Traditional Christmas Cake

It just wouldn’t be Christmas unless there was a boozy Christmas cake for afters. Although, disappointingly  the tradition of making homemade Christmas cake seems to be going by the wayside with many people preferring to buy store bought ( and why not when Marks and Spencers do such delicious cakes for reasonable prices and no preparation required) or forgoing Christmas cake all together.

I’ve came across many people who dislike fruit cake or dislike eating it after the huge Christmas dinner preferring lighter desserts. Thankfully my hubbie loves fruit cake so he makes sure it doesn’t go to waste, but to be honest fruit cake lasts a long time ( I still have the top tier of my wedding cake in the cupboard awaiting my first child’s christening…. I was married over 5 years ago!) so don’t worry if it doesn’t get eaten all at once, this can be kept and devoured long after Christmas has ended.

There is something quintessentially christmassy about baking a Christmas cake, the waft of brandy coming from the fruit as its soaks overnight, the house filling with the aroma of the wonderful festive spices as the cake bakes, the unwrapping of the cake every week to feed with more brandy ( a bit like a Christmas present) and then wrapping it back up in the brown greaseproof paper. The preparation and steps are like my very own advent countdown to Christmas.

Making a home made Christmas cake does requires forethought, organisation and preparation ( oh and many many mixing bowls) but its actually not that difficult and the results are well worth the effort.

The actual baking should take place in early November although this year I was later making it on the 23rd November!! Gasp….. the horror! However, I did read somewhere that November 20th was the last day to bake your Christmas cake so if this is true then I wasn’t too far off! But really my preference is to bake the cake in the first week in November.

You really need to pinpoint a day you have completely free as the baking time can take between 4 – 4 3/4 hours, with the preparation time on the day taking about 30 minutes. and then of course the cooling period before you can start to soak with brandy.

The fruit itself needs to soak for 12 hours, so it really needs done the night before.

The recipe below is my mother in laws, she is the queen of baking cakes. I’m not sure where the recipe originally came from, it could be from Readers Digest back in the day or the Dairy cookbook or word of mouth or experimenting through the years but wherever it came from it’s really good and I’m chuffed to be carrying on her tradition.

Ingredients

450 grams currants, 175 grams sultanas, 175 grams raisins, 50 grams glace cherries ( rinsed, dried, chopped), 50 grams mixed peel, 3 tablespoons brandy, 225 grams flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice, 225 grams of unsalted softened butter, 225 grams soft brown sugar, 4 large eggs,  50 grams chopped almonds, 1 dessertspoon black treacle, zest of 1 lemon, zest of 1 orange.

The Night before Christmas Cake bake day……..( try saying that three times fast!)

Mix together the currants, sultanas, raisins, cherries and mixed peel in the 3 tablespoons of brandy. ( Bowl one).  Cover the bowl with a tea towel and soak overnight or for 12 hours.

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Christmas Cake Bake Day….

Prepare a 8 inch round cake tin, butter and line with greaseproof paper. Also measure out a double layer of greaseproof paper that would fit on the top of the cake, set this aside as this will be used later.

Preheat oven to 140°C.

Sift the flour, salt and spices into a medium bowl. ( bowl two).

In a large ( and I mean large) mixing bowl ( bowl three) whisk the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

In a small bowl ( bowl four) or if you’ve run out of bowls a measuring jug would do, beat the eggs and then add them to the butter/sugar mixture a tablespoon at a time whisking the mixture continuously until the eggs are all combined.  This is to stop the mix from curdling, but in my experience it can still curdle but don’t worry if this happens, the cake will still be delish!

Gently fold the flour/ spice mix to the butter/ sugar/ egg mix. Then fold in the brandy soaked fruit, nuts, treacle and the lemon and orange zest to the mix. I always find this a great workout for my arms! Beats the gym any day.

** To make the treacle more manageable I usually place the tin into a pan or bowl ( if you have any left) of boiling water**

Transfer the lovely mixture into the prepared tin. I tend to do this using a serving spoon and transfer over a spoonful at a time. Make sure to spread the mix out evenly and smooth out the top.

Take the double layer of greaseproof paper and cut a hole in the middle, about the size of a 50 pence piece, then place on top of the cake mix. This will help to protect the cake during its long baking time in the oven.

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Place the cake on the lowest shelf in your oven. My cake was very very ready after 4 hours ( as you can see from my photos), but my oven is very wonky. The cake can take anything between 4 hours and 4 3/4 hours, but definitely check about the 4 hour mark.

 

Take the cake out the oven, leave in the tin for about 30 mins then remove completely and place on a cooling rack. Once the Christmas cake completely cools, use a skewer to make holes in the top and bottom of the cake, then pour 6- 8 teaspoons of brandy over the cake. Then wrap the cake in greaseproof paper and tinfoil and place in a box or tin.

Remove the cake every week and pour another 6-8 teaspoons of brandy over the cake, then re-wrap. Do this until you are ready to cover with marzipan and icing.

Once I have done the icing stage I will post pictures of the finished and decorated cake.

 

Let them eat cake and biscuits!

So this was a busy week for baking. After the Halloween cake, next up was hubbies birthday cake. As his request I made Guinness cake but minus 33 candles as that would be a fire hazard.

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Following this Carrot cake and Empire biscuits were made for a 30th Birthday party we were going to. I had to skip the Brownies as I just didn’t have enough time. These were both part of the dessert table. Much needed after a few Ceilidh dances and adult musical chairs!

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Empire Biscuits ( formerly known as German biscuits apparently renamed during World War 1) or in my house known as Vampire biscuits  ( hubbies childhood name for them!) are something I’ve only made once before, not too sure why as they are actually really simple. They are a really popular Scottish sweet biscuit.

I use a recipe that I’m not sure where it came from but it appeared in my recipe drawer written on a old scrap piece of paper. I presumably was given or wrote the recipe down and filed it away. Its a good and easy recipe to follow with few ingredients most of which are store cupboard staples and the recipe can be easily doubled or tripled.

One of my friends loves Empire biscuits, he is somewhat of an Empire biscuit connoisseur, it was his wife’s party we were attending and I couldn’t not make these. He also requested them when I asked what I could bring! He considers them an appropriate breakfast item too and I won’t say that he is wrong.

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Ingredients

250g of softened butter, 100g of caster sugar, 250g of sifted plain flour, glace cherries, raspberry jam and icing sugar.

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180° C and line baking trays with greaseproof/baking paper.

Cream the softened butter and sugar together. Add the sifted flour slowly until well blended.

Roll the dough onto a floured surface, roll out to about 4-5mm thickness or thereabouts. Using a 7cm diameter round fluted cutter ( or whatever size you want really but this will obviously effect how many biscuits you get out of the dough) to cut biscuit out of the dough. (No photos of this as my hands and me were covered in flour. I don’t do clean baking!!)

Then place them onto the lined baking trays evenly spaced apart. Pop in the oven for about 10 minutes. Some of them, the trays on the bottom of the shelf needed to go in for an extra couple of minutes. Keep an eye on them as they should only be very lightly coloured.( see photo below)

Remove from oven and leave in trays for 5 mins, then remove to a cooling rack.sam_7780

You want them completely cool before you start assembling them together.

Take one biscuit, place about a teaspoon of Raspberry Jam in the middle, take another biscuit and place on top ( I usually place the flatter of the sides facing upwards).

Make up your icing as per packet instructions and so the icing is not runny but can be spread easily.

Spread some icing on top of the biscuit sandwich and whilst still wet add half a glace cherry on top.  Repeat with remaining biscuits then leave them until icing has set.

Results of cake week……….

 

Halloween cake

This is gonna be a busy week for cakes, starting with this Halloween cake then hubbies birthday cake, then a carrot cake, brownies and empire biscuits for a 30th birthday we are going to on Saturday. Phew, I could be all caked out by the end of this week. However next week I’ll need to get started on making my Christmas cake! It requires to be fed a lot in the run up to Christmas hence getting started early!

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Slightly scarily messy cake… but hey its Halloween!

For the Halloween cake I used Nigella Lawson’s Ghoul Graveyard cake recipe, a suitably scary name! This recipe gives a lovely moist chocolate cake. This was the only nod to Halloween this year and due to living in the country we were not expecting any guisers (otherwise known as Trick or Treaters!)

Some interesting or not so interesting facts about Halloween……..Guising is what the Scottish call Trick or Treating. Traditionally a Turnip ( or neep) was carved and inside scooped out with a candle placed inside. These days though pumpkins seem to be more popular, could be because they are way easier to carve than Turnips!

Ingredients for the cake

250mls Milk, 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar, 225 grams plain flour, 50 grams Cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate soda, 200 grams caster sugar, 110 grams softened butter, 2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Ingredients for icing

300 grams of sifted icing sugar, 60 grams of butter, 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons of golden syrup, 60mls milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract,1 teaspoon of black food colouring gel, sugar sprinkles, Halloween sweets or any decoration you feel.

Cake Method

Preheat Oven to 170° C and prepare a springform tin ( 23cm).

Whisk the milk and white wine vinegar together and leave to one side.

Then add all the remaining ingredients for the cake into a mixer. It will come together like a dough, then add the milk/ vinegar mix and it will combine to form a batter. It was slightly lumpy so I placed the  mixer in high and gave the mix a blast which seemed to sort out the lumps. Place into the prepared tin and placed in oven. Recipe stated for 40 mins, however my cake took near on 55 mins. I used a skewer to test and when it came away clean it was ready. Leave to cool, then remove from cake tin.

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Icing Method

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then when starts to bubble add the cocoa powder and whisk. Add syrup, milk, vanilla extract and black food colouring gel and whisk together. Let it bubble for a few mins then take off heat and add the icing sugar. Then put back on the heat and whisk to help dissolve sugar the take back of the heat. Leave to thicken for a bit, but not too long as you want it to be able to pour it over the cake and for it to run over the sides.  Once you’ve done this, add whatever decorations you want. I used Halloween Haribo ,as I struggled to get suitable scary sweets, and I also used sugar sprinkles. Although my icing was not as black as what the recipe suggested it should be!

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Yummy Birthday Cake

I had been asked by a good friend to make a birthday cake for her hubbies 40th Birthday. I had never made a proper birthday cake before, you know a sponge with buttercream and jam in the middle, buttercream around the sides and top, then fondant icing on top with fondant icing decorations. The nearest birthday cakey type item I made was a Christmas Fruit cake, which had marzipan then fondant icing on top but the decoration consisted of fondant stars made by using stampers!! No difficult decoration techniques there.

My mother in law makes Wedding and Birthday cakes and she is really good at it, so I asked for her sponge and buttercream recipes. Part of me thought I could make the cake then run over to my MOL’s and get help with the decoration as she has all the proper tools and experience. However, I was running short on time to do this, so I had to forge ahead using my limited cake decorating skills, hubbies artistic input and google!

Sponge recipe

Ingredients for a 9 inch cake– 350 grams of softened organic Scottish butter, 350g grams of caster sugar, 350 grams of self raising flour, sifted and 7 eggs ( which should weigh 350 grams when out of their shells) and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Preheat the oven to 160 °C. Grease and line a 9inch cake tin. You can use a smaller tin, just reduce the quantities but make sure that you use the same  weight of butter, caster sugar, flour and eggs e.g for a 8 inch cake reduce all to 250 grams.

Place the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and mix until light and fluffy.

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Add the eggs one at a time along with a tablespoonful of flour. Make sure it is beaten and mixed well. Add the vanilla essence and the remaining flour.

Pour the mix into the prepared tin, smooth the top and place in the oven for about 1 hour and 10 minutes or until golden brown on top and a knife comes out clean.

Then leave to cool in the tins, for about 15 minutes, then remove from tins and remove the greaseproof paper. Once completely cooled cut the cake in half to make two layers.


Buttercream

Ingredients– 255 grams of Scottish Organic butter, softened, 680 grams of icing sugar, 3 tablespoons of milk, 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Add butter to your mixer and whip until light and creamy, then add the icing sugar, milk and vanilla and whip until combined.


Sugar Syrup

Ingredients– About 100ml Water and  100 grams Sugar. Optional add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla or any other flavouring that compliments the flavour of your cake.

In a pan add some sugar and water and place on low heat until sugar dissolved. Then take off heat and add the vanilla or other flavouring

Brush the layers of the cake with the sugar syrup to keep the sponge moist then leave to dry. Don’t put too much on as you don’t want it to be soggy.

Then place one layer of the cake on a plate or board and add a layer of jam, then add buttercream on top of the jam to create the filling. Add the next cake layer and cover the top and the sides with a thin layer of buttercream to create a Crumb Coating. As you can see my layer was a bit too thick! Then place in fridge to chill until set.

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I then gave the cake another light coating of the syrup sugar after I took it out the fridge and before I covered with fondant icing.


Decoration

I can not take credit for the design as to get inspiration and ideas for how to decorate the cake I went to google and Pinterest, of course. There were lots and lots and lots of images of cakes made for doctors, most of which seemed to have the cake as the doctors coat and then scattered on the top over the coat, the instruments doctors use.  “The Doctors Coat” cake by My Sugar Creations was a particular inspiration and design that I utilised elements from.

This was the first time I had decorated a cake so was a bit rough looking! I also was limited by the colour of fondant icing that was available in my local shop, hence the white, red and black theme.  Mistakes on the side of the cake where covered up by using an icing pen to ice surgical stitches, although I forgot to take a piccie to show you.

Can you guess what all the instruments are supposed to be??

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Local Show Baking results

Some of you may already be aware from my previous posts that I have been baking in an attempt to perfect cakes and recipes for entry into the local show. Well, the show has been and gone and I can tell you that even with all my practice, the day before was still a chaotic blur day of baking, making mistakes and frantically trying to get everything done on time for the Saturday. Entries had to be at the show and exhibited before 9am, so really Friday was the day to get it all done. There could be no last minute baking or amendments on the Saturday morning, hence why I had dutifully practised my recipes. But to be honest, no matter how much practice you put in, things can inevitably go wrong, as I found out.

1 jar of Strawberry Jam class

I haven’t made jam very often, but I inherited my Nannies Jam pans and wanted to continue her tradition of jam making. I made the Jam a couple of days before, but to be honest this could have made weeks before.

There’s not much to strawberry jam, but here’s the recipe anyway……

Ingredients

1kg of British Strawberries, now I was told to not use overly ripe strawberries however I saw punnets reduced to £1.30 each in the local supermarket  due to them reaching there use by date and thought, sod it I’ll just use those or it would have cost me £8. 96 otherwise.

750 grams of Jam Sugar  which also has pectin in it and it really good for using with fruits that have little pectin in them. The Pectin helps the jam to set better.

The juice of 1 lemon

A knob of butter ( optional)

Place some small side plates into your freezer.

I washed the strawberries using a damp cloth to try and not get too much moisture into them and them hulled and halved them. Fortunately half way through I got a phonecall so I forced my hubbie to take over this bit!

Put the Strawberries, Sugar and lemon juice into a pan and place on the stove at a low heat. You basically want all the sugar to dissolve. Make sure it does not boil at this point! To test if all the sugar has been dissolved I place a spoon in the mix and take it back out and check for granules on the back of the spoon. Also the sugar will stick to the sides of the pan, so occasionally get a brush dipped in warm water and brush the sides of the pan with it to help dissolve all the sugar.

Once all the sugar has been dissolved bring the mix to a boil and boil rapidly for between 5- 10 minutes until the mix is set.  I don’t use a thermometer  ( nether did my Nannie) so what I do is get a plate from the freezer and place a dob of jam on it, leave it for a few seconds and then press the jam with your finger. If the jam wrinkles and doesn’t move to fill the gap, then the jam has set. I do, however know that my hubbie’s gran made her jam runnier and missed out this stage!

If there is any scum on the top, skim this off and you can also put a knob of butter in the jam to help get rid of any scum. Leave the Jam in the pan for a wee while maybe 8-10 minutes. Its usually during this time I sterilise my jars. I put them in a preheated oven, 130° C for 8-10 mins and I usually put the lids in a basin of boiling water and pat dry with a clean cloth.

Then once jars are sterilised, fill the jars up with jam, not quite to the top and then I usually put in a wax disc on top of the jam, then add the lid.

Given that I had not made jam that often and the number of entries in this class on the day, I didn’t have high expectations, but I actually won 1st Prize! Apparently the judges, according to my mother in law, look for a really vibrant red jam. I have no idea how I managed it, but my jam was the brightest out of the bunch.

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I also entered home made lemonade, brownies, lemon drizzle cake and Naniamo bars in their respective classes.

Glass of homemade lemonade class

For homemade lemonade, I used the recipe I had posted about previously but without the strawberries. I was surprised that I was the only entry in this class, so I ended up getting 1st Prize and a Highly Commended for my lemonade.  But given the lack of competition this doesn’t count!

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4 pieces of brownie class

My brownies were a slight problem given that after making the Naniamo bars, I did not have enough chocolate to use the recipe I wanted to. So much for forward planning! However, good old Delia stepped in with her classic brownie recipe that only used 50 grams of chocolate! I must admit though that the Brownies looked quite ugly, as they sank a bit in the middle, leaving big high crusty ends. I almost did not enter these, but thought I may as well since, despite their looks, they still tasted yummy. I dusted them with icing sugar and called them good. Surprisingly, I got 3rd place with them!!

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See how ugly they are!!

 

My lemon drizzle cake and Naniamo bars did not place, but all in all I was well chuffed with getting prizes for my jam and brownies as I had not expected to get anything at all. I had been watching a cooking programme where professional chefs travel around Britain entering classes in the Local shows and it has shown me that even professionals can get it wrong and don’t always meet the criteria set by the judges!

P.s I will post the recipe for Brownies and Naniamo bars at a later date.

 

 

Class 31, Lemon Drizzle Loaf

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Refreshing lemon drizzle loaf basking in the sun!

Euro 2016 has started, although not in our household as we are a football free zone. We aren’t big football fans ( you probably know from past posts that we are all about the rugby) and Scotland failed to make the cut anyway, so no footie is being watched by us.

Instead preparation is under way for the local agricultural show which takes place in a few weeks. No, we are not entering any sheep, cattle or horses into any of the livestock/ showing classes but I am entering some preserves and baked goods into the Produce classes. Some of the recipes I’ve not made before, so I need to practice to ensure I can actually make them and also to get the timings of each recipe right. I want to be super organised the day before the show down to even having a timetable written out to keep me on track!  Hopefully I will catch any issues during the practices rather than be faced with a horror the day before the show.

I will be also be making Strawberry Jam, but I’ve made this a few times before so I can make a batch a week before the show. In addition to the lemon drizzle loaf and jam, I will be making  brownies ( still have not decided out of the 101 recipes I have for brownies which one to go for!), Nanaimo bars and Lemonade.

I entered 3 classes last year, but I’m entering 5 different classes this year, which I think is all I can handle at this stage!

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Awards from last years show.

 

 

Class 31, Lemon Drizzle loaf ( 1lb tin) 

Surprisingly I have never made Lemon Drizzle loaf before unless a madeira cake with extra lemon in it counts?! I know there are countless recipes for this, and you probably don’t need me adding to them therefore I decided to use Mary Berry’s recipe for Lemon Drizzle cake.  Her Banana loaf recipe won me first prize at last years show so hoping this recipe will be equally as successful. Thank you, Queen of Baking!

This lemon drizzle cake recipe is really simple to make, however I felt there was not enough cake batter, even for a 1lb loaf, as the cake batter barely came up to the half way point of the tin and the cake only rose about an inch. I would prefer to double the quantities in order to pour enough of the batter into the tin to fill until about 1 inch/ 1.5 inches from the top. Obviously this will affect the baking time, so I will try this recipe out one more time before the show to gauge this.

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Ingredients

1 and 1/2 large eggs or in my case I used two medium eggs, 87.5 grams of self raising flour, 87.5 grams of Caster sugar, 87.5 grams of softened butter, 3/4 level teaspoon of baking powder, finely grated zest of 1 lemon and juice of half a lemon. The original recipe only used zest from 1/2 lemon and no lemon juice at all however I felt that this would not give the cake enough of a zesty lemon flavour. I like to be able to taste the lemon in Lemon flavoured cakes!

Topping– juice of 1/2 lemon and 50 grams of sugar.

Preheat oven to 180° C. Grease and line a 1lb loaf tin.

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Simply beat the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs, lemon zest and juice in a mixer until well combined and smooth. When the lemon juice comes into contact with the baking powder it starts to fizz and bubble, which delighted me very much! Science in action.

Pour the cake batter to the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown and springy when touched.

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Mix the juice of 1/2 lemon and the sugar to make the topping and pour over the top of the still warm cake. Once cooled remove from the tin.

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Sun, Sea, Sand, Running and Champagne Cake

SAM_6844So every year since about 2009, the last weekend in May we go to the Mull of Kintyre and every year ( apart from 2011) my hubby runs the half marathon along with friends of ours. It’s the only half marathon he does and he runs it simply due to the fact that every year he gets forced into by our friends, although secretly I think he enjoys it! In the evening there is a Ceilidh where previously exhausted runners take to the floor for the Dashing White Sergeant, The Gay Gordons,  Orcadian Strip the Willow , Canadian Barn Dance, the Highland Schottische…..

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Hubby in the white top and black shorts running to the finish!

This year we got beautiful sunny weather, whilst lovely it caused hubby and a few of the other runners problems. Some of us Scots don’t tolerate hot weather very much and  definitely not running in it as we are simply not used to it!

The weather was so unexpected that I had no summer clothes packed, no shorts or vests or swim wear instead I had about 5 thick jumpers and long sleeved and long legged flannel PJ’s! Its normally still cold in May, hence the sunbathing in jeans in pic above! Any way this year I managed to get sunburn on my feet and some of my friends actually decided to take a very refreshing ( read extremely freezing) dip in the Irish Sea, I, on the account of having no swimwear (fortunately) declined to go in the sea.

Every year we also celebrate one of our friends birthdays as this falls around the same time. This year I decided to make a cake for her and immediately thought of a champagne cake. However, I have never made a champagne cake before so searching the internet I came across the perfect recipe, Pink Champagne cake from Joanne at Joanne Eats Well with others.  Although, if you take a look at her page you will see I did not decorate mine as prettily as Joannes, however this recipe turned out really well and was straightforward to make, very pleased with the results and would definitely use this recipe again. You can really taste the champers in the cake and frosting, very yummy.

I have detailed the ingredients, methods and how I got on with the recipe, but you could also click on the page link above to get the recipe direct from Joanne Eats Well with Other page.

Ingredients

85 grams of softened organic Scottish butter, 400 grams of sugar, 360 grams of cake flour…… erm what?  Cake flour is not available in shops near me , actually I’m not 100% sure if its available in the UK, so this confused me slightly as I had never seen this before! However, by the powers of google I found a substitution. I used plain flour but for every cup of plain flour I took our 2 tablespoons of the flour and replaced them with two tablespoons of Corn flour…. voila Cake Flour!

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Never turn your back on a woman who had flour covered hands! Hee Hee

 

Any way more ingredients were………1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda ( although I questioned the need to use this given there was baking powder in the recipe but dutifully followed the instructions), 3/4 teaspoon of salt, 6 egg whites ( I kept the yolks and added some to a quiche I made as I really hate when they go to waste), 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 500mls of champagne, well I used Asti Spumante instead which is more of a sparkling wine and cheaper at £6.00 rather than £30.00 a bottle!

I didn’t get photos of the baking process as I had 101 things to do and was running very late to get everything done in time for leaving to go the Mull of Kintyre.

Anyway, Preheat your oven to 180° C and grease and line the bottom of two 8 inch cake tins. I always take the bottom out of the tin and place on the greaseproof paper and draw around the bottom.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Sift all the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, the cake flour, baking power, baking soda and salt.

Slowly add the egg whites to the butter/sugar mixture, then add the vanilla.

Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the mixer then once incorporated add 250 mls of the champagne, then 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then 250 mls of champagne, then the remaining dry ingredients until all combined.

Split the batter between the two cake pans.  To do this I used a ladle to ensure each pan had the same amount as one of my pans was deeper than the other being a springform pan so it was more difficult just to eye ball.  Place in the oven and cook for between 35 -45 minutes or until cake tester or cocktail stick or knife comes out clean. One of the cakes took 35 minutes however the other pan took nearly 45 minutes until a cocktail stick came out clean, so just keep a careful watch on the cakes. Remove from the oven and wait till cooler then remove from pan and place on cooling rack.

Once cooled remove the greaseproof paper. I then used a knife to level off the cakes.

Frosting ingredients– 370 grams of softened and cubed butter. For me this meant leaving the butter out overnight to get it soft! 480 grams of icing sugar, 65mls of champagne, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract , pinch salt and red food colouring.

In a mixer add the butter and mix until creamy. Then add the icing sugar , champagne and salt and mix until light and fluffy. Add a few drops of red food colouring to the desired colour and mix until combined.

I placed one of the cakes on a plate then added some of the frosting on top of this, then added the remaining cake on top and added the rest of the frosting. However, you may want to cover the whole cake with frosting including the sides or try something fancier. I still had a reasonable amount of frosting remaining, even with slapping a fair amount on top and in between, so in future I would reduce the amount of frosting I make .I also added some edible daisy flowers I had left over.

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