Spiced Christmas Cake

The festive season is well underway, but I feel like I haven’t had that many sweets. As I’m feeling better after being ill, I’m finally ready for the treats! So I decided to make something festive and full of what Christmas tastes like to me. Make way for this Spiced Christmas Cake which is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground giner
  • 1/2 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • mincemeat filling (optional)
  • powdered sugar to top (optional; ignore the white sugar in the photo. Imagine its powdered sugar since I noticed the mistake just now.)

First, measure out the flour into a large bowl. Then add the baking powder and soda, salt, brown sugar, and all the spices. Combine evenly.

Next in a separate bowl, beat all four eggs very well. Whenever I make a cake, I make sure that the eggs are as smooth as possible. This ensures a silky batter with an even rise; well, most of the time anyway. The last thing you want is to take a bite of cake and then find a bit of scrambled egg in your mouth!

Once the eggs are beaten, add the vanilla, vegetable oil, milk, and applesauce. In the states, its easy to find smooth applesauce, and sometimes several brands to choose from. In the UK, it’s more of an accompaniment with meat I believe, and there are jars of it especially around the holidays. I found a small jar at Tesco on Broadmead for 55p, made with chunks of bramley apple.

Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of flour and spices, and mix very well. If you have a mixer, use that, other wise get a whisk and combine everything well to form a smooth batter.

Line a round baking tin with baking paper, or butter and flour. Pour the batter into the tin and let it settle for a few minutes.

Heat your oven to 180 C / 350F and bake on the middle or low rack for ~35 minutes. I like to bake cakes a bit lower on the racks to avoid browning the cake top too soon.

Once it comes out of the oven, let it cool completely. Then you can really get creative to how you want to spruce it up! I cut it in half creating a top and bottom. Here you can add a layer of cream, or to make it truly festive, spread on a layer of mincemeat! Then top with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

And there you have it, Spiced Christmas Cake! This cake is fragrant with seasonal spices and goes great with a cup of tea or coffee. I made this for my work Christmas lunch, and completely forgot to take a photo before we cut into it. This is because I waited til the morning of to put the finishing touches to the cake while I was making my breakfast and getting some slow cooker soup together in the crock pot. And I wonder why I get so tired at the end of the day! Anyway, although there are a lot of ingredients that go into this cake, its totally worth it! The cake is super moist and the flavour is just devine. Its what Christmas tastes like! I hope you get the chance to give this cake a try and that it becomes a part of your Christmas dessert recipes. Have a very Merry Christmas, and as always, thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Upside Down Plum Cake

The Bristol Half Marathon is tomorrow and I thought I’d bake up some pre-race fuel to use up some ripe plums. Not sure how the weather will turn out, but when all else fails, at least there’s cake. Here is what you’ll need:

For the plum topping:

  • 8-10 ripe plums
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

For the cake batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (or any you like)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 beaten eggs

First, wash and cut the plums as you like.

Next, mix the brown sugar and butter, spreading it on the bottom of your cake tin.

Then, neatly arrange the plums on top of the butter and brown sugar.

In a bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, almond milk, and almond extract. Stir it a bit, then do the eggs.

Last, beat the eggs separately before adding them to the batter. If you have a mixer, use it! If not, just use a whisk to get a good batter. For the record, I don’t have a mixer, but the cakes still turn out alright.

Once mixed, pour the batter evenly into the tin, making sure it covers the fruit.

Heat your oven to 180 C / 350 F, and bake for 35 minutes.

And there you have it, Upside Down Plum Cake! This cake is good, like real good! Gooey, sticky, sweet, and part of your 5 a day? Heck yeah!

This is the perfect way to use up your ripe plums. The recipe also works well with damsons, peaches, and nectarines. And who doesn’t like a serving of fruit? Hopefully a slice of this cake will propel me to the finish line. And at the very least, lots of leftovers, yeah! If you happen to be near the Half Marathon route, come out and cheer us on – with the weather we’re expecting, we’ll need it! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Chocolate Orange Cake

So, I still have Easter chocolate and I simply can’t eat anymore… on its own, that is. In times like this, baking a cake that incorporates it somehow is the solution to my problem. Since I received a chocolate orange egg, complete with 2 sharing bars, a chocolate orange cake just makes sense. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 2 oranges
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 6 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (125 g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond essence
  • 2 cups (250 g) almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Before you get started, this cake will take some time. So if you have the time, let’s get started! First, rinse and clean two oranges and place in a saucepan of water. Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes, then simmer on low for 2 hours. Take off the heat and let the oranges cool.

While the oranges are cooling down, beat the eggs, then add the sugar and almond essence.

Once the oranges are cooked, blend completely until a smooth orange paste is produced. You may want to cut off the ends which can sometimes be bitter.

To the smooth orange mixture, add the coconut oil, which should melt if the mixture is slightly warm.

Add the orange mixture to the bowl and whisk very well.

Add the almond flour and baking powder. Mix this very well until a smooth batter is produced.

Line or grease a baking tray and pour the batter in. Let it sit for a few minutes so it can settle and even out.

Heat your oven to 180 C / 350 F and bake for approximately one hour.

I broke up the chocolate from the sharing bar and melted it. The idea was to drizzle it over the top. But as in life, things don’t always work out as you planned.

What I didn’t realize, was that there are crunchy bits in the sharing bar which affected melting the chocolate into a smooth drizzle. In the end, I just spread it over the top.

And there you have it, Chocolate Orange Cake! As it didn’t look as nice with chunky chocolate spread over the top, I topped it with sliced almonds and a dusting of powdered sugar. Either way, it tastes fabulous and is a great treat to welcome in the warmer weather! It’s moist, sweet, and bursting with citrus flavour! The only downside is that it took just over 4 hours: 2 to cook the oranges, 1 hour to let them cool, 1 hour to bake and at least 30 minutes of prep before and after it’s time in the oven. But seriously, it’s well worth it! Sometimes good things just take time, and this cake is a great thing! So, as you’re enjoying the warmer weather, give this cake a try! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Apple Cider Caramel Cake

I know I’ve been a bit lax on the posts lately… I blame that on the cold and snow. So I decided to make a cake for Easter this past weekend using some cider I bought at The Cider Shop here in Bristol. It’s a bit time intensive, but well worth it in the end. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup any kind of milk (I used almond)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon almond essence

In a large bowl, combine your dry ingredients- almond flour, coconut flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.

In a separate bowl, mash a ripe banana very well, until it becomes paste like.

In the wet ingredients bowl, add 4 beaten eggs, the almond milk, melted coconut oil and almond essence.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients, mixing very well. Go ahead and pour the batter into a lined round baking tin and bake for 35 minutes at 350 F /180 C.

Once baked, take the cake out of the tin and while it is cooling, you can make the caramel topping. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of sweet apple cider
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • Sliced almonds to top cake at the end

I picked up a bottle of Woodredding medium sweet cider at The Cider Shop while I was exploring the Wapping Wharf cargo shops the other week. This was lightly sparkling and not too dry, so very enjoyable to drink on its own. It’s also a sweet variety which is great to reduce when baking.

On a medium high heat, combine the butter, cider, and sugar. Melt everything down and stir, stir, stir. You really want to make sure to keep an eye on it, constantly stirring at this heat, and having the patience not to raise the temperature too much.

As the liquid and alcohol evaporate away, the mixture will thicken. I cooked it a little too long, but next time, I will stick to 20 minutes then reduce the heat for another 5 – 10.

Let the caramel cool only slightly, then pour over the cake, smoothing it evenly over the surface.

I was aiming for a caramel that wasn’t as thick so it would drip down the sides, but, you can’t have it all, eh? Top with sliced almonds and eat vigorously.

And there you have it, Apple Cider Caramel Cake! It may take some time to make, but is sooo worth it in the end! And although my kitchen smells like a pub from the evaporated cider alcohol, my tummy is very satisfied.

This is a great treat to make for garden parties or just to enjoy on your own as the weather gets warmer. It’s also a great way to showcase some of the wonderful cider the West Country has to offer. Pick your favourite sweet cider and have a go! Hope you all had a relaxing long weekend, and fear not, Spring is (probably) on the way! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Chocolate Coconut Flour Bread

The Christmas season is upon us, yay! Did anyone else catch the dressed up boats cruising the harborside Saturday night? Really put me in the holiday baking mood! This is my favourite time of year to bake up treats. Mostly because it’s cold and baking helps to heat up the kitchen. So tonight I’m bringing the heat by baking some Chocolate Coconut Flour Bread. This does not contain any refined flour, and to be honest, is more like cake than bread. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 6 tablespoons butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 eggs

First, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla. It helps if the butter is room temperature.

Next add in the cocoa powder and mix well.

In a small bowl, combine the coconut flour, baking powder, and salt. Then add it to the butter mixture, combining it well.

In another separate bowl, whisk the eggs very well until yellow and smooth.

You will then add the eggs to the flour and butter mixture. At this point, it is time to really stir it up!

As you can see, at first glance, it may not appear to come together. But keep going.

It will begin to turn a light brown colour, but more mixing is still required.

The mixture will be ready when it looks like brownie batter. If you have a hand mixer, it will be helpful. Otherwise just use a whisk to mix thoroughly.

Go ahead and pour it into a lined or greased loaf tin. At this point you might be thinking there doesn’t seem to be enough batter for a loaf, but don’t worry, it will rise.

Heat the oven to 350 F / 180 C and bake for 24 minutes. Depending on your oven, you may need a few more minutes.

When you take it out the oven, you’ll see that it did indeed rise. You can enjoy it as is, or add a glaze and festive sprinkles similar to the cookies I made last week.

And there you have it, Chocolate Coconut Flour Bread! Well, really, it’s more like cake, but calling it bread means you can have it for breakfast. With 6 eggs and coconut flour, it is actually pretty decent protein wise. It’s also a great option if you are baking for those who cannot tolerate traditional flour. Also, you can substitute coconut oil for the butter to make it dairy free as well.

That’s all for this week. Hope you enjoyed this chocolatey treat and are enjoying holiday baking in your kitchens across the globe. Mind the snow, thanks for reading, and Happy Eating!

Upsidedown Spiced Apple Cake – no flour!

Fall is here! I love walking along the harborside amongst the changing colours of the leaves. It’s also a reminder that winter is not far behind, so I definitely enjoy taking advantage of these afternoon strolls before the weather becomes truly cold. The only thing to make this better is an upside down apple cake with lots of spice! Here is what you’ll need:

For the bottom on the pan:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

For the apples:

  • 3 apples (I used Granny Smith)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the batter:

  • 1/2 cup (100 g) butter
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice or allspice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups (200 g) almond flour

First, line your baking tin with paper. In a small bowl, cream together the tablespoons of butter and sugar, then spread it on the bottom of the tin.

Next, peel and chop the apples into chunks.

You will then add the brown sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and cinnamon. Mix well, ensuring the apples are coated well.

Pour the chopped apples into the pan, spreading them out so the bottom is lined with them as much as possible.

For the batter, soften the butter and cream with the regular sugar.

You will then add the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice (or all spice), and vanilla.

Mix well until smooth, as seen above.

You will then add the almond flour and eggs, mixing very well. I would suggest using a mixer or a whisk to get all the lumps out. Then pour the mixture over the apples (which I forgot to take a photo of) and place it in the oven at 350 F / 180 C for 25 minutes.

And there you go, Upsidedown Spiced Apple Cake. It tasted just like autumn, but for some reason it didn’t rise much. I may try some baking powder next time. Anyway, it kind of reminded me of a steamed pudding, so I think in the end it still ended up a nice treat. Hope you had a nice weekend, thanks for reading, and Happy Eating!

Peach Upside Down Cake

Such a beautiful day in Bristol! I was walking along the chocolate path, enjoying the river at high tide, and trying to savor these warm summer days. Well, warm for England anyway. These walks help me think about what to bake up next and since there seems to be an abundance of peaches everywhere, an upside down cake seemed like the obvious choice! Here is what you’ll need:

1/4 cup butter

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 cup sliced or chopped peaches
  • 1 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (or butter)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk

For this recipe I used flat white peaches as they were on sale at Aldi. I am not affiliated with them in any way, but I tend to get a lot of my ingredients there due to quality and price. I’m all about baking on a budget! You’ll want to slice or chop your peaches and set aside.

Next, place the melted butter directly in the baking dish. I suggest using an 8×8 square or 9 inch circular pan. I used this dish as it’s what I had and it worked just fine. Then add the brown sugar and mix well.

Line the sliced peaches on top of the buttery brown sugar. Remember, the peaches will shrink a bit as they cook, so you’ll want to overlap them. I need to really pack the fruit in next time for even more peachy flavor. Set this aside as you prepare the batter.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set this one aside too.

Next combine the coconut oil, vanilla, and egg. This bowl will be the one where the batter comes together.

You will then alternate between adding the flour and milk in order to get a smooth batter. If you have a hand mixer, definitely use it. If not, you can get good results with a whisk.

Try to reduce the lumps as much as possible until the batter is velvety smooth. If you haven’t already done so, heat the oven to 350 F / 180 C.

Pour the batter directly over the peaches, smoothing it out evenly.

Place in your oven for 40-45 minutes, or until it is golden brown and a cake knife comes out clean.

Take the cake out and let it cool for at least 15 minutes.

Next, place a cake plate or chopping board atop the cake, and carefully turn it over. Give it a few taps and it should slide ride out. If it’s not budging, you may have to loosen the sides with a butter knife.

And there you go, Peach Upside Down Cake! This turned out deliciously, like whoa! I definitely have to use more peaches in it next time, but hot damn, this was good! The late summer days are best spent by enjoying the fading sun while  indulging in this peachy delight. My husband and I went through half of it while watching coach trip last night, so you know it’s gotta be delish to distract me from the vote, ha, ha! Anyway, peaches are on sale again this week at Aldi, for 59p I believe, so why not try your hand at baking this and “maybe” share some with friends. Enjoy your weekend, thanks for reading, and Happy Eating!

Triple Perry Cider Cake

I think summer is here in England, which means enjoying cold glasses of cider while gazing upon the harbor side here in Bristol.  Cider is sweet, crisp, refreshing, and can also be used in ways other than drinking on its own.  Its sugar content makes it perfect for treats, baked goods, and even braising meat.  But since I like treats, I decided to make a Triple Perry Cider cake using a bottle of perry I bought from Ralph’s Traditional Cider while at the three counties show.

FullSizeRender (22)
Ralph’s Perry Cider on a summer’s day

Ralph’s Cider and Perry is located on the B4372 between New Radnor and Kinnerton in Powys, Mid Wales.  What I liked about this cider is that it was really light and crisp.  What sold me on taking home a sample box is that this cider is made the traditional way using an original victorian cider press and stone cider mill.  Check out the pictures on their website as it’s really interesting to see this type of machinery still in use and producing a wonderful product.  They also host a cider making festival in October.

Ok, onto the cake.  Here is what you will need to make a Triple Perry Cider Cake:

  • 1 cup golden syrup
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sultanas
  • 1/4 cup chopped dates
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup pear cider
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice (I used pumpkin pie spice, but all spice is fine)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Quick side note.  During my trip to Cornwall last weekend, I picked up some sea salt from the Cornish Sea Salt Company at Sainsburys in Newquay.  They offer regular salt, flavored salts, seasoned seaweeds, and lots of recipes on their website.  I definitely plan on placing an order online in the future.

Salt from the Sea
Salt from the Sea

Ok, now to bake. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees celcius.  Grease or line two round baking tins.  In a saucepan, add the syrup, brown sugar, sultanas, dates, butter, and cider.  Heat this just enough to melt the butter and mix to create a smooth liquid.  Be careful NOT to boil.

Heat until combined and smooth
Heat until combined and smooth

Put this aside and in a separate bowl, combine the flour, sea salt, ground ginger, mixed spice, and baking soda.  In a tiny bowl, lightly beat the egg and set aside.  Do not add the egg yet like I did; this will create lots of unnecessary lumps.

Dry ingredients only! Leave the egg until the end.
Dry ingredients only! Leave the egg until the end.

Once the dry ingredients are mixed, add the liquid mixture until just combined, then add the egg, incorporating it into a smooth batter.  Pour evenly into your two greased or lined cake tins and bake for 30 minutes, until the cake is springy and a knife or toothpick comes out clean.  If you use a large cake tin, bake for about 40 minutes, but just make sure to check it throughout the baking process.  I have a fan oven, which sometimes makes for a slightly faster baking time, but your cake should be golden and not too brown.  Over baking can sometimes make a drier cake.

Ready for the oven, but don't drink the rest of the cider just yet!
Ready for the oven, but don’t drink the rest of the cider just yet!

While those beauties are baking, you’ll make the cider cooked pear filling and cider caramel topping.  In the same saucepan you used for the liquid ingredients, you will then add:

  • The rest of the bottle of cider, just over 1 cup’s worth
  • 2 pears, chopped finely or chunky, its up to you
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
Preparing the filling and topping
Preparing the filling and topping

Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring the entire time, for 10 minutes.  Then reduce to a medium boil for another 20 minutes, or until the pears are cooked and soft.  Turn off the heat, but leave the pan on the burner.  It should be time to take the cakes out of the oven now.

Stir the entire time, try not to burn
Stir the entire time, try not to burn

Once the cakes are cool enough to handle, take them out of the tins and place onto a plate.  If you decided to make one thick cake, cut this in half to form a top and bottom.  Carefully spoon out the bits of pear from the saucepan mixture and place on top of the bottom cake layer.

Look at that chunky cider pear filling!
Look at that chunky cider pear filling!

Turn your attention back to the liquid mixture still in the sauce pan and bring this to a boil.  You will reduce this down into a caramel, so its VERY important you stay here and stir.  Don’t leave because this can burn very easily and you will be sad.  You want the consistency to be thick, but keep in mind, it will thicken even more as it cools.  For me, I reduced it until it really coated my spoon. I then turned off the heat and took it off the burner, leaving it to cool for only 5 minutes while placing the top layer of cake over the pear filling.  Then while the caramel is still warm, pour this silky goodness over the top, letting it ooze over the edges in all its glory!


Triple Perry Cider Cake for the WIN!
Triple Perry Cider Cake for the WIN!

And there you have it, Triple Perry Cider Cake.  Triple because there’s 1) Cider in the batter, 2) pears cooked in the cider mixture, and 3) cider caramel on top.  This treat is sticky, sweet, and oh so good!  It may not look so fancy once you cut it, but I don’t care because I have cake.

Sticky, sweet goodness
Sticky, sweet goodness

I still have two more bottles of Ralph’s Traditional Cider left, so come back here for another cider recipe soon!  As always, thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Happy Eating!
Happy Eating!

Quick Post From The Cornish Coast 2

Good day to all! Another quick post from the Cornish coast before heading back to Bristol.  Had another lovely sleep at the Cliff House and tucked into this gorgeous breakfast while gazing out to sea. I highly recommend this guesthouse for the comfy rooms, stunning scenery, and full breakfast in the morning.

The Cliff House is on the right of the row of houses on the top

Before leaving Newquay, I stopped off at Paulines Creamery as I heard it was a nice bake shop in the town center.

I grabbed some pasties for lunch later on in Bude, as you do when in Cornwall. Did you know the Cornish Pasty is a protected food? In order for a pasty to be called “Cornish” it has to be made in Cornwall according to certain specifications, as noted by The Cornish Pasty Association.

Pasties for lunch on Summerleaze beach in Bude

However, my main reason for stopping at Paulines was for a slice of their sticky toffee caramel cake.  It was my little slice of heaven! The only mistake I made was not bringing back an entire cake to nibble on throughout the week.  Thank goodness they ship!

Toffee Caramel Goodness

I also picked up some other goodies I’ll review in addition to the rest of my haul from the three counties show. Hope your weekend was delicious!

Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!