American Light Christmas Cake Recipe

American Light Christmas Cake

It is the season to be baking now that we have reached December! I decided to post about this Christmas Cake now, rather than doing another post that I was planning on due to the fact that this cake needs time to rest for Christmas- leave it much later and it won’t be at its best!

I have been wanting to make a Christmas cake for several years now, but have never got around to it due to them being fairly time and labour intensive. And because I was never prepared enough to make it in advance!

This year however I was determined to make one. I used a recipe I found in Mary Berry’s Christmas Collection. It is a recipe book I got last Christmas and didn’t get around to using, but have been finding it invaluable for ideas this year around!

I decided on the American Light Christmas cake for a few reasons- it is supposed to be lighter than a classic Christmas cake that I often find too much, it contains pineapple and almonds which I love in cakes and it doesn’t contain any alcohol- which I thought would keep it lighter tasting.

Sadly I can’t try this cake yet as it is put away ready for Christmas. Hence the backdrop of tinfoil as I unwrapped it to take pictures! I will update with pictures of it cut, and how I liked it(and post pictures on twitter/ instagram) once I cut it. (It smells delicious.)

I used an 8 ½ inch deep cake tin instead of the 9in recommended as I didn’t have one and it worked fine. Ensure to grease well and line the base and sides with a double layer of greased baking paper.

American Light Christmas Cake

Ingredients

  • 350g glacé cherries (chopped into quarters and rinsed/ drained on kitchen roll.) Plus extra whole for decoration
  • 1x 200g can of pineapple in natural juice (roughly chopped and very well drained on kitchen paper-if left wet the cake may go mouldy.)
  • 350g no-soak dried apricots (Snipped with scissors into raisin sized pieces.)
  • 100g whole blanched almonds, chopped. Plus extra whole for decoration.
  • Finely grated zest of two lemons
  • 350g sultanas
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250g butter, softened (the softer it is the easier it will be to make!)
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 5 eggs

Preheat oven to 160°C/140°c Fan. Make sure the deep cake tin is prepared as above. (greased and lined base and sides with greased baking paper)

Place the prepared fruits and nuts into a large mixing bowl with the lemon zest and gently mix. Add the remaining ingredients (Flour, sugar, butter, ground almonds and eggs) and beat well until smooth. Pour into the prepared cake tin. Level the surface and smooth. Decorate the top with whole blanched almonds and halved glacé cherries.

Bake in the preheated oven for around 2 ¼ hours until golden brown. Use a cake tester or skewer to test- if it comes out clean it is ready. After one hour, if the cake is getting too brown cover loosely with foil.

Leave in the tin to cool for 30 mins then turn onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

If desired you can glaze the cake by mixing 100g icing sugar with enough water to make a thin icing. Drizzle decoratively over the top of the cake (I haven’t decided whether or not to do so yet!)

Finally wrap in tin foil and keep in a cool, dry place. Mary recommends ideally making the cake 1 month ahead, so if you want to make it for Christmas make it soon!

It is a fairly labour intensive cake due to all of the chopping, and it takes quite a while due to the long baking time but I feel like Christmas is the time to have something a little special.

American Light Christmas Cake

I’d love to hear any Christmas baking recommendations people have!

Espresso Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

Espresso Cinnamon Rolls

After buying yeast in order to make pizza, I realised that this meant I could once again tackle one of my favourite breakfast items- Cinnamon Rolls. However if I was actually going to make them for breakfast I required a quick recipe, one without the usual long resting periods for the dough to rise. If I am going to wake up and make Cinnamon Rolls I want them done within an hour and a half or less!

For this I turned to joythebaker, and a recipe that I had been eyeing up since January! The recipe is for Quick and Dirty Chocolate Espresso Cinnamon Rolls. I figured that if there was anything that could make cinnamon rolls better, it would be chocolate and coffee! Joythebaker is one of my favourite blogs to check for american baking recipes.

According to the recipe it takes under an hour, and I would say that with practise I could make it that quick. Currently it probably takes me about an hour and a half, including time for measuring etc.

The recipe makes six cinnamon rolls, and they are still fairly delicious the next day (if there are any left.) I used a brownie tin to bake them in which was the absolute perfect size.

My boyfriend found the dark chocolate chips too intense for his liking, so the next time that I make these I will try using milk chocolate instead. I found that I had too much glaze as I don’t like too much glaze on my cinnamon rolls, therefore next time I make them I will halve it or make ¾ of the amount.

Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients- Dough

  • ½ Cup Whole Milk
  • 2 tbsp. Butter
  • 2 tbsp. Granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp dry yeast
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups plain flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 large egg yolk

Ingredients- Filling

  • 6 tbsp butter melted
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp instant espresso powder
  • ¾ tsp cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Ingredients- Glaze

  • ¾ cup icing sugar
  • ½ tsp instant espresso powder
  • 3 tbsp double cream (or enough for pourable glaze)

In a saucepan combine milk, butter and sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the butter has melted. Remove from heat and leave to cool until just warm.

Place milk mixture in a mixing bowl and sprinkle over the yeast. Stir. Leave for 5 mins to allow yeast to activate.

Add 1 ½ cups flour, salt and the egg yolk to the milk mixture then stir with a wooden spoon until mixed together. Add more flour, a tbsp at a time if the dough feels too wet. Bring the dough into a ball and knead with hands briefly.

Cover bowl with clingfilm and leave for 10 minutes, preferably in a warmish place.

Roll out dough on a floured work surface into a roughly 9 x 12 inch rectangle.

Spread with ¾ of the melted butter (roughly) Stir together the filling ingredients, minus the chocolate chips and butter. Sprinkle it over the melted butter on the rectangle of dough. Sprinle with chocolate chips. Roll starting at the longer edge into a tight coil.

Slice into 6 pieces using a sharp knife or dough cutter.

Use the remaining butter to grease the bottom and sides of the baking pan. Place rolls in leaving a little room between them. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warmish place for 30 mins.

Preheat the over to 180°C. Remove clingfilm and bake for 18-20 mins (or until golden brown.)

Remove from oven and allow to slightly cool. Whisk together glaze ingredients and drizzle over the warm rolls.

Finally enjoy!

Espresso Cinnamon Rolls

My Go To Brownie Recipe

Chocolate Brownies

I made these brownies to celebrate getting a new brownie pan– specifically a brownie pan to help with the sadness that comes at the end of the Great British Bake Off! Wilko has a great range of GBBO items in currently, and I kind of want them all. Currently two have made it into my kitchen- a cookie sheet for making cookies, and the brownie pan.  I have them in blue, but the pink is pretty sweet as well! My mum treated me to the brownie pan, so I felt that a logical thank you was sending my parents home with some delicious brownies.

The recipe which I chose to make is my go to brownie recipe.  I love brownies and trying out new recipes for them but sometimes I just want a recipe that I know will be delicious, quick, and simple! It comes from one of my favourite baking books- The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. I love how short the basic recipe is- just 5 different ingredients! Quite often I add in extras such as white, milk or dark chocolate chips or chopped pecans but in this particular instance speed was important so I left out all the frills- and honestly these brownies are just fine without them.

My new brownie pan is 25x22x6cm so pretty much square and will give you nice chunky brownies. They could have had a couple of mins longer in the oven/ cooling in the tin due to the depth being deeper than my other tin, (although they were still delicious just a little moister than I wanted right in the center of the batch) but if you are using a brownie tin which is shallower they will take less time.

Ingredients

  • 200g Dark Chocolate broken into pieces (I use 70% usually)
  • 175g Butter
  • 325g Caster Sugar
  • 190g Plain Flour
  • 3 Eggs

You will also need a brownie tin (mine was 25x22x6cm) Lined with baking parchment.

To begin with heat your oven to 170°C.

Place the chocolate and butter into a large heatproof bowl (I use a mason cash bowl) over a saucepan of simmering water. Don’t let the base of the bowl touch the water. Leave until melted and smooth, mixing occasionally. (Ensure there are no chunks of chocolate remaining.)

Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until it is well mixed. Add the flour and stir until well mixed. Finally add the eggs and stir until thick, smooth and glossy.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan, using a silicone spatula to remove any remaining mixture from the bowl. Bake in the oven for 30-35 mins until they are flaky on the top but still soft in the center. Be careful not to overcook them!

Leave to cool completely  before slicing (I cut mine whilst they were still warm so I could send some home with my parents, hence the messiness of mine!) If desired dust with icing sugar.

Finally enjoy!

ChocBrownies

I am always keen to try a new brownie recipe, I’d love any suggestions!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe

cookie batch

I am a massive fan of chocolate chip cookies, although I only really love ones that are soft and chewy- I don’t like crunchy ones. Usually I make just plain choc chip cookies, however I was really craving something with peanut butter. I love peanut butter with chocolate- one of my favourite ever cakes was a chocolate sponge with peanut butter icing and chocolate ganache (recipe from Smitten Kitchen!)

Luckily the internet was there for me, to help me find the answer to my cravings, and my need to have something delicious for a friend who was visiting that evening! I found the recipe at Hello Teddy (who got it from Completelydelicious) and decided based on both of their sets of pictures that it was a must make.

And it was, these cookies will fill any pb craving, they are soft and delicious and the chocolate chips pair perfectly with the peanut butter.

Cookie

Ingredients

  • 113g Butter
  • 200g Peanut Butter (I used Sun-Pats Smooth)
  • 230g Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Egg
  • 225g Plain Flour
  • ¾ tsp Baking Powder
  • ¾ tsp Salt
  • 200g Chocolate Chips (I used half milk, half dark)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C or 170°C for fan oven. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.
  2. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat together the butter, peanut butter and the sugar at a medium high speed until it is light and creamy. This will take 3-5 mins. Scrape down the bowl using a spatula if necessary. Mix in the vanilla and the egg.
  3. In a different bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the stand mixer slowly whilst on a medium low speed (I did it tablespoon by tablespoon whilst the mixer was on.) Add the chocolate chips and mix until combined. I had to pull it together by hand to get the quantity of chocolate chips to stick into the dough.
  4. Using a ¼ cup, make rounds and place onto the baking sheet, leaving space between the cookies. I was able to make 15. I then lightly pressed down on the top of each cookie with a fork.
  5. Bake until the cookies begin to brown- about 12 mins.
  6. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 mins, then place on a wire rack to cool fully. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week (If they last that long!)

Finally enjoy!

Cookie Bite Out