Chocolate log

Chocolate log

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Only 4 days until Christmas! One of my favourite things to decorate at Christmas is a Yule log, and this year I decided to bake my own, instead of decorating a shop bought one. I made marzipan holly leaves and berries to decorate my log, along with a sift of icing sugar snow, but you can use real holly, as long as you wash it first!

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Now making a swiss roll, which forms the basis of this log, always seemed like a daunting task for me, with too much whisking of eggs and careful folding in of flour. However, it is actually very easy, as long as you are gentle with the mixture and try and incorporate as much air as possible.

This log makes a very pretty centrepiece at Christmas, particularly for people who don’t like the heavy fruit of a traditional Christmas cake.

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Chocolate log

Recipe adapted from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/8767/yummy-chocolate-log

For the cake
3 eggs
85g golden caster sugar
85g plain flour (less 2 tbsp)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder

For the filling & icing
50g butter
140g dark chocolate, broken into squares
1 tbsp golden syrup
284ml pot double cream
200g icing sugar, sifted

100g marzipan

Red and green food colouring to make holly and berries

  1. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Grease and line a 23 x 32cm Swiss roll tin with baking parchment. Beat the eggs and sugar together with an electric whisk for about 8 mins until thick and creamy.
  2. Mix the flour, cocoa and baking powder together, then sift onto the egg mixture. Fold in very carefully, then pour into the tin. Now tip the tin from side to side to spread the mixture into the corners. Bake for 10 mins.
  3. Lay a sheet of baking parchment on the work surface. When the cake is ready, tip it onto the parchment, peel off the lining paper, then roll the cake up from its longest edge with the paper inside. Leave to cool.
  4. To make the icing, melt the butter and chocolate together in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Take from the heat and stir in the syrup and 5 tbsp cream. Beat in the icing sugar until smooth. Whisk the remaining cream until it holds its shape. Unravel the cake, spread the cream over the top, then carefully roll up again into a log.
  5. Cut a thick diagonal slice from one end of the log. Lift the log on to a plate, then arrange the slice on the side with the diagonal cut against the cake to make a branch.
  6. Spread the icing over the log and branch then use a fork to mark the icing to give the effect of tree bark. Scatter with icing sugar to resemble snow, and decorate with marzipan holly.

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Almond mince pies

Almond mince pies

So it’s December, only 11 days until Christmas, and I am home! I love this time of year, not least because there are so many festive things to bake. These mince pies make your kitchen smell divine, and are best baked while listening to Christmas music (and singing along…!)

I love mince pies, but having pastry on the top and bottom can make them a bit heavy, so I have created a lighter version, using marzipan to give a lovely almondy flavour. I also like to make the mincemeat a bit more interesting, by adding grated apple, raisins and some extra spices.

Almond mince pies

250g plain flour
50g icing sugar
sprinkle of cinnamon
125g butter, cut into cubes
1 egg
splash of water

250g mincemeat
pinch of cinnamon and ginger
1 small apple, grated, then patted with kitchen towel to get rid of most of the liquid
50g raisins
30g candied peel, chopped
30g glace morello cherries, chopped

100g marzipan
30g flaked almonds

7.5cm fluted round cutter
shallow 12 holed tin

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C
For the pastry, put the flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter into a food processor and whizz until it is the texture of fine bread crumbs.
Add the egg and pulse a couple of times. Add a splash of water and pulse until the mixture comes together as a dough, but do not overwork it.
Take it out, and pat into a round, then cover in clingfilm and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make your mincemeat. Put the mincemeat into a bowl, and add the apple, raisins, peel, cherries and spices, and mix together well.
When your pastry has chilled, roll it out thinly, and cut 12 circles out.
Gently place these in the tin, then add a small piece of marzipan to each one.
Spoon a little mincemeat on top, then sprinkle over the flaked almonds. Bake for 12-15 mintues, or until the pastry is golden and the mincemeat is bubbling.
Take them out of the tin and place on a cooling rack while you make 12 more.

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Chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate chip cookies

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First off, sorry there hasn’t been a post for a while, it has been the usual story of too much work and not enough time to bake (or blog about it!) In the last couple of weeks there are two things which I have been baking regularly, just to cheer myself up from the boredom of essays. The first of these is cinnamon buns, which you can find the recipe for in my last blog post (https://elliespinkcakes.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/cinnamon-buns/), and they are still the yummiest things on earth!

The second things I have been baking lots are these wonderful chocolate chip cookies. These are soft baked, so when you take them out of the oven they will not look cooked, but don’t worry! Leave them to cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes, and when you come back to them they will be perfect.

I have also made a few other cakes, some of which were eaten before I got time to take a picture!

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Most excitingly, it is now December, so watch out for lots of Christmassy bakes coming up in the next few weeks!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction (http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/03/01/salted-caramel-dark-chocolate-cookies/)

  • 130g  butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature preferred
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 130g plain flour
  • 85g  cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 150g chocolate chips (mixture of milk and dark)

2 large baking trays, lined with greasproof paper

  1. Beat together the butter, sugars and vanilla until light and creamy, then add the egg and beat again.
  2. Add the flour and cocoa powder, and stir in gently with the milk.
  3. Add the chocolate chips and work in, using your hands, then leave the dough in the fridge for 2 hours to firm up.
  4. After 2 hours, pre-heat your oven to 190°C, and take the dough out of the fridge.
  5. Take 2 spoonfuls of chilled dough roll into a ball with your hands. Place onto the baking tray before repeating with the rest of the mixture.
  6. Bake the cookies for 12-13 minutes, and don’t woprry about them still looking soft!
  7. Leave them to cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack and enjoying!

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