Festive Flapjacks

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Flapjacks are good at any time of the year but adding some festive flavours makes them extra yummy! I added dates and ground almonds but cranberries would be really good too.

Festive Flapjacks

Ingredients

100g Butter

2 tablespoon Golden Syrup (can use honey)

50g Soft, Light Brown Sugar

175g Porridge Oates

50g Ground Almonds

100g Dates (I left mine whole but they could be chopped depending on taste)

Method

Pre heat the oven to 180c

In a large saucepan, heat the butter, syrup and sugar, stirring to melt. Remove the pan from the heat once the ingredients are melted together well. Add porridge oats and ground almonds and mix together well.

Pour the mixture into a small, square, greased tin. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden. Cool for a few minutes then cut into squares or slices before cooled completely.

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Perfect Mince Pies

Feeling Christmassy? Here is a recipe for mince pies…
You will need a 12 hole cupcake or muffin tin. Preheat the oven to 180c
To make 12 mince pies I use 225g plain flour and 125g very cold butter – mix together lightly until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add 1 tablespoon of caster sugar and enough very cold water to mix together to bind it– I prefer it a little wetter than too dry. ( If you accidentally make it too wet just add a little flour back into it) Wrap in cling-film and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Then roll out the pastry and cut with round cutters – you’ll need a round larger than the size of your tin for the base and a smaller one for the lid. I cut snowflake shapes for the top. TIP! Roll your pastry very gently, overworking it will make it tough.
Fill the bases with mincemeat (not too full or it will explode through the lid!) Place the lid on top and prick with a fork, brush with milk and bake for about 10 – 20 minutes until golden brown.
Sprinkle with a little caster sugar or icing sugar to serve.
To make special fruity mince pies just add fresh chopped fruit to the mincemeat and mix well before making the pies and baking. I used chopped apricots, fresh cranberries, zest of a lemon and added some demerara sugar to sweeten the fruit a little

Here’s how to make your own mincemeat – packed full of fruit🙂

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Carrot, Apricot and Walnut Cake

Sometimes a picture just doesn’t do a cake justice and this is one of those times. I found this cake so moreish I couldn’t stop to take a photo so it was very rushed!

If you like carrot cake this is a very moist one with loads of flavour….

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Carrot, Apricot and Walnut Cake

Ingredients

75g Soft Brown Sugar

30ml Vegetable Oil

45g Melted Butter

1 Tablespoon Golden Syrup

1 Medium Egg

125g Self-Raising Flour

125g Grated Carrot

75g Chopped Dried Apricots

75g Chopped Walnuts

Method

Pre heat the oven to 160c

Grease and line a small loaf tin.

Beat the sugar, oil melted butter and golden syrup together well.

Add the egg to the mixture and beat well.

Stir in the flour followed by the carrot, apricots and walnuts.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check that the top is cooked and golden brown and that a clean skewer comes out still clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.

Recipe is adapted from a Carrot Cake recipe in Riverford Farm Cook Book by Guy Watson and Jane Baxter.

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Easter Biscuits

My grandmother always made Easter Biscuits at this time of year and they were truly scrumptious. Now I’m a grandmother I bake them and always think of her as I do. I’ve no idea where she got the recipe from originally but she was an early member of the WI so possibly from there and I’ve  adapted the recipe only slightly. The biscuits are incredibly light and are always popular.

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Easter Biscuits

Easter Biscuits

Ingredients

225g Plain Flour

55g Custard Powder

225g Butter

110g Caster Sugar

75g Mixed Fruit (or can be one fruit e.g. sultanas)

15g Ground Almonds

Zest of 1 Lemon plus 1 teaspoon of the juice

½ Teaspoon Cinnamon or Mixed Spice

1 + ½ Egg Yolks

Method

Pre heat the oven to 175c and line a baking sheet.

Cream the butter and sugar together well then beat in the egg yolks.

Whisk the flour, custard powder and spice together and then stir in the fruit. Add this to the beaten egg, butter and sugar mix and also add the lemon juice and zest. Mix together. If it seems sticky, wrap it in cling-film and put into the fridge to firm up before rolling out. This should take about 30 minutes but it can be left overnight.

Roll out and cut out circles to the size you like – mine were quite small and I got 32 biscuits from the mixture.

Bake for about ten minutes. They should look light golden brown and need to be still fairly soft as they will firm up once cooled.

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Rosewater Cupcakes

Rosewater Cupcakes for Mother’s Day

Rosewater gives a lovely delicate taste to cakes and is perfect for a cupcake. The recipe will give 10 – 12 cupcakes which are lovely for an afternoon tea – just right for mum on Mother’s Day. Alternatively, serve them in vintage bone china tea cups or put them in lacy wrappers and pretty boxes tied with ribbon for a scrumptious gift.

Rosewater Cupcakes

Ingredients:-

100g Butter, softened

110g Caster Sugar

2 Teaspoons Rosewater (I used Neilsen-Massey)

120g Self-Raising Flour

2 Tablespoons Cornflour

2 Medium Eggs, beaten

3 Tablespoons Milk

Method:-

Heat the oven to 160c and place cupcake cases in a 12 hole muffin tin.

Beat the butter and caster sugar together well until soft and creamy. Add all the other ingredients and beat to combine but for no more than one minute. Divide between the cake cases ( you can make between 10 – 12 depending how much mixture you put in each.)

I decorated my cupcakes with buttercream with half a teaspoon of rosewater added. Then I added fondant toppers and flowers for Mother’s Day but these cupcakes would be equally lovely at any spring or summer tea party.

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Marmalade Madeira Cake

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Marmalade Madeira Cake

I love marmalade at this time of year and make my own when I can. I’ve recently had a craving for a really moist marmalade cake but I’ve had to make this three times to get exactly what I wanted! It’s basically a madeira cake recipe with marmalade, orange zest and orange juice added which gives a lovely flavour. This version has chopped dried apricots added which gave me the rather moist and almost sticky cake I wanted.

Marmalade Madeira Cake

Ingredients:-

150g Softened Butter

150g Caster Sugar

3 Eggs

150g Self-Raising Flour

75g Plain Flour

Zest of 1 Orange

1 Tablespoon Orange Juice

2 Tablespoons Orange Marmalade

100g Chopped Dried Apricots

Method:-

Pre heat the oven to 160c. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin or a 7”/ 18cm round cake tin.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light in colour and soft.

Add the eggs one by one and beat in well.

Fold in the flour carefully.

Fold in all the other ingredients and pour into the prepared tin.

Bake for approximately 1 to 1 ¼ hours until light golden brown in colour, firm to the touch and inserting a clean skewer comes out clean.

Turn the cake out onto a rack to cool.

I used some more orange juice (1 tablespoon) and added 2 tablespoons of icing sugar to make a drizzle for the top of the cake when it had cooled.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Marmalade Madeira Cake

I have to admit I couldn’t wait to eat this so started on it straight from the oven drizzled with double cream! However, it is a cake which keeps really well and the flavour improves if you can bear to wait.

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Raspberry and Rose Cake

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This cake is made with two 6″ sponges infused with rose water, drizzled with rose syrup and filled with raspberry conserve and raspberry flavoured buttercream. The cake was layered and decorated for a birthday but would be equally delicious and pretty served simply as a filled sponge.

Raspberry and Rose Cake

For the two 6″ sponges:-

225g Butter (softened)

225g Caster Sugar

4 Large Eggs, beaten

225g Self Raising Flour

1 Teaspoon Rose Water

Drop(s) of pink food colouring

Pre heat the oven to 160c and line two 6″ round cake tins.

Beat the sugar and butter together well, slowly add the beaten eggs then fold in the flour. Finally, stir in the rose water and colour. Divide between the two cake tins and bake for between 20-30 minutes.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Raspberry and Rose layered sponges

To make a rose syrup I used 1 tablespoon of rose petal sugar with 1 tablespoon of water and boiled it for a few minutes. This was then drizzled over the cakes as they were taken from the oven and still warm. The cakes were then left to cool completely before slicing each one in half horizontally. The four layers were then placed on top of each other with raspberry conserve or raspberry buttercream between each layer.

For Raspberry Buttercream:-

150g Butter, softened

250g Icing Sugar

2 Tablespoons Raspberry Conserve

Beat all the ingredients together well for a few minutes.

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I used some of the buttercream to fill the cakes then used some to cover the whole cake. The cake was put in the fridge for about twenty minutes to firm the buttercream.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Raspberry and Rose Cake

Finally, I added more raspberry conserve and a drop of pink food colour to the remaining buttercream and used it to decorate the outside of the cake. I added pink sugar sprinkles and some sugar roses to finish it off.

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My Favourite Recipe Blog Posts of 2015

2015 Favourites
The end of the year is always a good time for review and to make plans for the new year ahead. 2015 has been an incredibly busy one for me as I set up my cake business in a new area. I’ve been amazed and inspired by the lovely people I’ve met and support I’ve received, it’s been an exciting as well as challenging year.
My year of baking has been one of using mainly tried and tested recipes and improving on these where possible to give my clients the best possible tasting cake. However, experimenting has been minimal and my blog has been a little neglected. Plans to bake my way along with The Great British Bake Off were side-lined as wedding cake orders became priority. I’ve learnt a lot more about baking but still want to try new recipes. So one of my New Year’s resolutions for 2016 is definitely more baking (yes, I am obsessive) and more blogging.
What I love about baking and blogging is the creativity and sharing. Baking something delicious and sharing it is one of the most rewarding things for me and blogging and sharing recipes is the same. The following are my favourite recipe posts from 2015 from lovely bloggers who have inspired me to bake more…..
1. Gluten Free Copycat Chocolate Hobnobs by The Culinary Jumble
I love this blog as it features a mix of English and Swedish recipes and so many scrummy bakes, some traditional, some new and many gluten free. It’s difficult to choose from all the mouth-watering pictures but these cookies just look divine and I can’t wait to eat some!
2. Healthier Brownies with Cashew Nut Butter by Tin and Thyme
Another of my favourite blogs with recipes and writing from a Cornish kitchen. There are loads of chocolate recipes but these stood out for me as they sound really healthy and yet look so scrumptious!
3. No Bake Caramel Rolo Cheesecake by Jane’s Patisserie
‘Caramel creamy cheesecake filling on top of a delicious buttery biscuit base drizzled with an extra bit of caramel and packed full of Rolo’s’ Yum. I just don’t know what else to say. No baking I know, so a bit of a cheat but the gorgeous pictures make this look totally irresistible!
4. Plum Limoncello Tart by Kat The Baking Explorer
Kat is an incredible baker who did what I failed to do – bake along with The Great British Bake Off. Her stunning bakes would wow Paul and Mary and this was one which caught my eye. The posts also include a roundup of each week’s bakes in the Bake Off tent during August / September.
5. Crostata di frutta profumata: The Venetian-Mediterranean spring dream cake by La Venessiana
Such a pretty cake, perfect for a summer tea party, and the blog is beautiful, full of gorgeous pictures of Venice and Venetian recipes.
6. Banana Cupcakes by The Botanical Kitchen
I love this blog because there are lots of bakes using seasonal fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. These cupcakes are banana with cinnamon which work so well together. The frosting sounds deliciously complementary to the bananas with lemon juice and cream cheese. Yum.
7. Best Ever Gingerbread Biscuits by Charlotte’s Kitchen Diary
Charlotte is a trained chef and food writer and I was lucky to meet her several times when she ran our local Clandestine Cake Club. Her bakes are always delicious and as I love ginger these are definitely on my ‘to bake’ list.
And finally this is one of my own favourite bakes from the year – Blueberry, Lemon and White Chocolate Cake 
Here’s to 2016 and lots more baking, blogging and sharing!

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