A Go-To Celebration Cake

My relationship with baking has somewhat fizzled out over recent months, between work and trying to eat better I’ve stayed away from my love of baking cakes and bread. And it is a bit of a shame, because I probably love to bake more than I love to eat what I make, and I love to bake because it takes my mind of work. So the chance to bake this week for someone other than me was a win-win. I decided to go for a simple celebration cake, I was so fearful that I might have forgotten how to bake that I decided to stick with what I know.My Go-To Celebration CakeThe cake itself is a simple Victoria sandwich, I still bake using my mum’s trusty recipe- based on the weight of the eggs- and to give it the ‘more than a Victoria sandwich’ enthusiasm there’s trusty Cadbury’s Fingers and a load of Malteasers for a bit of ‘yum’. I discovered, now more committed than ever to getting the weight off, that this recipe is not great for keeping off the pounds, as based on a ‘normal’ round cake tin the perimeter of the cake takes exactly two packets of Cadbury’s fingers, plus four from the third packet. Conned.Victoria SandwichTo make this so simple cake, the first thing you need to do is:

Weight 4 eggs and preheat the oven at 180 degrees celsius.
Put into a mixing bowl the weight of the four eggs in Caster Sugar and Unsalted Butter, and cream.
Add two of the eggs and mix.
Measure the same weight of the four eggs in self-raising flour, add a couple of tablespoons to the mix.
Add the remaining two eggs and mix.
Add a third of the flour, combine, another third and combine, and the remainder and combine.
Add a couple of teaspoons of vanilla essence and mix.
Divide the mix between two cake tins.
Put in the oven for 20mins or until golden brown and a skewer is clean when put into the centre of the cake.
Remove from oven and leave to cool.
Sandwich the cakes together with jam.
Cover the cake with buttercream (a pre-bought tub works fine).Easy Celebration CakeAdd Cadbury’s Chocolate fingers around the cake. Simple Celebration CakeAnd add Malteasers, I start from the outside and work my way in. At this point I did of course realise using chocolate buttercream would have been far better. Easy, Simple Celebration CakeI have no idea why, it doesn’t need it, but I do prefer to add ribbon round the cake. The cake doesn’t need it, but I think it finishes the cake.My Go-To Celebration Cake

Baking Christmas Breads with Waitrose #recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

There is something about wintertime, the build up to Christmas. It’s the delicious scents and smells which go with the season. The wonderful recipes which are suddenly the most acceptable to feast on. And there is nothing as perfect as cwtching up on the sofa with my little family and a host of favourite breads, preferably with an accompanying hot chocolate.Waitrose selection of flour for baking funFor me, whenever bread baking is in store, a trip to Waitrose has to be in order, I love the range of flours they have and I always end up leaving with far more than on my shopping list. And of course there’s nothing like a food shop in the run up to Christmas to add a few more festive flavours to the kitchen cupboards.
And whilst we went in to stock up on bread flours, we ended up leaving with the ingredients for our favourite Christmas breads- Panettone and Stollen.Making stollen and panettoneAnd after a weekend of fun in the kitchen, controlling the excitement waiting to see if our breads rise, and then have patience in the baking process- of course, not quite achieving the full cooling process!

And so, for some really child-friendly recipes, for baking and for eating, these will definitely make your home a little bit more cosy.

And for an extra tip with Panettone, I find a really authentic bake can be obtained with a saucepan rather than adding another tin to the cupboard:
Baking cheat for Panettone
I’d love to hear about your festive recipes… and especially any cheats you might have!

Festive Stollen
Yields 1
A delicious marzipan filled bread- with lots of fruit to make it healthy!
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
4 hr 30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
4 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 500g strong white flour (a little more for dusting)
  2. 100g caster sugar
  3. 10g fast action yeast
  4. 10g salt
  5. 150g unsalted butter, softened
  6. 250ml milk
  7. ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  8. ½ tsp ground cloves
  9. ½ tsp vanilla extract
  10. 2 drops almond extract
  11. 55g blanched almonds, finely chopped
  12. 50g glace cherries, roughly chopped
  13. 100g raisins
  14. 125g sultanas
  15. 125g mixed peel
  16. 25g butter, melted
  17. 225g marzipan
  18. Icing sugar, for dusting
Instructions
  1. Put the flour and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Add the yeast on one side of the bowl and the salt on the other.
  3. Add the softened butter and milk.
  4. Using a dough hook if using a mixer, mix for 10 minutes.
  5. If kneading, bring the mixture together gradually adding the milk to form a soft dough. Transfer to floured work surface and knead for 6-7 minutes, or until smooth and pliable.
  6. Mix the nutmeg, cloves, vanilla and almond extract, almonds, fruit and mixed peel together in a large bowl.
  7. Put the dough on top and knead from the outside into the centre incorporating the dried fruit and spices as you go.
  8. When everything has been fully incorporated, cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise for 1-2 hours in a warm place, or until doubled in size.
  9. Flatten the dough and roll out on a lightly floured work surface to a rectangle so the short side matches the longest side of your baking tray.
  10. Brush with the melted butter.
  11. Roll out the marzipan so the long side is approximately the width of the dough.
  12. Place on top of the dough in the middle.
  13. Roll the dough up to enclose the marzipan and transfer to a baking tray lined with baking parchment.
  14. Cover and leave to rise for about an hour, or until risen and doubled in size.
  15. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5 (fan 170C).
  16. When the dough is risen, bake for an hour. Remove from the oven and dust with icing sugar.
  17. Serve cold.
An Organised Mess http://anorganisedmess.com/

Black Cherry, Pistachio and Chocolate Panattone
Yields 1
A delicious Christmas treat using favourite ingredients
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
5 hr 30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
5 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour
  2. 10g salt
  3. 50g/2oz caster sugar
  4. 10g fast-action yeast
  5. 140ml/5fl oz warm milk
  6. 5 medium eggs
  7. 250g/9oz unsalted butter, softened
  8. 120g/4½oz dark cherries
  9. 120g/4½oz chocolate chips
  10. 120g/4½oz pistachios, chopped
Instructions
  1. Place the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, milk and the eggs into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  2. Mix slowly for two minutes, then increase the speed to medium and mix for a further 6-8 minutes until you have a soft dough.
  3. Add the softened butter and mix for another 5-8 minutes.
  4. Add the cherries, chocolate and pistachios, and combine.
  5. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave at room temperature for three hours.
  6. Line a tin/saucepan with baking parchment.
  7. Knock back the dough and place into the tin.
  8. Leave to prove at room temperature for an hour.
  9. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  10. Bake for about 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 150C/300F/Gas 2 and bake for a further 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  11. Remove the panettone from the tin immediately and allow to cool.
An Organised Mess http://anorganisedmess.com/