Christmas shortbread

SONY DSC

Last weekend I had a bit of a Christmas baking bonanza making this Christmas shortbread and John Whaite’s Vienesse mince pies. The mince pies were a bit of a disaster as although they looked good before they went in the oven they certainly didn’t afterwards! They did taste good though. This shortbread however was much more of a success both in appearance and taste. It was very popular in the staffroom at work, and combines the Christmas flavours of mincemeat and cranberries as well as shortbread. This is a Jo Wheatley recipe that you can find on her blog Jo’s Blue Aga. I used the mincemeat I made on Stir-up Sunday.
Continue Reading…

Mulled red wine and chocolate cake

SONY DSC

This really is Christmas in a cake. Mulled wine, chocolate and a hint of spice combine together to make a delicious combination that is really lovely. It was my headteacher’s last week at school this week as she leaves us for pastures new. To help send her off we had an American supper on Wednesday evening and this was my contribution. This cake was very popular, even with people who weren’t big chocolate cake fans. The mascarpone topping combines perfectly with it and visually helps to create a snowy scene which you can decorate with some festive sprinkles. If like me you’re not a fan of traditional Christmas cake, this would make a great alternative and would be a good addition to any Christmas day tea. An added bonus is that if you’re short of time as Christmas approaches and want to get ahead it can be baked up to 2 days in advance and then stored in an airtight container and can also be iced the day before. The undecorated sponge can also be frozen. This is a Sainsbury’s magazine recipe which you can find online.
Continue Reading…

Chocolate gingerbread

SONY DSC

A couple of weeks ago I was in Sainsbury’s when I spotted a giant snowflake cookie cutter. It was only £4 and with Christmas fast approaching I thought it would be perfect for trying out some Christmas biscuits. If you’re looking to purchase one they are available via eBay and other cake related online shops. £4 is a bargain as they can sell for as much as £16! Gingerbread has become very popular at Christmas with gingerbread houses, men and various other Christmas related shapes gracing magazines and shops. I’ll be honest and say I’m not overly keen on ginger. I knew I needed a biscuit dough that I could roll out and cut to use my cookie cutter so had been investigating different spiced Christmas biscuits. I came across this BBC Good Food recipe for chocolate gingerbread and thought that the chocolate might help distract me from the taste of the ginger! The recipe is originally intended to make an advent calendar so makes a good quantity. I made 3 large snowflakes and also made some reindeer (also using a Sainsbury’s cookie cutter).
Continue Reading…

Banana Nutella Cake

SONY DSC

On my mission to find banana cake recipes I found this recipe on Pinterest. Personally I think bananas and chocolate are a match made in heaven! I’ve made a marbled Nutella and banana loaf cake before but not tried making it in cake form. This is another quick and easy recipe to make. It makes a moist cake, however it’s not overly chocolatey. It’s an American recipe so it uses cups rather than grams which if you don’t have you can use a conversion website.
Continue Reading…

Banana & pecan fudge loaf

SONY DSC

This was a big hit in the staffroom today and was just what we needed to keep us going through the craziness of working in a school as Christmas approaches! I had been given lots of bananas that were past their best so investigated a whole host of banana cake recipes. I found this one on the BBC Good Food website and thought it would make a change from traditional banana bread. It has a very moist texture and is quick and easy to make. The original recipe uses chewy toffees but I had some fudge that needed using up so swapped the toffee for fudge. You can also swap the toffee yogurt for fudge yogurt depending on what you can find in the shops. I also didn’t have the exact amounts of pecans or fudge but it still worked just as well. You will need a 900g (2lb) loaf tin.
Continue Reading…