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!

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Spiced Shortbread Biscuits

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. In the run up to Thanksgiving, I became very ill resulting in a bad sinus infection causing me to come to a grinding halt. I’m usually doing so many things at once, so it was annoying to have to just stop and do nothing in order to get better. So with just days until Christmas, I thought I should at least post a few recipes as my energy levels are slowly on the rise. Cue a super easy cookie recipe with only a few ingredients but lots of spice. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened

First, measure out the flour, sugar, and spices into a bowl and combine well. You should already be able to smell the warming spices coming together.

Next, cube the softened butter and work it into the dough with the vanilla.

You can use a mixer, or just use your hand (like me!). However you do it, you will have a soft, smooth dough eventually.

Once the dough has come together, form it into a cylinder shape, that resembles, um, a wooden log, ha, ha. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to chill, then using a sharp knife, cut off circular shapes and place on a lined tray.

Bake in an oven heated to 350 F / 180 C and bake for 15 – 17 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like your biscuits.

And there you have it, Spiced Shortbread Biscuits! These were super easy to make, and they really don’t require an array of ingredients.  So if you’re looking for something simple to make for your workplace, for Santa on Christmas Eve, or for yourself, give these a try! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Pumpkin Spice Scones

Happy October! Now it’s time for all things pumpkin, which really is one of my favourite things to eat. I’ve also noticed a lot more businesses are offering pumpkin spice flavored treats, which I plan on reviewing at a later date. Anyhow, on to these delicious scones. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 cup puréed pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pumpkin seeds to top scones

First, combine all the dry ingredients. Mix very well, making sure you break up any brown sugar lumps.

Next, add the pumpkin, milk, and vanilla. Mix very well until the wet ingredients are fully incorporated, creating a sticky dough.

Place 8 even portions of the dough on your baking sheet. Top with pumpkin seeds. Since my seeds are raw, I like putting them on top so they end up with a nice, toasted flavor. Also, if any one likes my baking mat, I got it for £5 at Sainsbury’s.

Place into the oven at 350 F / 180 C for 15 minutes. Once done, take out the oven and let cool completely.

And there you have it, Pumpkin Scones that are vegan, egg free, dairy free, and delicious!

Even without butter, these are soft, chewy, and bursting with pumpkin spice flavor. They are easy to make as you just put all the ingredients into a bowl, mix it up, and bake. No fuss! And if you’re wondering where to find canned pumpkin, Sainsbury’s tends to have them in the American (junk) food aisle. 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!

Wild Fruit Crumble

This cooler weather has been so nice and comfortable. It’s the perfect temperature for running and cycling, and for foraging wild fruit on the way.

I loaded up on these berries and apples during a bike ride, and the most obvious thing to make was a warm and filling crumble. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 3 small apples
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup porridge oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup raisins or sultanas
  • 1/3 cup almond milk

First wash the fruit very well, then peel and chop the apples into chunks. Put all the fruit into your baking dish.

Pour the sugar and flour over the fruit, and mix it around trying to coat the chunks as much as possible.

Next you will prepare the topping, which is essentially a bowl of porridge. Put the oats, cinnamon, almonds, raisins, and almond milk together. Let it sit for about 5 minutes so the oats absorb as much of the liquid as possible.

Spread the topping over the fruit. Make sure it’s as even as possible.

Place in the oven at 180 C / 350 F for 35 – 40 minutes, depending on your oven. It’s done when the fruit is soft and the topping is golden brown.

And there, you have it, Wild Fruit Crumble! You can pretty much use any fruit you want. Damson, blueberries, and red plums work well too! And the topping is on the healthy side compared to traditional crumble which often has a lot of butter and sugar. As I’m training for the Bristol Half Marathon, this is definitely a dessert I can get behind! And you can even have it for breakfast! It is part of your five a day and a lovely way to fuel your morning workout. Give this recipe a try and you can start by picking some wild fruit. Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Banana Blondies

What a beautiful Saturday morning we had with perfect conditions for the Balloon Fiesta! Unfortunately that was the last glimpse of summer, which pretty much ended around 10 am. But to be honest, the rain and lower temperatures are very welcomed. It also means that it is now comfortable to heat up my oven! And since the heat has been causing my bananas to ripen very fast, it only makes sense to make up some Banana Blondies. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • What I like the most about this recipe, is that you can make it using one bowl. And in that bowl, the first thing you’ll do is mash up the banana.
  • Next, add the brown sugar, salt, and vanilla. Combine very well.
  • Next add the egg and beat as much as possible. Ideally, you should beat the egg in a separate bowl. However, I didn’t feel like washing more than I have to, so I stuck to the one bowl baking ideology on this one.
  • Next, mix in the flour.
  • Last, melt the butter and slowly add it in to the batter.
  • As soon as you can, pour it into a square pan. Mine isn’t square, but it’s all I had, so use your imagination.
  • Heat your oven to 180 C / 350 F and bake for ~25 minutes.
  • And there you have it! Banana Blondies!
  • If you’ve got ripe bananas that need to be consumed, forget about banana bread and try these treats. They were soft, had a slight caramel flavour, and melted in my mouth. My only suggestion is that they weren’t very thick, so I’d probably double up the recipe next time. You can also use coconut oil instead of butter to make these dairy free if you’d like. I truly hope you get the chance to make a batch of these as the weather cools a bit. Remember your umbrella this week, thanks for reading, and Happy Eating!
  • Mango Chia Icebox Cake

    Ok guys, it’s still hot up in here! I haven’t baked anything proper in ages because the mugginess is just ugh! So, in honor of Bristol’s Harbour Fest, I decided to make this icebox cake since summer is truly upon us. Back in the states, icebox cakes are popular because they’re easy and perfect to bring to BBQ’s when have a consistent summer year after year. In England, it’s more like a trifle but in a rectangular dish. Here’s what you’ll need:

    • 1 large, ripe mango
    • 1/2 cup chia seeds
    • 2 cups almond milk
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla
    • Lots of coconut biscuits
    • Shredded coconut to top
  • First, you’ll want to prepare the mango chia pudding. Cut up a sweet, ripe mango and combine in a blender with the almond milk and vanilla. You can use any milk, but I prefer almond.
  • Pour the mango mixture into the chia seeds in a medium sized bowl.
  • Mix it up really well. Scrape down any seeds that may be stuck on the sides. Put the mango chia pudding in the fridge for at least 3 hours. You will notice the chia seeds will get sticky as soon as they come into contact with moisture. You may need to give it a stir after an hour, and you’ll know it’s ready when it has a custard like consistency.
  • Now it’s time to prepare the dessert. Start with an even layer of biscuits, as seen above. Then spread on a layer of chia pudding, followed by another layer of biscuits. Then chia pudding, then a final biscuit layer. You can add as many layers as you like, but this amount of chia pudding makes two layers in the dish as seen above.
  • When the layers are complete, top it off with several chunks of fresh mango.
  • Place the dessert in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours. As it sits in the cold, the biscuits will absorb the moisture, becoming soft and cake like.
  • Once it’s set, add lots of shredded coconut on top. Now it’s ready!
  • And there you have it, Mango Chia Icebox Cake! What a delicious summer treat to make without heating up your oven.
  • I love making this dessert because it’s sweet, creamy, and tastes far more decadent than it is. You get some fruit and fibre without the dairy (although you can use milk if you’d like). And, you can easily make it vegan or gluten free as long as you use the appropriate biscuits. This recipe works with other fruits as well, so mix it up and add your own twist to it.
  • I hope you enjoy making this recipe as much as I’ve enjoyed eating it! And enjoy yourself at the Harbour Fest if you’re out Bristol way. Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies

    So, I still have Easter chocolate left! Although I love baking I don’t tend to be eating as much sweets as I’ve been getting older. Therefore, I turned my last (dark) chocolate egg into brownies. They don’t contain any dairy or refined flour. Here is what you’ll need:

    • 3 eggs, room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • ~2 cups (260 g) dark chocolate
    • 1/4 cup peanut butter, and 2 tablespoons to drizzle
    • 1 1/3 (120 g) cup almond flour
    • 2/3 (50 g) cup coconut flour

    If you have a double boiler, use that to melt the chocolate. Otherwise, like me, use a saucepan that is wider than a small pot of simmering water beneath.

    While the chocolate is beginning to melt, beat the eggs and vanilla very well.

    You can also use this time to measure out the almond and coconut flour.

    Once the chocolate is melted, take it off the heat source and stir in 1/4 cup of peanut butter.

    Now, you’ll add the warm chocolate to the eggs, mixing well. Make sure the chocolate isn’t too hot so the eggs don’t cook up.

    Next, you’ll add both flours, making sure it is all incorporated and absorbed by the chocolate mixture.

    The mixture will be very thick by now. Go ahead and press it into a square baking tin, or anything you have. Mine was rectangular, so the brownies will be a bit thinner.

    At this point, go ahead and drizzle some extra peanut butter on top.

    Heat your oven to 180 C / 350 F and bake for 20 minutes. It will rise a bit, but it should be done when you notice a bit of cracking on top.

    And there you have it! Peanut Butter Brownies that are dairy free and free from refined flour! These are very rich and decadent, making it the perfect companion for a cup of coffee. They are also a great post run treat! And as I’ve been training for the Bristol 10 k in two weeks time, these went down nicely. Give these a try and savour them as summer approaches. 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!

    Peanut Butter & Chocolate Muffins with Coconut Flour

    Hello Bristol! Enjoying the spring weather? I’ve been loving the longer days and slightly warmer temperatures. I feel much more active, thus much more hungry. And if like me, you still have leftover Easter chocolate, then this is a fun way to use it up. Here is what you’ll need:

    • 3 eggs
    • 1 heaping tablespoon of coconut oil
    • 1/4 cup peanut butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 cup coconut flour
    • ~1/4 cup chopped chocolate or chocolate chips

    First, beat your eggs very well.

    Next, add the coconut oil, peanut butter, vanilla, sugar, and salt. Mix this very well.

    Last, add the baking powder and coconut flour. Combine thoroughly. It may take a few minutes, but keep stirring until the batter is smooth.

    You will then chop up some chocolate and throw that in. You can also substitute nuts instead of chocolate if you like.

    Line or grease a muffin tin for 6 muffins. I seemed to have lost my 6th one, so greased it with coconut oil. Bake at 400 F / 200 C for 10-12 minutes.

    And there you have it, Peanut Butter Chocolate Muffins! These are packed with protein and are a great post workout snack. Or a post work snack, post nap snack, etc. And since they don’t contain refined flour, it can be a great gluten free treat. They come together quite quickly, making these muffins an easy treat to whip up today. Use up the last of your Easter chocolate by giving these a try! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!