Sunday, 25 December 2011

Christmas Sugar Cookies

Merry Christmas!!

I hope you have all had a lovely day with your family and loved ones! I certainly have - feeling very stuffed and content today.

I have a few posts that I wanted to do before Christmas but have just been too busy to get to the computer! I finally got a minute today, of all days. Everyone is snuggled up on the sofa watching Downton Abbey and snoozing so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to at least get one post out.

Every year my mum and I make Christmas cookies in honour of my Grandma. She had a great sugar cookie recipe but unfortunately it was lost after she died. We have searched high and low for a recipe that is exactly the same but, alas, we have not found a perfect one.

The perfect ones are light with a delicate sugary taste, chewy and do not bleed from the cut out shape. We used this recipe this time. They are very nice and light with the sugary taste, although not as chewy as I would have liked but still very good. My bakers recommendations:

1) Try not to roll them too thin as they won't be chewy enough. Best to roll them to 8mm thickness.
2) The shapes do bleed slightly so I recommend you don't use cutters that are too intricate.
3) I always find the longer you chill the dough to better so try to chill it over night.

Sorry for the poor quality photos, I forgot my camera so had to use my phone and the lighting wasn't very good.

We had a selection of sprinkles and water icing and put our creative hats on! Here is a selection of the ones we made in a festive scene!

They were all gobbled up over the Christmas weekend. They are light, soft and incredible more-ish. The icing makes them extra indulgent - water icing is so melt in your mouth! As you can see the icing isn't super neat because, I have to admit, I am not that patient so I can never be bothered to outline the cookie design with icing and then flood it with icing to get the prefect shape. If you make the icing thick enough and wiggle your spoon/knife/utensil around, you can usually get the right shape. Maybe not perfect but still scrummy!

I am going skiing with the boy tomorrow (super excited) and will be back on new years eve, so happy holiday season and happy baking!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

We Should Cocoa - Christmas Chocolate Orange Cake

This months christmassy We Should Cocoa is Orange.


Hosted by Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog.

Also lovely.

So many millions of combinations, so much choice..........endless possibilities!

So I went with chocolate orange cake. Adventurous? okay, not so exciting but delicious and classic right?!

I used an orange drizzle cake for extra tang and moist-ness. I substituted icing sugar for the caster sugar in the drizzle ingredients - It makes it silkier. Yum!

I made Chocolate butter cream from Crazy Cupcake Gem, but I substituted the chocolate for Terry's Chocolate Orange to make it orangey (literally the most amazing chocolate ever!). This blog is great, really super Christmas cupcake ideas!

1. Make the cake.

2. Pour over the drizzle.

3. Slather with buttercream.

4. I topped with fondant snowflakes with a pearly finish.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Tea Time Treats - Cranberry and Apple Mince Pies

Now I don't feel like I'm keeping up a truly festive blog but rest assured I have been baking away I just haven't had a chance to post it!

Christmas treat number 1:

I'm not a huge fan of mince pies.....I'm sorry to say it but I'm not. So this year I decided, to not miss out on the ultimate christmassy treat, I'd make some I would like.

I originally thought something cinamonny and chocolately, then realised I was just thinking about a mini chocolate tart (as yummy as that would be, it wasn't what I wanted)......back to the drawing board.

Fruits I like (that I can think of):

Fruits that are Christmassy:

Little bit of googling later I found this recipe from nigella.

I added 180g dried cranberries instead of the currents, raisins and just 30g cranberries.

The mincemeat came out beautifully red and tasted delicious! Yay for me enjoying a christmas treat.

I popped them in to some pastry cases following this recipe. The pastry was yummy. I used a circular cutter to make the base of my pies rather than pressing a ball of pastry like the recipe suggested, I just think this is much easier. I used my new holly leaf cutter for the topping.

 My tree!

This is my entry for Tea Time Treats run by Kate, and Karen from Lavender and Lovage. This month is hosted by the lovely Kate from Whatkatebaked and it's Christmas themed.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Rainbow Cake

Two words.



Two more words. 

Super. Exciting.

I made this cake for Charlotte's birthday and It was requested a while a go.

I used this vanilla cake recipe although I would recommend, if you want to make this cake, that you don't choose a combination cake recipe (where you fold in whisked egg whites at the end) as you have to mix the food colourings in quite a bit and you loose the air from the egg whites. I had the rather tricky job of measuring out all batter before the eggs then weighing the eggs so I got an even amount in each bowl. 

School girl error.

Soooooo this cake is actually not that difficult, although looks impressive so pretend to your friends it was. 

1. Weigh your mixing bowl and make a note of the weight.
2. Make your vanilla cake batter.
3. Weigh the bowl with the batter. Minus the bowl weight to get the weight of your batter.
4. Divide this by six.
5. Measure each portion into your six bowls.
6. Remember the rainbow - Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and, for this purpose, Purple)
6. Mix in lots of food colouring - the brighter the better!
7. Grease and line two 8in round tins with baking paper.
8. In one tin pour in the batters, in the middle of the tin, one at a time, in the following order:
9. In the second tin do the same in this order:

10. Bake for however long the recipe states, then remove from the oven and leave to cool.


Make the icing.

Pomegranate and Lemon buttercream

230g butter
250g icing sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 drop pomegranate oil
pinch of salt
Colouring (I used claret gel colour - gel is best as it doesn't change the consistency of the icing too much)

1. Cream butter and sugar together.
2. Stir in lemon juice, oil and salt
3. Whisk with an electric whisk for 5 mins until deliciously fluffy

Note: Usually I wouldn't use something as difficult to find as flavoured oil, but they really are great, you only need the smallest amount for an explosion of flavour.


1. Put one cake on a flat surface and cut off the dome to make the cake flat. The best way to do this is to hold a serrated knife parallel to the cake where you would like to cut. Hold it firmly. Put pressure on the knife and rotate the cake in to it. Do this to both cakes.

Here is a useful video:

2. Turn your first cake over so the perfectly flat part is on the top. Cover the top with icing and sandwich the other cake on top. Cover the whole cake with a thin layer of icing and put in the fridge for as long as possible, min 40 minutes.
3. Take the cake out of the fridge and cover in buttercream. By putting the cake in the fridge with a thin layer of buttercream you are making sure you stop the crumbs of the cake making your buttercream ugly.

Anyway if I haven't explained that well just search it on youtube, there are some great videos on how to layer cakes.

Happy Rainbows.