Spiced cherry tea loaf

Spiced cherry tea loaf

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Do you ever get the feeling that you really want to bake something, but you don’t really have any time to spare? For me baking is the perfect distraction (some might say procrastination…) from my dissertation, but it does mean I have to have some quick recipes to make during a break from work. Enter this amazing tea loaf.

This cake is literally the easiest cake you’ll ever make. Normally making a tea loaf would require you to be organised the night before, and remember to leave your dried fruits to soak in tea overnight, but with my microwave method you can have this ready for the oven in 10 minutes. You can also swap the dried fruits if you don’t fancy glace cherries, dried sour cherries would also be really good, or even some mixed peel for a citrus twist.

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Spiced cherry tea loaf:

  • 200g raisins
  • 100g glace cherries
  • 225ml boiling water
  • 1 tea bag of your choice – I used Pukka Star anise and cinnamon tea
  • 50g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 egg

A large loaf tin, greased and lined with baking paper

  • Heat your oven to 180°C
  1.  Put the raisins into a bowl with the tea bag and the boiling water, then microwave for 3 minutes. Cover with a tea towel and leave to stand for 10 minutes before adding the cherries to the mixture.
  2. Make the cake by creaming the butter, sugar and vanilla together and then adding the egg.
  3. Add half the flour, and beat in well, before adding all the fruit mixture, and any liquid left in the bowl. Stir well, then add the rest of the flour and mix until you have a smooth batter.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared tin, then bake in the oven for about 1 hour, checking with a skewer to see if it’s cooked.
  5. Enjoy with a cup of tea.
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Mini Yule logs

Mini Yule logs

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Welcome to Day 11 of the 12 days of Christmas on Ellie Bakes, where I will be sharing a festive recipe every day until Christmas Eve. I think Christmas is the best time of the year for baking, and I have lots of great recipes to share!

These mini chocolate logs are so cute, just the right size to serve for tea on Christmas day, and look really effective with the markings and icing decorations. Make sure to cover the sponge with a tea towel after you have removed the baking paper, or it could dry out and become difficult to roll.

I used gingerbread coffee syrup in the filling to give it a spicy taste, but you could use rum or any other syrup in place of it. The decorations are really easy to make – we used icing coloured with gel food colourings rolled into balls and cut into holly leaves using a cutter.

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Christmas Cupcakes

Christmas Cupcakes

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Welcome to Day 7 of the 12 days of Christmas on Ellie Bakes, where I will be sharing a festive recipe every day until Christmas Eve. I think Christmas is the best time of the year for baking, and I have lots of great recipes to share!

These Christmas cupcakes are really cute, and a great alternative to a rich fruit cake.  They are great fun and really easy to decorate, perfect for making with children now the schools have broken up for Christmas!

We made some reindeer ones, using a red jellybean for the nose, mini marshmallows and writing icing for the eyes and pretzel sticks with flaked almonds attached on with icing for the antlers. We also made some adorable snowmen with marshmallow hats and pretzel arms.

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DIY Christmas presents

DIY Christmas presents

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Welcome to Day 7 of the 12 days of Christmas on Ellie Bakes, where I will be sharing a festive recipe every day until Christmas Eve. I think Christmas is the best time of the year for baking, and I have lots of great recipes to share!

These cupcake jars are perfect as last minute Christmas presents, as they can be assembled with ingredients you’re bound to have in your cupboard. They look really pretty when layered up, and would be great as a gift with some cupcake cases or even a mini wooden spoon.

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Chocolate pecan Gugelhupf

Chocolate pecan Gugelhupf

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So it was European cake week on the Great British Bake off this week! I thought the Princess cake, which was the technical challenge was quite odd – I wasn’t surprised that none of the contestants had ever heard of one before! I thought all of the yeasted European cakes looked really good, especially Martha’s!

I decided to make a Gugelhupf, which originates from Austria, and is traditionally a yeasted cake made with raisins and spice. More recently, however, Gugelhupfs have been made with baking powder, which is the route I went down. While researching, I found lots of recipes for a chocolate and vanilla marble Gugelhupf, so I decided to take this and give it a bit or a twist, using dark muscavado sugar to create a caramel flavour, and adding toasted pecans.

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Chocolate pecan Gugelhupf

For the caramel pecan mixture:

  • 150g softened butter
  • 150g dark muscavado sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 3 eggs
  • 180g self-raising flour
  • 50g natural yogurt
  • 50ml milk
  • 50g toasted pecans, roughly chopped

For the chocolate mixture:

  • 150g softened butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 130g self-raising flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 50g natural yogurt
  • 50ml milk
  • 50g milk chocolate, chopped

To decorate:

  • 50g milk chocolate, melted
  • 100g dark chocolate, melted
  • 50g toasted pecans, roughly chopped

25cm bundt tin, greased and dusted with flour

  • Heat your oven to 180°C
  1. For the caramel mixture, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, then mix in the eggs.
  2. Add the flour, yogurt and milk, then beat until you have a smooth batter, then stir in the pecans and set aside.
  3.  For the chocolate mixture, beat all the ingredients together until smooth.
  4. Dollop alternate spoonfuls of each mixture into the tin, until you have used all of both up. Take a butter knife and swirl both mixtures together, but not too much, or you’ll lose the marbled effect.
  5. www3Bake for 40-45 minutes until the sponge springs back when you touch it, and is golden brown.
  6. Turn out of the tin onto a cooling rack and leave to cool while you melt the milk and dark chocolate separately.
  7. When the cake is cool, drizzle the melted chocolate over and sprinkle over the pecans.

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This post is entered in week 5 of the Great Bloggers Bake Off, run by the lovely Jenny Paulin over at http://www.mummymishaps.co.uk/.

Cinnamon buns

Cinnamon buns

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Baking with yeast has always scared me slightly, as there seem to be so many possible ways it could go wrong! The apricot couronne (https://elliespinkcakes.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/apricot-couronne/) I made back in September was my first real foray into the world of yeast, so I decided it was high time I conquered my fear!

I had a couple of problem making these, the first being that my mixing bowl has acquired a hole, and has now made its way to the bin. 😦 I wasn’t going to let this stop me however, so I decided the only course of action was to make the dough on the kitchen table! My second problem was that I don’t actually have a rolling pin here at uni… cue new use for a lemondade bottle!

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These cinnamon buns are surprisingly easy to make, as they only require one rise. The dough is very quick to make, and only needs 5 minutes of kneading, so they are perfect if you don’t have much time. I made the dough and rolled the buns, then left them to prove whilst I went to a lecture, then came back and baked them – heaven! These buns are incredibly moreish, and they also make your kitchen smell amazing!

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Cinnamon buns

(recipe from http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/05/08/easy-cinnamon-rolls-from-scratch/)

For the dough:

345g strong white bread flour

3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 packet dried yeast

120ml water

60ml milk

40g butter

1 large egg

 

For the Filling:

45g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1 and 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

50g granulated sugar

 

For the Glaze:

120g icing sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons milk

Directions:

  1. For the dough, set aside 50g of flour. In a large bowl, (or on the table…!) mix the remaining flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast together until evenly dispersed. Set aside.
  2. Heat the water, milk, and butter together in the microwave until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot to touch. Stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture.
  3. Add the egg and enough of the reserved flour to make a soft dough. The dough will be ready when it gently pulls away from the side of the bowl and has an elastic consistency.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 3-4 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  5. Make the filling: After 10 minutes, roll the dough out in a 14×8 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter on top.
  6. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it all over the dough. Add more cinnamon/sugar if desired. Roll up the dough tightly. Cut into 11 even pieces and place in a lightly greased dish.
  7. Leave to rise for about 2 hours at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge.
  8. After the rolls have doubled in size, preheat the oven to 190°C. Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned. You might need to cover them with silver foil.
  9. Right before serving, top your cinnamon rolls with glaze. Mix the icing sugar and milk together until smooth and drizzle over the rolls.

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Baking (with essays!)

Baking (with essays!)

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Sorry I haven’t posted for a little while, but the reality of essays and deadlines caught up with me a little bit last week, and I had to impose a baking ban! I am happy to say that these have all been handed in now, and I can bake freely again! This post will basically be a round up of everything I’ve baked in the last couple of days.

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So, it was Halloween on Thursday, and, not being able to choose between making a cake or biscuits, I decided to do both, and make this graveyard cake! I made the inside of this a chequerboard cake – inspired by Kimberley’s one in the Great British Bake Off final. The pink cake was supposed to be blood red, but for some reason our campus shop doesn’t stock red gel food colouring…!

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Today it’s my flatmate’s birthday, so to celebrate I made her a brownie stack! This is basically brownies stacked up and drizzled with melted chocolate, then sprinkled with chocolate chips, to make a chocolatey browniey (yes that is a word!) pile, which is perfect to share.

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