Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Christmas Pudding Cupcakes

Next on my list to bake were Christmas Pudding Cupcakes - I've really missed making cupcakes whilst I've not been baking. This recipe was one I saw in the second Primrose Bakery book and I must say as soon as I saw it I was intrigued to know what the cakes would taste like.

I had an absolute disaster the first time I made them - the recipe stated it made 12 but infact it would have made double this and I ended up with overflowing cupcake cases and throwing the whole lot in the bin - something that I've never had to do before!

On my second attempt I halved the recipe and got 12 perfectly sized cupcakes. The Christmas pudding flavour of the cupcakes comes from a combination of mixing mincemeat into the cake mixture and then adding brandy to the butter cream. I got quite a taste for brandy whilst making these cupcakes and added nearly double the amount to the butter cream! They really did taste like Christmas! I sent Karl off to work with this batch as apparently the lads at his work seem to be craving cupcakes.

Cherry and Ginger Florentines

Wow, I can't believe that my last post was back in May! So much has happened in the last few months and I have been super super busy!

I started a qualification in Housing through my work which was only supposed to be '3 hours or so on a Sunday afternoon' according to my teacher which ended up taking over mine and the other girls on the courses lives!

As well as this we were also trying to buy a house. It was a very stressful 6 months as the first house we wanted fell through, but we have finally bought our perfect little house - a 3 bedroom, semi detached and we love it!

So unfortunately, due to both of these things baking got a little bit forgotten about. However, as soon as my course finished 2 weeks ago I dived straight back into the kitchen to bake! Every year I see everyones post on their blogs about what lovely cakes and bakes they made for christmas and I'm always either too busy or too ill to do anything so this year I was determined after not baking for months on end that I too would make delicious christmas treats!

First on my list was florentines. I always always buy a box of florentines without fail at christmas - they are definitely one of my favourite christmas nibbles and I've seen several different recipes for these treats but in the end I decided to go with a Hairy Bikers Recipe for Sour Cherry and Ginger Florentines:


2 tbsp butter
75g/2½oz golden caster sugar
2 tsp flour
75ml/2½fl oz crème fraîche
50g/2oz flaked almonds, toasted
2 tbsp candied peel
2 tbsp crystallised stem ginger
50g/2oz dried sour cherries
150g/5oz good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces


1.Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

2.Heat the butter, sugar and flour in a pan over a medium heat, stirring continuously, until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.

3.Gradually add the crème fraîche, stirring continuously until well combined.

4.Add the almonds, candied peel, stem ginger, and sour cherries and mix well until combined.

5.Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and place teaspoonfuls of the florentine mixture onto it. Space the teaspoonfuls out at 2.5cm/1in intervals so they don't merge together when heated.

6.Transfer the florentines to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden-brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool on the tray, then transfer the florentines to a cooling rack.

7.Bring a little water to a simmer in a pan. Suspend a heatproof bowl over the water (do not allow the base of the bowl to touch the water). Add the chocolate pieces and stir until smooth and melted.

8.Turn the florentines so that the flat base is facing upwards. Spread the melted chocolate over the florentine bases and set aside to cool and set.

I tried this recipe using the sour cherries - but in the end I preferred the much cheaper alternative of glace cherries. Don't leave the florentines to go completely cool on the greasef proof paper or it can be an absolute nightmare to get them off it!This recipe made about 12 small florentines which had a lovely chewy texture to them. These are perfect for little christmas presents too - I bought some cellophane snowflake food bags and gave some to my parents on a recent visit.