them yet but I’ve heard great reviews.

Oven Gloves
Oven Silicon Gloves

4. Cooling racks- Everything that is baked in the oven has to be cooled properly afterwards, or it will continue to bake in it’s tin. The cooling rack has to allow air to completely surround the tin. If you bake a lot, it’s a good idea to have a few of these.

5. Good quality scales- these really are essential to everything you bake. If your ingredients are even a few grams out, it could mess up the entire recipe. In my opinion, digital scales are the best as they give you the exact amount, and they take up less room!

digital scales
Digital scales

6. Measuring spoons- these are just as essential as scales, and are better for smaller amounts.

measuring spoons
measuring spoons baking

7. Mixing bowls- it’s handy to have multiple mixing bowls, especially different sizes. That way you can have everything weighed out before you actually start baking.

Mixing Bowls
Mixing Bowls for baking

8. Sieve- most people will already have a sieve in their kitchen but a lot of people don’t bother using it because they think it doesn’t make a difference, or it makes too much mess. Sieving your dry ingredients before baking is crucial to most recipes as it adds aeration to the product.

9. Good quality baking pans/tins/sheets- this is another obvious one but one of the most important. No matter how perfect your recipe/oven/method is, if your baking equipment is too thin/too old/damaged, it will affect your product.

10. Bowl scraper- this is such a simple, cheap tool but it is great. It can be used to scrape down the mixture in your bowl to make sure it’s all mixed together properly. It can also be used to scrape your mixture into your baking pan. A spatula can also be used, but I prefer a scraper because you have more control over it.

bowl scraper
Scrape the bowl with this little gadget

Some extra things that aren’t essential to everyone, but can be handy:

1. Stand mixer- I love my stand mixer. If you bake a lot at home it’s the perfect gadget! Stick your recipe in to mix while getting pans ready/cleaning up etc. If you bake a lot, I definitely recommend investing in a good mixer.

food mixer

2. Candy thermometer- If you fancy trying your hand at making caramel/candy/marshmallows or basically anything that requires cooking sugar, a candy thermometer is a very handy tool to have. It gives you the exact temperature of the sugar and tells you the different boiling points for jam, caramel etc.

Candy thermometer

3. Palette knife- this is a handy tool for coating cakes with icing, but it can also be used to remove cookies from baking sheets and removing cakes/loaves from pans. Small, angled palette knives are also great for using with cupcake icing or sugar decorations.

palette knife

If you have any other tools you think are essential, let us know!

Our website lets you send cake instead of flowers! Yum! Sign up to our mailing list on our home page for a free recipe book

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