Tag Archives: Dessert

Christmas: 12 favourite festive cakes and bakes

I was chatting about baking to a mum in the playground yesterday, we discovered a shared love of fairly unusual continental recipes, the kind Paul and Pru would give to Bake Off contestants to try and baffle them into submission. It got me thinking about some of my favourite things I’ve baked and blogged, so I thought I’d choose 12 of our favourite festive cakes, bakes and makes and give them another airing.

I promise you they’re all easy, I lack the patience, time and skill to do anything too fancy and time consuming; but they’re all delicious.

Mincemeat Flapjack

One of the most enduring and classic flavours of Christmas is mincemeat. Mince pies are an undeniable Christmas classic, but I’ve been throwing mincemeat into cakes and vol au vents for a few years now. It’s too good an ingredient just to use in little pies. So I baked a hearty batch of mincemeat flapjack and they all but disappeared in an afternoon. They’re simple, they’re filling and most of all, they’re delicious.

12 of our favourite festive cakes, bakes and makes

Lebkuchen Cake 

Traditionally a moreish soft biscuit, I decided to attempt a German Lebkuchen Cake with considerable success. The recipe is easier than it looks to make and the results are truly scrumptious. It’s one of our favourite festive cakes!

12 of our favourite festive cakes, bakes and makes

Danish Butter Cookies

Because to me, and other children of the 80’s, Danish Butter Cookies are forever linked to Christmas, it’s at this time of year I tend to make them the most. A batch of cookies neatly wrapped in brown paper, or in a decorative bag or box make a lovely little edible gift for someone.

Christmas Recipe: Danish Butter Biscuits

Joulutorttu

Traditionally Joulutorttu are made with puff pastry and a special Finnish prune jam. However I made mine with a Christmas preserve, but it does need a good firm set jam. Try plum or prune conserve for authenticity. They look a bit tricky to make, but it’s ready-roll puff pastry and jam and  a bit of arty twisting of the pastry.

Joulutorttu

Chocolate Dipped Candied Orange Slices

I like to make a big batch of these chocolate dipped candied orange slices at Christmas and give little bags of them as presents for people. They’re also a really nice treat to take away on holiday to nibble with a nice glass of good red wine in the evening.

Recipe: Chocolate Dipped Candied Orange Slices

Mincemeat Filo Rolls

I do love mince pies, but sadly the pastry doesn’t love me. Instead of the usual shortcrust pastry pies, I make these alternative mince pies, with filo pastry and in the style of a spring roll. These Mincemeat Filo Rolls were really, really lovely.

Easy Christmas Recipe: Mincemeat Filo Rolls

Mulled Cider Jellies

Sometimes, and this is not very often, I mull too much cider and I’ll have some left. Sure, I could heat it up again later, but I fancied making something different with it. I thought I’d make some Mulled Cider Jellies. It turns out they make a really interesting, different and delicious festive dessert. You could make them just as well with apple juice if you’re serving them to children or people who don’t drink alcohol. It’s a very pretty dessert and just a bit different.

Christmas Recipe: Mulled Cider Jellies

Christmas Pudding Ice Cream

This is an incredibly easy dessert, imagine a rich vanilla ice cream topped with Courvoisier soaked festive fruits. It’s utterly delicious, you can whip it up the night before, or make it up to a month ahead of the big day. It is delicious, incredibly simple and uses only four ingredients. I think we’ve found a winner!

12 of our favourite festive cakes, bakes and makes

Sticky Ginger Sponge Cake with Cinnamon Frosting

I love a bit of ginger cake and at this time of year it’s a lovely warming bake to make for the family. It’s sticky and spicy and you can dress it up for Christmas, or dress it down for every day cake eating if you prefer. This sticky ginger sponge cake with cinnamon frosting is special enough to serve for an occasion, or you could glitz it up a bit more and serve it as an alternative Christmas cake. It’s about as easy as can be.

Easy Recipe: Sticky Ginger Sponge Cake with Cinnamon Frosting

Cranberry and Pomegranate Jelly

Puddings at Christmas time can be a bit on the heavy side. All that booze soaked fruit and extra thick cream can get a bit much; plus if you’re feeding the whole family, Christmas pudding is not a universally popular choice. What is always, always popular is jelly. This is a jelly that everyone in the family can enjoy – cranberry and pomegranate jelly!

Recipe: Cranberry and Pomegranate Jelly

Peppermint Bark Buttons

Homemade treats make for really lovely gifts at Christmas. These Peppermint Bark Buttons are really fun to make and they’re delicious too.

Homemade Gifts: Peppermint Bark Buttons

Cinnamon & Raisin Shortbread

I originally created this shortbread recipe in 2013 in celebration of the Great British Bake Off; it’s been a favourite ever since. Cinnamon and raisin are a great combination and this lovely crumbly shortbread is a great bake all year round.

Recipe: Cinnamon & Raisin Shortbread

So that’s my little round up of my 12 of our favourite festive cakes, bakes and makes. What are your favourite favourite festive cakes, bakes or makes?

12 of our favourite festive cakes, bakes and makes

Recipe: Fig, Honey & Cinnamon Sponge Pudding

I love figs, they still seem like a decadent kind of fruit, a rare globe of loveliness, rich, versatile and hard to come by. I like to have a tin of figs in syrup in my cupboard to bake a form of Birnenpfannkuchen with, but fresh figs are a rare and wonderful treat. I was shopping in Aldi this week when I noticed they had 4 figs for 59p in their super 6 offer, and at that price it’s rude not to, so I slipped a couple of boxes into my basket and started plotting a pudding.

Fig, Honey & Cinnamon Sponge

I couldn’t find a recipe for what I wanted to make, so I experimented a bit instead. What I wanted was a honey baked fig in some light sponge spiced with cinnamon, and ideally some sultanas soaked in tea, but we didn’t have any, we’ll add those next time. That’s how I came up with this recipe for Fig, Honey & Cinnamon Sponge.

Fig, Honey & Cinnamon Sponge

Fig, honey and cinnamon sponge puddings

Serves 6
A lovely, quick little pudding, gently spiced with cinnamon and making the most of fresh seasonal figs.

Ingredients
3 fresh figs
6 teaspoons of runny honey
4 oz butter or margarine
4oz of caster sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
2 eggs
4oz self raising flour

Instructions
Pre-heat your oven to 190. Grease six ramekins. Halve the figs and place one half in a ramekin and drizzle round a teaspoon of honey.

Beat the butter or margarine and the sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the baking powder, cinnamon and eggs and mix together. Once combined gently stir in the flour and equally divide between the six ramekins.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 190 for 20 minutes, or until the sponge is cooked through.
Once cooked, run a knife around the edge of the ramekin and tip out.

Notes
Serve with custard, ice cream or cream. Best eaten when warm.

It’s a really, really simple little pudding to make and takes less than half an hour. If I can get my hands on more figs these Fig, Honey & Cinnamon Sponge puddings will be a regular treat for us until the fresh fig season is over.

Fig, Honey & Cinnamon Sponge

I love the way the honey and fig juices soak into the sponge and make it sticky and unctuous, without making it too sweet. Next time I make these Fig, Honey & Cinnamon Sponge puddings I would throw in some soaked dried sultanas, but it works really well without them. This is a glorious pud and I had to fend off request for seconds (because I wanted them). Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Recipe: Fig, Honey & Cinnamon Sponge Pudding

Recipe: Birnenpfannkuchen – German Pear & Ginger Pancake

We’ve been making Apfelpfannkuchen at home for a number of years, it’s a lovely baked apple pancake pudding, a bit like a sweet toad in the hole with fruit. It’s a handy store-cupboard pudding which takes no time at all to prepare and it’s pretty easy on the pocket as well as being delicious.

It occurred to me that it would be good to try making one using pears and ginger instead of the traditional apple and cinnamon. It was only afterwards I discovered that the Germans had beaten me to it and had got there first with the Birnenpfannkuchen, though all of the recipes I could find online were in German, so what you’re looking at here is probably the worlds first Birnenpfannkuchen recipe in English (I take my victories where I can find them).

Any pud that I can prepare with any degree of success must be easy, I’m not a natural when it comes to desserts, so I urge you to give this easy recipe a try. I promise you will not be sorry!

Birnenpfannkuchen

Birnenpfannkuchen – German Pear & Ginger Pancake Recipe

Ingredients:
50g butter
2 teaspoons of oil, I used groundnut
1 tin of pear halves in juice
2 teaspoons ground ginger
75g plain flour
65g sugar, I used golden granulated, but use what you have
3 eggs
150ml semi-skimmed milk
Pinch of salt

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 220C. I used my tarte tatin pan, but if you don’t have one of these a lined cake tin will be fine.
  • Put the butter and oil in the pan and put in the oven to melt for a couple of minutes, once the butter has melted arrange your pear halves in the pan and sprinkle over a teaspoon of ground ginger. Put in the oven to warm through while you do the next bit (tinned pears are already soft, but if using fresh pears cook until they are soft but not collapsing).
  • Meanwhile, tip the flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt, add the sugar and a teaspoon of ground ginger and combine. Add the eggs and milk and whisk thoroughly so it forms a thick batter.
  • Remove the tatin pan with the pears from the oven and quickly pour over the batter. Put the pan back in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, make sure you keep an eye on it towards the end. When it’s cooked your Birnenpfannkuchen should be all puffed up and golden brown like a giant Yorkshire pudding.
  • Once cooked flip it out of the pan, upside down on a plate and serve either hot or cold with cream, ice cream or custard, whatever floats your boat.

Birnenpfannkuchen

If you liked this easy recipe you might like my incredibly easy Joulutorttu recipe (Finnish jam tarts).