Thursday, 28 November 2013

Overnight Cinnamon Buns

I’ve posted a cinnamon bun recipe before, it was two summers ago and at that point I was a novice to yeast (still am a novice to yeast). 

I remember, as I was slicing through the longest piece of cinnamon encrusted ‘rolly polly’ I had ever seen, being so bloody proud of myself at having managed to transform dried balls of active yeast into a pillowy soft sheet of raw dough, which was just moments away from being the best thing I’d ever made. 
These buns are much, much richer than those bite sized ones. These are the sort of buns you might sink your teeth into at a certain chain bakery. Yes, these are definitely the kind of bun you would find at Cinnabon. And yes, that is definitely a good thing. Happy Thanksgiving! 

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Stir Up Sunday Christmas Cake Part 1

Today is the beginning of Christmas. Hopefully, we all steeped our dried fruits in brandy last night, ready for a lifetime in the oven this morning. I am an idiot and completely missed out that bit of the recipe, which is why I have a Christmas cake recipe for you today and not tomorrow. Luckily, my idiocy fits in quite well with all this Stir Up Sunday malark. 

So for the next four weeks, this Christmas cake will basically be like parenting practice. I will soak this baby in three tablespoons of brandy once a week so that it matures into a well rounded, flavoursome Christmas cake and then cover it in marzipan and icing on Christmas Eve, ready for devouring on Christmas Day. 

It may sound like shed loads of hassle, especially when you have to prevent a humungous Turkey from being drier than old ghandi’s flip flop, but hassle is it not because this is one of Dan Lepard’s super easy recipes brought to you exclusively by Sainsburys brought to you exclusively by me! What a crazy circle of trust that you most certainly must get involved in. Happy soaking! 

Fruity Christmas Cake

Adapted and published with permission from Sainsbury's

200g Fairtrade dark soft brown sugar
175g unsalted English butter by Sainsbury’s, plus extra for greasing
500g Sainsbury’s mixed dried fruits
100g dried cranberries
100g Sainsbury’s ready to eat dried figs, roughly chopped
100ml basics brandy, plus 12 tablespoons for soakung
Zest and juice 1 orange
100g macadamia nuts
4 medium British free-range eggs by Sainsbury’s, lightly beaten
75g Sainsbury’s ground almonds
250g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice by Sainsbury’s
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon by Sainsbury’s
350g Sainsbury’s golden marzipan
Icing sugar, for dusting
4 tablespoons apricot jam, warmed
350g Sainsbury’s ready to roll white icing

Note: If you have time, soak the dried mixed fruits the night before in a little extra brandy and proceed with the recipe next day - this creates an even more moist cake.


Put the sugar, butter, dried fruit, cranberries, figs, brandy, orange zest and juice into a large, heavy-based pan. Bring to the boil, stirring well to combine the ingredients. Reduce to a simmer and heat for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool for 20 minutes.

Stir the macadamia nuts, eggs and ground almonds into the mixture, then fold in the flour, baking powder and spices.

Preheat the oven to 140°C, fan 120°C, gas 1. Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm cake tin with 2 layers of baking paper. Spoon the cake mixture into the tin and level the top with the back of a spoon. Loosely cover with 1 layer of greaseproof paper with a 2cm hole in the centre. Bake for 2 hours or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Using a skewer, make holes in the cake and drizzle over the remaining brandy. Cool in the tin on a wire rack. Wrap the cake in loads of clingfilm and parchment paper, return to it once a week for 4 and soak with 3 tbsp brandy.

Remove the cake from the tin. On a surface dusted with icing sugar, roll out enough marzipan to cover the whole of the cake. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the apricot jam, then top with the marzipan. Smooth down the top and sides, being careful to stop any creases forming.

Roll out the white icing on a surface dusted with icing sugar until the icing is large enough to cover the whole cake. Brush the marzipan all over with the apricot jam and then cover with the white icing.
Dip the redcurrants in the egg white and sprinkle over the sugar. Arrange on top of the cake and wrap with a ribbon if you have one, before serving.
Did anyone else forget to steep their fruit and have subsequently ended up with a full blown Christmas cake the day before the traditional November 24th?!

Come back for part 2 on Christmas Day! 

Love Em xx
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