Monday, 17 December 2012

Cherry Studded Christmas Fudge


This delicious fudge recipe is a new favourite of mine, the fudge is unbelievably creamy and sinfully sweet but not teeth achingly so, the texture is wonderfully soft and smooth and not at all grainy or sugary.

Each chunky square is an absolute treat.


I decided to add chopped glacé cherries to the top of my fudge, mainly because Christmas is the only time of year the glacé cherry is embraced by all and I like to make the most of it but also because I think the shiny red cherries look suitably festive. 

 Feel free to mix it up though, stir in some chocolate chips instead or add some chopped nuts, you can sprinkle crushed candy canes or Oreos across the top, or even add some flavouring extract to the mixture during the post cooking, beating stage.

What ever you decide to do everyone will absolutely love this fudge.


Cherry Studded Christmas Fudge

Makes 20-25 chunky squares

50g light brown sugar
150g caster sugar
100g condensed milk
50g unsalted butter
2 tbsp golden syrup (or corn syrup)
150ml double cream

150g cherries, halved and/or quartered

Combine all of the ingredients in a large heavy based pan.  Place the pan over a medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture reaches 118C on a sugar thermometer.

Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the fudge mixture into a large mixing bowl. Beat the mixture with an electric mixer for 5-10 minutes until very thick.

Tip the fudge into a greased and lined baking tin or dish (I used a dish measuring approx.18cm by 10cm) and smooth into an even layer using a rubber spatula.

Push the chopped cherries into the top of the slab of fudge in a single, even layer.

Allow the fudge to cool before refrigerating for around 3 hours until fully set. 

Chop the fudge into squares using a sharp knife and pile high to serve.


Enjoy!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

A Great Big Buttercream Bakery Christmas Cupcake Catch Up



I hope you are all having a great time planning and preparing for all the Christmas festivities.  I don't know about you but no matter how early I start planning or how organised I try to be, Christmas always sneaks up on me and suddenly we are days away from the big event and nothing is ready!

I'm trying not to panic but time is flying and I need to get moving!

I've been really busy with all sorts of Christmas cuteness and also some not so Christmassy cuteness. As always Buttercream Bakery has been full of teddy bears and this little one below is one of my favourites.


I think he looks a little grumpy which only makes him more endearing and I love to give my bears a fuzzy texture, it makes them look super cuddly.

I've been frantically smashing candy canes into delicious rubble and stamping out a million little Christmas trees to decorate scrumptious cupcakes with.


These Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Peppermint Candy Cane Sprinkle are so ridiculously yummy! I ate three just to make sure.


More adorable Christmas teddy bears complete with Santa hats, the one above in full Santa regalia, even has a tiny little present.



As I said though, it hasn't all been Christmassy.

I always find it quite difficult changing gear mid festive season and making something completely unrelated, like...oh I don't know...aeroplanes? You get into a Christmas zone, it is hard to step out of but great to have a break and make something different.


Not a Santa hat in sight.

I made these cupcakes for an aeroplane themed 4th birthday and I have to say I love them.

The Vintage Pilot Teddy Bear is so adorable I am going to put him up for sale in our new Etsy shop and I love the little aeroplanes more than I ever thought I could, I didn't think I was an aeroplane sort of girl.


So cute!

Speaking of cute...


This adorable little puppy is so sweet and just crying out for a tummy tickle!  I had never made a puppy topper in this possition before but I love it and have plans for all sorts of 'tickle my tummy puppies'.

Last but by no means least, the main man himself...

Santa!


This years Santa toppers are adorable, Santa is all rosy cheeked and giggling beneath his bushy white beard and fetching moustache.

I will try and fit in a few more posts in the coming week, I have some delicious Christmas fudge to tempt you with and plenty more Christmas cupcakes and mini cakes to show you.

Have a fantastic weekend.

x x x

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Coconut & Rum Layer Cake



This is a fantastic cake, the fluffy vanilla cake layers are soaked in coconut and rum syrup and iced with luscious rum and coconut buttercream frosting. This I promise you is a cake that can convert even the most hardened of coconut haters.

This gorgeous snowy white cake would make a fantastic alternative Christmas cake, coconut may not be traditionally festive but I'm pretty sure rum is!


Coconut & Rum Layer Cake

For the Cake:

210g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
225g unsalted butter, room temperature
250g caster sugar
4 large eggs
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla paste

For the Syrup:

3 tbsp white rum
1 tbsp water
50g icing sugar
1/4 tsp coconut extract

For the Coconut and Rum Buttercream Frosting:

350g unsalted butter, room temperature
600g (10oz) icing sugar
50ml coconut milk
splash white rum
1/4 tsp coconut extract
100g sweet tendered long thread coconut



To Make the Cake:

Preheat the oven to 180C.  Grease and line two 23cm cake pans.

Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy, around 3 minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, scrape down the sides of the bowl regularly and add a spoonful of the flour mixture after the second and third egg to prevent curdling.

Gently fold in the flour mixture, milk and vanilla paste until fully incorporated and the batter is smooth.

Pour equal amounts of cake batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and the centre of the cake springs back when lightly pressed.

To Make the Syrup:

Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and place over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

When the cakes are baked, remove them from the oven and immediately spoon the syrup over both layers of cake.

Allow the cakes to cool in their cake pans completely before removing.

To Make the Frosting:

Beat the butter with an electric mixer until smooth and pale.  Add half of the icing sugar and beat for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, rum and coconut extract and beat to combine. Gradually add the rest of the icing sugar, beating all the time until you reach desired consistency, you may not need it all.  Beat the buttercream for 3 minutes until smooth and creamy.
To Assemble:

Sandwich together the cake layers with frosting and a handful of coconut. Ice the top and the sides of the cake and cover with the remaining coconut. 


Enjoy!

My Perfect Christmas Biscuits


I decided that this year was the year to invent my Perfect Christmas Biscuit. A biscuit that will forever more be a symbol of the season, well...in my house at least.

I wanted something that just screamed Christmas.


These gorgeous biscuits are packed full of all the wonderful flavours and scents of Christmas, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, currants, raisins, cranberries, walnuts, apricot, cognac and orange.

The buttery biscuit literally melts in your mouth and if all that isn't enough, once baked these beautiful, fruit filled biscuits are dipped in fragrant orange and honey syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon and walnuts.


Delicious!

I love the method used to make these biscuits, rolling the dough into balls, flattening it, filling with fruit and gathering up the edges to create a beautifully smooth biscuit with a secret fruity, flavour packed centre. 

Don't be fooled by the long list of ingredients, these biscuits are really simple to make and you can use any dried fruit you have in the house, there is no need to stick to my list.  You can also add brandy, amaretto or any tipple you fancy instead of the cognac.


Christmas Biscuits

Makes roughly 35 biscuits.

For the Orange and Honey Syrup:

4 tbsp honey
2 tbsp golden syrup
125g light brown sugar
100ml water
50ml orange juice

For the Fruity Filling:

50g walnuts, finely chopped
50g dried dates, finely chopped
75g mixture of currants, raisins and sultanas, finely chopped
25g dried cranberries, finely chopped
25g dried apricot, finely chopped
50g unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp Orange and Honey Syrup (made in step one)

For the Biscuit Dough:

125g unsalted butter, room temperature
150ml olive oil
60g icing sugar
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice
juice and zest of one orange
1 tbsp cognac
375g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

For the Nutty Cinnamon Sprinkle:

50g walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon

3 x lightly greased cookie trays


To Make the Biscuits:

Pre heat the oven to 180C

Step 1 - The Syrup:

Combine all of the ingredients for the syrup in a small saucepan and stir. Place over a medium-low heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Step 2 - The Fruity Filling:

Combine the nuts and all of the dried fruit in a medium mixing bowl. Add the butter and mixed spice to the bowl and mix until evenly distributed. Add two tablespoons of the syrup made in step one and mix. Set aside.

Step 3 - The Biscuit Dough

Beat together the butter, olive oil and icing sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.  Add all of the spices, the orange juice and zest and beat to combine. Sift together the flour and baking powder and fold into the mixture just until a dough forms.

Step 4 - Assembling the Biscuits

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until smooth.  Shape the dough into around 35 small balls.  Flatten each ball and add a small tablespoon of fruity filling to the centre.  Fold over the edges to seal the fruit inside, gently re-roll into a ball and flatten.

Place on the prepared cookie trays and bake one tray at a time in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the biscuits are pale golden.

Remove the biscuits from the trays and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 5 - The Nutty Cinnamon Sprinkle

Combine the chopped nuts and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside

Step 6 - The Final Flourish

Once the biscuits are completely cool, place a sheet of greaseproof paper under the wire rack to catch any drips. Dip each biscuit in the syrup made in step one and sprinkle with the nutty cinnamon mixture made in step 5.

Pile the biscuits high and Enjoy!

 

x x x