Monthly Archives: September 2018

Top tips for making the perfect Christmas cake

21 September, 2018

As many seasoned bakers will be aware, getting ready for the busy festive period takes a lot of planning. Although many of our favourite festive treats need to be whipped up on the day, there’s one that’s famously made in advance: the Christmas cake.

If you’re already thinking about creating a batch ready for when the orders come flooding in, no fear. We’ve complied our top tips for making the perfect Christmas cake to ensure your customers are fully satisfied when they cut into it on Christmas Day.

 

Tip 1: Soak your fruit for at least three days

 

To ensure your Christmas cake is full of flavour, soak all your dried fruit for three days before baking. The fruit is traditionally soaked in brandy, but if that’s not your tipple of choice, why not experiment with other spirits? Rum, whiskey and sherry are popular alternatives, or if you’d rather ditch the alcohol, ginger beer can make a lovely spicy cake.

 

Tip 2: Line your cake tin in two sheets of baking paper

 

christmas cake,, just out of the oven

 

As many Christmas cakes can take around 4-5 hours to bake, the edges of your cake can end up cooking quicker than the middle. To prevent them from browning too much during a long, slow bake, add an extra layer of baking paper around your cake mix and the sides won’t cook as quickly.

 

Tip 3: Feed your cake in regular intervals until you seal it

 

Feeding your cake is an essential part of baking this Christmas staple. After your cake has baked and cooled, skewer it in a few places and add a little more of your chosen spirit. You’ll then need to wrap your cake in baking paper and foil until it’s ready to decorate. However, during this time you’ll need to feed your cake with alcohol every few days. This will ensure the cake stays moist in the months before it’s iced.

 

Tip 4: Brush your cake in warm apricot jam before decorating

 

Homemade apricot marmalade

 

When you’re ready to start the decoration phase, brush your cake with apricot jam before you add the marzipan. This seals the cake and acts as a base for the marzipan to sit on, ensuring the cake doesn’t crumble into the icing and the top stays smooth and even.

 

Tip 5: Leave the marzipan to dry out for a few days before icing

 

Once you’ve covered your cake in marzipan, cover your cake loosely in baking paper and leave it for a few days before adding the royal icing. This allows the cake to dry out a bit before you coat it in icing and add your final decorations.

However you like to make your Christmas cake, giving yourself plenty of time to carry out every stage is the secret to mastering this classic recipe.

What are your top tips for making the perfect Christmas cake? Let us know via Twitter

4 tantalising toffee apple recipes for Bonfire Night

21 September, 2018

If there’s one flavour that goes hand in hand with Bonfire Night, it’s toffee apple. But if you’re a tad tired of the tooth-breaking traditional version, these mouth-watering toffee apple desserts are the perfect Bonfire Night alternative. From hearty puddings to irresistible cakes, here are our four favourite recipes to rustle up on 5th November.

 

1. Toffee apple bread and butter pudding

 

Sweet Homemade Bread Pudding Dessert with Brandy Sauce

One of the ultimate comfort food recipes, bread and butter pudding is perfect for November nights. However, this ingenious recipe turns our much-loved winter warmer into a Bonfire Night classic. Layering brioche and apple rings with sweet caramel and vanilla custard, toffee apple bread and butter pudding is the perfect post-firework display treat. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream for added indulgence.

Toffee apple bread and butter pudding recipe

 

2. Toffee apple cheesecake

 

Cinnamon apple caramel cheesecake. toning. selective focus

If it’s a cold dessert you’re after, look no further than this toffee apple cheesecake. Sweet caramelised apples sandwiched between a vanilla cream cheese filling and a buttery ginger base, this dessert is baked then chilled overnight. Top with more caramelised apple slices before serving and decorate with cinnamon sticks for a fantastic Bonfire Night centrepiece dessert.

Toffee apple cheesecake recipe

 

3. Toffee apple crumble

 

fresh apple crumble

 

Winter wouldn’t be winter without whipping up a hearty crumble. With apple already a popular filling for this British pud, adding toffee sauce and a hint of ginger into the classic recipe will make it perfect for Bonfire Night. Serve your toffee apple crumble with a good helping of vanilla custard for a traditionally British bake.

Toffee apple crumble recipe

 

4. Spiced toffee apple cake

 

Salted caramel cake food photography recipe idea

 

Boasting sugar, spice and all things nice, this spiced toffee apple cake is perfect for Bonfire Night. Combining mixed spice and vanilla with a brown sugar cake mixture, this cake is layered with thinly sliced apples before baking. Once baked, cut into squares and drizzle your spiced sponge with delicious toffee sauce.

Spiced toffee apple cake recipe

 

Can’t wait until Bonfire Night? These autumnal treats are delicious all season, so there’s nothing stopping you getting started right away!

Do you have any tempting toffee apple recipes? Let us know via Twitter.

5 savvy swaps for vegan bakers

21 September, 2018

With over 600,000 vegans living in Britain, veganism has become one of the fastest growing lifestyle movements. In fact, according to The Vegan Society, the number of vegans in the UK quadrupled between 2014 and 2018, resulting in a spike in the demand for vegan food.

As you can imagine, this meteoric rise in popularity has led to many bakeries diversifying their products. However, creating tasty vegan recipes can prove tricky for those new to the practice. To help you get to grips with vegan baking, we’ve compiled a list of savvy swaps so you can create the perfect free-from bake.

1. Swap egg for…

 

Banana breadMore like this

Mashed-up banana, baking powder or crushed flax seeds mixed with water. Eggs are usually a staple in non-vegan baking as they act as a leavening agent, provide structure and add moisture. So, unfortunately just one egg substitute won’t usually provide all the baking benefits of an egg. However, depending on the egg’s role in a recipe, you’ll be able to find a substitute that acts in the same way. Here’s how our three egg substitutes work best:

  • Mashed-up banana: great for adding moisture

 

  • Baking powder: a good leavening agent

 

  • Crushed flax seeds mixed with water: ideal for providing structure and binding ingredients

 

2. Swap milk for…

Unsweetened, non-dairy milk. More of a simple swap, non-dairy milk alternatives are usually a good substitute. Soya milk is closest in consistency to cows’ milk, whereas almond milk can be a bit thin for certain recipes. Just keep an eye out for added sweeteners and flavours when making your selection.

 

3. Swap cream for…

 

Fresh avocado on cutting board over wooden background

Coconut milk or avocado. While both are great swaps, these ingredients have different benefits. Coconut milk acts in a similar way to regular cream, making it an easy trade and ideal for chilling and recreating whipped cream. It does however have a high saturated fat content, just like dairy cream. For a healthier option, avocado can add a creaminess to your bakes but contains mainly unsaturated fat, making it a slightly healthier alternative.

 

4. Swap butter for…

Non-dairy margarine or coconut oil. Although margarine isn’t strictly a dairy product (it’s usually made from soya bean oil or an oil blend), a lot of margarines will contain traces of dairy. However, there are a few margarine brands which are completely dairy-free, such as Smart Balance Light Margarine. If you can’t find one, coconut oil also makes a great one-to-one swap.

 

5. Swap honey for…

 

Plate of delicious pancakes close up, with fresh blueberries and maple syrup dripping

Maple syrup. An ingredient that is often forgotten to be replaced in vegan baking, honey also doesn’t fit within the vegan diet. Instead, use an equal amount of maple syrup to add sweetness to a recipe.

With veganism becoming increasingly popular, we’re likely to see even more vegan treats on our shelves in future.

Do you know of any savvy swaps for vegan bakers? Let us know your top tips via Twitter!