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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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!

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!
  • Almond Crackers

    Summer is finally here! Although we have the occasional rain shower, the weather has been absolutely lovely. So even though it’s been warm, I decided to power up the oven and make some homemade crackers featuring some almonds and rosemary I got from Zero Green on North Street in Bedminster. Here is what you’ll need:

    • 1 egg
    • 1 cup (105 g) almond flour
    • 3/4 (110 g) cup plain flour
    • 1 tablespoon rosemary
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

    First, I made some fresh almond flour. Simply put some almonds into a blender (I have a Ninja) and pulse it up!

    Pulse until it turns into almond flour, as seen above.

    Now for the crackers… you’ll begin by beating the egg really well. This will be one of the main binding ingredients.

    Then add all the other ingredients to the beaten egg. Mix very well. Once it’s nearly combined, use your hands to press it together.

    Once you’ve got the dough together, roll it out to a few millimeters thick. These are hearty crackers, so I find they end up being thicker and denser than your typical boxed cracker.

    Once it’s rolled out, you can cut into squares or use cookie cutters to make them look fancy.

    Place them evenly on a nonstick tray or line with baking paper, and bake for 10 minutes at 350 F / 180 C.

    And there you have it, Almond Flour Crackers! These are flavorful, savory, and the perfect addition to any garden party. They are lovely with dip or cheese, but just as enjoyable on their own. I originally found this recipe on the California Almonds website, which called for all almond flour which is a great gluten free option. However, I found it to be a bit grainy, hence the addition of plain flour. However you decide to make them, give these a try, you won’t be disappointed!

    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!

    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!

    Almond Crepes

    I decided to try something new as the snow has forced me to get creative. So, I decided to make some almond flour crepes. It’s a great option for my gluten free friends, but I do think I’ll have to perfect it a bit more. Anyhow, here is what I ended up with, here is what you’ll need:

    • 4 eggs, beaten
    • 1/3 cup almond flour
    • 1 teaspoon almond extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
    • Almond butter & sliced almonds to fill

    First, beat all 4 eggs very well.

    Next, add the almond flour and essence.

    You’ll then add the cinnamon and ginger.

    Using a ladle, pour a scoop of batter onto a hot greased pan.

    Move the pan around to ensure an even coating making a round crepe. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side.

    Once cooked, spread almond butter onto the crepe.

    Then sprinkle sliced almonds on top of that. Fold over and voila!

    And there you go, almond crepes. I have to be honest here, they turned out ok. The texture was great and they were quick and easy to cook. But for me, they tasted a bit too eggy. These may be a better recipe for a savoury crepe. But I ended up adding a lot of maple syrup for more sweetness. I think I’ll have to perfect these a bit more by adding some rice flour, sugar, and more cinnamon. But still, very filling and a great option for gluten free or carb free friends. Try it out and let me know what you think. Thanks for read and Happy Eating!

    Eggy Tartlets

    I decided to give up meat for lent and am looking forward to trying out the veggie options at my favorite Bristol eateries. However, I can’t eat out every day and I can easily get into the habit of making the same thing over and over again. So when you’re tired of the same ol’ omelette, just add pastry! Here is what you’ll need:

    • Shortcrust pastry
    • Puff pastry
    • 2-3 eggs
    • 1/2 small onion
    • 2 large mushrooms
    • 1/2 bell pepper
    • 1 handful chopped spinach
    • Salt & Pepper to taste

    First, you’ll want to cook the mushrooms and onion. If I’m baking, I like sweating out all the liquid so the pastry doesn’t absorb it instead.

    While that’s cooking, go ahead and cut two squares of short crust pastry.

    Next, cut two equal squares of puff pastry and cut out a smaller square from each of those.

    Place the puff pastry “window” square on top of the short crust square. Using a fork,press down on the outside edges to seal them together.

    Best the eggs thoroughly with a pinch of salt and pepper.

    Brush the pastry with some beaten egg and place in a oven heated to 180 C / 350 F for 7 minutes. Why 7 you ask? For my oven, it allowed a pre-bake that made the puff pastry rise enough to hold the egg mixture that comes next.

    Chop up the bell pepper and spinach, adding it to the beaten eggs along with the cooked mushrooms and onions.

    Scoop a generous portion of the egg mixture into the center of each bit of pastry. Bake for another 20 minutes, or until the eggs are thoroughly cooked.

    And there you have it, Eggy Tartlets! These took a little more time to make than I had hoped, but makes a great vegetarian main foe those times when you don’t want an omelette, but you’ve got heaps of eggs to use up.

    You can pretty much add whatever veggies you’d like or even some cheese. For an extra kick, I drizzled some sriracha over them. These would also go great with a side salad or some roasted potatoes.

    That’s all for this week! It’s supposed to get super cold tonight, so if you stock up on eggs, these tartlets will definitely warm you up. Take care and mind the ice Bristol! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!