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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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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Cranberry and Dark chocolate cookies

Cranberry and Dark chocolate cookies

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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.

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Pear and ginger frangipane tarts

Pear and ginger frangipane tarts

day 1

Welcome to Day 1 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 pear and ginger tarts are the perfect Christmassy bake, and are a great alternative to some of the richer cakes at this time of year, especially for anyone who doesn’t like mince pies.

They are perfect served cold with a cup of tea, but are just as good heated up with ice-cream as a dessert. Try and use a firm pear, as it will soften as it cooks, and you want it to retain some flavour and texture.

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Rainbow cupcakes

Rainbow cupcakes

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Now January can be rather a sad month, especially since we haven’t had any snow yet! I’m particularly disappointed about the lack of snow, as it was one of the reasons I chose to come to York…!

These cupcakes are the ultimate pick-me-up; not only do they taste really good, but bite into one and you will literally be able to taste (and see!) the rainbow.

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Rainbow Cupcakes

For the cakes:

150g softened butter

150g caster sugar

3 eggs

150g self-raising flour

1tsp vanilla bean paste

Red, orange, yellow, green and blue gel food colourings

For the frosting:

80g softened butter

300g icing sugar

25ml milk

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

12 hole cupcake tin, greased and dusted with flour

Oven Pre-heated to 180°C

  1.  For the cakes, put the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and cream together until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs, and beat well, adding a tablespoon of flour if the mixture looks curdled.
  3. Sift in the rest of the flour and mix well.
  4. Now divide your mixture into 5 bowls, and it’s time to add the food colouring!
  5. Add a few drops of food colouring to each bowl, to create a red bowl, orange bowl, and so on. Add more colouring if you want a brighter cupcake.
  6. Divide the red mixture between the holes, then carefully spread out. Add the orange and spread, then the yellow, then the green, and finally the blue mixture.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until they spring back when touched.
  8. Meanwhile, make the frosting. Put all the ingredients into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  9. When the cakes are cool, ice them with the frosting.                                                                   IMG_1464[1]
Blue ombré birthday cake

Blue ombré birthday cake

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This year I want to challenge myself with my baking, and try new things, (including bread!), as well as improving old recipes of mine. This sponge is a good way to start any year, as it’s light and fluffy, gently speckled with vanilla seeds, and covered with a striking and beautiful icing, which will be enjoyed by everyone!

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This birthday cake, which I made for my sister before I went back to uni this week after the Christmas holidays, was inspired by the fresh colours of January. I always feel that January is a pale blue kind of month – slightly washed out, slightly icy, but still a pretty colour. This cake is simple, with a vanilla sponge and jam filling, but it will appeal to everyone, and is a great staple.

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Blue ombré birthday cake

For the cakes:

340g butter

340g caster sugar

2tsp vanilla bean paste

6 eggs

340g self-raising flour

150g strawberry jam

For the icing:

120g butter, softened

500g icing sugar

30ml milk

1tsp vanilla bean paste

Blue gel food colouring

Blue macarons and candles to decorate

3 x 20cm cake tins, greased and lined with baking paper

Preheat the oven to 180°C

  1. For the cakes, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla with an electric whisk, until pale and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each egg, and adding a spoonful of flour if it looks like it might curdle.
  3. Sift in the remaining flour once all the eggs have been added, and fold it in.
  4. Spoon the mixture equally into the 3 tins, and cook for 20-25 minutes, until risen and the sponge springs back when lightly touched.
  5.  Meanwhile make the icing – put the butter, icing sugar, milk and vanilla in a bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  6. Divide the icing into 4 bowls, and colour accordingly – you want one left white, one with 8 drops of blue gel in, one with 16-20 drops of blue gel in, and the final bowl with enough blue gel to turn it a dark blue colour.
  7. When the cakes are done, remove them from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. When cold, even up the tops with a serrated knife until even, then layer the, up on a cake stand with the strawberry jam.
  9. Now you are ready to ice! Ice the top of the cake and ¼ of the way down the side with the white icing. Then spread the palest blue another ¼ of the way down, slightly blurring the join with your palette knife.
  10. Repeat with the remaining two blue icings, then draw your palette knife round the whole cake to create a smooth finish.
  11. Decorate with macarons and candles and serve!