Tag: christmas cake

Christmas cake but not as you know it.

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Mini Jack Daniels Christmas cakes

Oooooh don’t you just love a mini Christmas cake? I made some last year as gifts and they went down really well. This time I decided to give them a touch of Jack Daniels and I have to say they are gooooood!

I made these ones for a local food bank on behalf of the charity I bake for Free Cakes For Kids. Lots of bakers have made lots of mini cakes so lots of families would have a special cake and it always feels great to be giving and baking for others at this time of year- don’t you think? If you want to join in the fun check out the FCFK website to find your local group. I’m yet to find a group of bakers who aren’t really friendly!

I made these cakes really last minute (meaning I didn’t start in October so I could ply the cake with alcohol) so I had few cheats. I soaked the fruit in the JD for a week before baking the cakes and once they were out of the oven I gave them another really good brush/soak with the good stuff. If you add the alcohol while the cake is still warm the liquid soaks right in. I think a Christmas cake still tastes great even if it hasn’t been drowned in alcohol for weeks or months before.

Once baked I decorated half the cakes with marzipan and white sugarpaste and the other half with just the sugarpaste so there were some nut free options – also so I could eat the marzipan that was left over.

How to decorate Christmas cakes the non traditional way.

www.CakesBakesAndCookies.com

I didn’t want to go for red or green decorations this year. My original plan was to have a little forrest of sugarpaste Christmas trees standing on top of the cakes but once I had decorated one I realised that they would be really difficult to transport to the food bank and for the families to take home too so I opted for a 2d version.

The Christmas tree decorations were made up a day ahead in pale blues, pink and white so that they could be layered up without drooping. The gingerbread men were also made up ahead of time. After 24 hours the faces were drawn on with a clever food dye pen in ‘liquorice’ black. The trees and gingerbread man were then stuck in place with a little royal icing.

To give the cakes a really professional finish I placed ribbon around the cake and wrapped them in cellophane. I was really happy with the end result. I hope the families will be too when they pick them up later this week.

Mini Jack Daniels Christmas cake

Makes 6 x 4" cakes or 8 x 3" cakes

Mini Jack Daniels Christmas cake

  • 1000g mixed fruit (sultanas, raisins, candied mixed peel)
  • 200g dates cut into small pieces
  • 225ml Jack Daniels + extra for brushing
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 260g muscovado sugar
  • 5 medium eggs
  • 240g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    Prepare the fruit
  1. Place all the fruit into an airtight container and cover with the Jack Daniels.
  2. Leave the fruit to infuse for as long as possible. 48 hours is best. Give the container a shake every now and again.
    To make the cake
  1. Line your cake tin with silicon paper. I have one that has dividers but some bakers have used cleaned out tuna and sweetcorn tins to bake in.
  2. Preheat the oven to 140C (120 fan)
  3. Mix the sugar and butter together. Add the eggs slowly then the vanilla extract.
  4. In a separate bowl sieve all the dry ingredients. Add this to the butter and sugar mix until combined.
  5. Finally add the fruit and combine till covered.
  6. Spoon evenly into each cake tin and smooth down with the back of a spoon.
  7. Bake for 2-21/2 hours.
  8. Once out of the oven brush liberally with Jack Daniels and leave to cool for 20 minutes before removing the cakes from the tin and allow to cool completely ready to decorate.
http://www.cakesbakesandcookies.com/have-you-ever-made-christmas-cake-with-jack-daniels-once-you-try-it-you-wont-go-back/

Something you can do to help….

I wrote this post before I delivered the cakes to the food bank. I feel now looking back that I brushed over the food bank part. For me this was supposed to be about sharing my recipe for a Jack Daniels Christmas cake. It is in fact about a lot more than that. There are so many people in need in our country and right on our door steps. You may not even be aware that there is a food bank on your high street, in your church or by your community centre. These places are amazing. They’re run mostly by volunteers and the people who need them are often in dire situations.

When I delivered these cakes I met with a band of very jovial volunteers who are loving and caring and so, so knowledgable. There was a young mum who was there as I dropped off. She was collecting a couple of blankets from the centre. She had been housed in the hostel around the corner. The week before she had left a violent relationship with nothing but the clothes on her back and her teenage daughter. She had nothing. She was housed in a hostel so they were safe. The hostel is an amazing resource with a bedroom and some furniture and a kitchen along one wall but that’s it. It’s very, very basic. No bedding, no plates, no comforts. I’m sure she was grateful for a safe and warm roof over her head but having just spent a few hundred quid on presents for my two daughters to then see this young woman with so little but still with a grateful smile on her face was incredible humbling.

So I’m asking you to do something and not just now – for the foreseeable future. When you’re doing your food shopping pop an extra tin of something or a bottle of shampoo in your basket and leave it in the food bank bins which are always situated just behind the checkout. All the big supermarkets have collection bins and the extra pound or two probably won’t make much of a difference to you but it will make a massive difference if we all do it for others.

Thanks

EmmaMT x

www.CakesBakesAndCookies.com

Christmas bread and butter pudding.

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Hands up who still has some Christmas cake leftover?

Hands up who’s had enough of it now? Well I’ve got a neat little way to use it up and make it even more delicious second time round!

This bread and butter pudding is really custardy and I have been eating it for my second breakfast everyday since Christmas day!  It’s really comforting and moist. I can’t get enough of it which is a good thing as Tim and the girls aren’t keen which means I’ve nearly eaten the whole thing!! I think there will need to be some serious running going on in January.

Christmas bread and butter pudding

Ingredients

Christmas bread and butter pudding

  • Some Christmas cake (even if it’s a bit stale) sliced up
  • 10-12 pieces of buttered bread (any bread will do. I even used pittas in this one)
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 175g caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 300ml milk
  • 300ml double cream

How to make Christmas bread and butter pudding

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Start by buttering each slice of bread and cutting it into triangles. It’s okay if the Christmas cake crumbles a bit. You can still use every bit.

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Layer the bread in your dish so the points stick upwards then place the thin slices of christmas cake in between. The depth of your pudding will depend on the size of your dish. Mine is pretty big (22x30cm) but a smaller dish will work just as well.

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Always end with a layer of just bread. By keeping the christmas pudding buried you avoid burnt bits and it gets really moist. The flavours of the cake also seep into the rest of the pudding when it is completely covered.  Set the dish aside.

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Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a deep bowl.

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Place the milk, cream and vanilla essence in a pan and heat until it is simmering – not boiling.  Add this to the egg and sugar mix and stir well. Now you have your custard.

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Pour the custard over the bread and cake till it’s completely soaked.

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I like to squash it down with my hands to make sure it’s all saturated. The pudding will taste best if you leave it to soak for 20 minutes but you can pop it into a heated oven straight away.IMG_7271

The oven should be heated to 170ºC and it should take around 40-50 minutes to bake.  Oil a sheet of silver foil and place it over the dish to prevent the top layer burning before it’s baked. Then place the dish in a roasting tin filled  ¾ with water. Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the silver foil and bake for a further 10 minutes. It’s done when the custard is set.

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Heat your grill so it’s very hot and give the pudding a liberal sprinkle of caster sugar and grill till the sugar melts. Watch this like a hawk. It will burn very quickly.

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It tastes best warm from the oven with cream, ice cream or custard on the side. I would have liked to show you what this looks like when it was cut into but I managed to throw my camera across the room on Christmas day and now have no working lenses!  But it looks and tastes great. The Christmas cake takes on a whole different texture. It’s soft and raisiny without being too fruitcakey and the best bit is when you come across a hint of nut or alcohol.

enjoy!

Happy Christmas cake bakers

Happy Christmas 2012

Hello,

I wish you all a very merry Christmas. I hope you all have a fantastic time today with your families and get to eat lots of delicious cake.

Love

EmmaMT

XX

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