Sunday, 23 December 2012

Watch this space ... as my Christmas cake develops.

Today's Christmas cake.

I'm off to bake a different sort of Christmas cake. I generally make my Christmas cake at least six weeks before Christmas - in plenty of time for the fruit to steep really well in whatever alcohol has been used. I've tried heavy cakes with rum, brandy, liqueurs... but today's cake won't have any of those. In fact it isn't even going to have any fruit at all in it.  

A 'simple' sponge covered with sugarpaste icing. I know what I want it to end up looking like. My granddaughter is great at recognising a snowman so let's see if she'll be able to recognise mine...

That's the plan, and this blog will be an 'in stages' blog in that I will be posting my progress as the day moves on. 

All of that sounds easy but sadly, my sponge cake baking can be very variable in terms of success.

See you soon with update number 1.

Update number 1

Now I know why I prefer to make a heavy fruit cake. 

Follow a new recipe. That should be easy enough. 

Butter or margerine at room temperature? I'm DOOMED already. What exactly is room temperature? My kitchen has 3 feet thick granite walls and probably ranges from around minus 3 deg to maybe plus 3 deg C on a good day. Approaching Christmas the heating is on but is the butter soft?

Separate the eggs. I can do that and don't often have little flaky yellow bits floating in the white. Today the spearating was perfect. (Smiley face here) 

Whisk the egg whites with the salt until at the stiff peak stage. WHY can't I do this successfully each time I try? Who oput there knows exactly why mine are a hit or miss? If you know please tell me. 

My mixture looked like this and is currently in the oven. 

I'll be back soon but I've got to check on that oven of mine since it, too, is rarely reliable ( Well, it sounds better than baker error :-) )     

Update number 2

The cakes are out of the oven and look a bit sad. Not risen as much as I had hoped for but they could be worse!

The next stage is to let them cool before sandwiching together. I'm attempting as sugar free a recipe as possible so it's a big decision whether to use a low sugar jam or a butter icing mix with less of the icing. What should I use? 

Whatever I use, I can see I need another little sponge for my snowman's head. I had hoped if it had risen really well I might not need another...oh well! C'est la vie! 
Back in a while.  

Update number 3

Well, Mr. Snowman is taking shape. He's now sandwiched together with a delicate butter icing (not too much icing sugar) and the first sculpting is done. He's not going to be a yellow snowman - that's a very thin layer of marzipan!

The marzipan has to rest for a bit longer, but in the meantime I've been making some mincemeat pies for Keira from TOPAZ EYES. She tells me her late mother used to give them as gifts and she misses them - a LOT!   

My mother never bought ready made mincemeat; she always made her own. I've done that, too, using a mixture of dried fruits and some spices. The biggest difference about these tartlets is that I've never made this type of pastry before. I'm keen to try them out since the pastry has a very small quantity of icing sugar added to the flour (in place of the usual caster sugar) along with cinnamon. After the breadcrumb stage, the grated rind of 1 orange has been added. 

Mmm...the smell was delicious during the preparation and baking stages. 

Back soon...

Update number 4

Mr Snowman is looking much more like business. Not too much to do to complete him now. What do you think so far?

 Mr. Snowman is finished! He's just lovely...don't you think?

Roll on eating time!


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