Spiced cherry tea loaf

Spiced cherry tea loaf

IMG_6015[1]IMG_6010[1]

 

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.

IMG_6013[1]

IMG_6019[1]

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.
DIY Christmas presents

DIY Christmas presents

IMG_1354[1]

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.

Read more

Mince Pies

Mince Pies

IMG_1338[1]

Welcome to Day 6 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!

Mince pies are a Christmas essential, and these are really simple to make. They are perfect to make for Christmas gatherings, and are easy for children to get involved with!

You can vary the additions to the mincemeat – I also like using orange zest and chocolate chips, or you can add other dried fruits like cherries and apricots. You can also use different toppings, I like to use a brown sugar meringue, or a simple crumble mixture as an alternative to pastry.

Read more

Rocky Road

Rocky Road

IMG_1306[1]

Welcome to Day 3 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 rocky road are the perfect Christmas gift, as they can be cut into neat little squares, which, when packaged in little paper bags with ribbon and labels look really cute. They would be great to give to teachers, relatives, or chocolate loving friends!

A couple of my friends (who shall remain nameless!) hate it when I put raisins in my rocky road, as they are ‘too healthy'(!), so for them I have made a plain version, simply with biscuits and marshmallows. I’ve also put the ingredients for a Christmassy version, with orange zest and ‘healthy’ dried cranberries.

IMG_1302[1]

Read more

Orange Hot chocolate

Orange Hot chocolate

IMG_1257[1]

Welcome to Day 3 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!

This hot chocolate is the perfect indulgent Christmas treat, and is the only thing to drink after a frosty winter walk. It is also a great way to use up those chocolate oranges which you might have hanging around at this time of year…!

You can scale it up to make as much as you want, just multiply the recipe by how many hearts you are warming (or people you are feeding)!

IMG_1267[1]

Read more

Cranberry and Dark chocolate cookies

Cranberry and Dark chocolate cookies

IMG_1237[1]

Welcome to Day 2 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 cookies are really quick to make, perfect for baking when unexpected visitors pop in! They’re best eaten straight from the oven, while the chocolate is still melted. They work really well with cranberries and dark chocolate, but you can use whatever chocolate you have in the cupboard. Orange zest also works really well in place of the cinnamon.

IMG_1220[1]

Read more

Chocolate log

Chocolate log

IMG_1173

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!

IMG_1160

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.

IMG_1164

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.

IMG_1159