Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cake

alternative christmas dessert ideas chocolate pudding cake decorated with fondant icing holly leaves and berries

Festive tidings to you all baking readers! Hope your holiday season has been filled with tasty delights and treats. Now the big day is out the way (and my first Christmas dinner cooked with great success!), I’m enjoying some time off work hiding from the cold and catching up on uploading my Christmassy bakes to the blog.

This cake was a dessert I made for a dinner with friends a week before Christmas. I personally am not a fan at all of traditional Christmas pudding, which is a little odd considering my unfailing for Christmas cake. Dessert on Christmas Day is normally mince pies for me, but for this dinner I wanted to make something purely indulgent that we’d all enjoy.

The recipe is simple and crammed full of chocolate chips for an extra element of guilty pleasure. It was made using my Lakeland Hemisphere Mould (in medium), which you may recall helped me create a wonderful Halloween Pumpkin cake.

chocolate christmas pudding cake recipe lakeland medium hemisphere mould balanced in pyrex dish

Although the mould looks quite deep, it actually only needs a 2 egg mix to rise up and fill the shape. I adapted this Chocolate Madeira Cake recipe from the lovely Emma MT at Cakes, Bakes and Cookies to the quantity needed.

Ingredients
100g butter
130g sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 eggs
110g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
40g cocoa powder
2 tablespoons of milk
100g milk chocolate chips
100g white chocolate chips

Method
– Beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla essence until light and fluffy
– Add the eggs, milk, and a tablespoon of flour, and beat again until smooth
– Sieve in the flour, cocoa, and baking powder. Pour the chocolate chips on top and mix use your fingertips to lightly coat them in the flour (this will stop them all sinking when baked)
– Fold the mixture until just combined, don’t over mix
– Pour into the well-greased tin and bake at 160 degrees until cooked through (test with a skewer). Due to the deepness of the hemisphere pan this took around an hour, flatter tins will take less. If the top is starting to over-brown, cover with foil for the remaining time
– Leave to cool in the tin, and carefully turn out

I love how the chocolate chips had swirled together, and even without icing the cake had a brilliant Christmas Pudding effect.

chocolate christmas pudding cake freshly baked milk and white chocolate chips spherical design

To Ice
– Chocolate buttercream
– Chocolate fondant, white and coloured fondant to decorate

I added a little drop of Baileys to my buttercream for an extra glossy sheen and of course a bit of an adult taste!

chocolate buttercream coated christmas pudding cake recipe and how to easy dessert ideas

After half an hour in the fridge, I covered the cake with chocolate fondant (all over), before overlaying a wavy-edged section of white fondant.

chocolate christmas pudding cake covered with chocolate fondant with white icing detail

A little decoration was all that was needed to finish the pudding off – red fondant berries and green holly leaves made using a plunger cutter.

fondant icing green holly leaves and red berries on christmas pudding cake alternative dessert ideas

And finally, after mottling the chocolate fondant with the end of a straw, I added a little festive sheen using some silver shimmer spray.

dr oetker silver shimmer spray on christmas pudding chocolate cake recipe

 

chocolate christmas pudding cake lakeland hemisphere mould covered and decorated with fondant

chocolate christmas pudding cake recipe and directions instructions different desserts without fruit

And cut into, it was of course chocolatey through and through, with a great smattering of chocolate chips and divinely creamy icing.

cut inside chocolate christmas pudding cake fondant holly leaves and berries alternative to traditional desserts

 

All-in-One Rainbow Birthday Cake

all in one rainbow giant cupcake recipe and method one cake simple design gel colours

Last weekend I had the great pleasure of being invited to Clandestine Cake Club‘s Third Birthday. As co-organiser of the Nottingham group, this was my opportunity to meet with other cake-clubbers from around the country, pick up some tips (and wonderful free gifts) from the sponsors, Renshaw, and of course, eat cake!

Although we had to travel to Liverpool, about a 2 hour drive, I still wanted to contribute some cake to the afternoon club. This seemed like a great time to crack open my Lakeland Giant Silicone Cupcake Case, which I bought in the sale about a month ago.

lakeland giant cupcake case silicon mould recipe and how to use

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love this case (the lovely pink colour is always a plus), but it’s not what I’d describe as giant. The box notes that you should use a 2 egg recipe, which is very much on the medium side to me, and comparing it to the size of a medium egg… yes, it’s not huge. But perfect for what I needed!

lakeland large cupcake mould to scale two egg recipe size and method

For a third birthday I wanted to do something a bit special. And what is more special than rainbow cake! However 6-7 layers (depending on your variations of purple/indigo/violet) all individually filled and stacked… this was neither easy nor going to travel well. However as per my previously made rainbow cupcakes, I was sure this would work all in one big cupcake. As the mould was a relatively deep, I opted for a madeira cake recipe, that would remain moist and light, without the fragility of victoria sponge.

Recipe

100g butter
135g sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence (or lemon juice, if you prefer)
2 eggs
150g plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 tablespoons of milk or water

– Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
– Add the eggs, milk and vanilla essence, and beat again
– Sieve in the flour and baking powder, and fold until just mixed (don’t over do it)- Divide the mixture into 6 (or 7!), and colour with gel food colours only (don’t use liquid colours, it won’t work)
– Layer carefully and smoothly, don’t be tempted to spread the layers with a spoon or you’ll end up mixing the colours
– Bake at 180 degrees for 35 – 45 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean. If the top is looking done before the inside is cooked, cover it with tin foil to prevent it browning.

I use a mix of Wilton and Home2Bake gel colours, all come out with lovely vibrant colours. First up, purple then blue… (the observant among you will notice a major baking error in this photo – not greasing the tin! Thankfully I realised quite quickly, scooped out the mix, greased, flour, and continue!)

all in one rainbow cake how to layering colours purple and blue bright from gel food colouring

And layering a colour at a time, finishing with orange and then red. In order not to mix the colours, I found a combination of pouring and spooning the mix was best to get it spread out evenly.

all in one rainbow cupcake how to layering red and orange bright vibrant colours achieved using food gels

giant rainbow cupcake recipe all in one layers of red and orange how to

And the full cupcake ready to bake. In hindsight it was a little over-full, next time I’d take a couple of tablespoons out of the mix before colouring.

lakeland two egg giant cupcake silicon mould recipe and how to

Unfortunately this was definitely too much mix – on checking the oven part-way through baking I found a big rainbow ooze coming from the side!

oozing cake overfilled giant cupcake mould recipe and how to avoid

With no time to make another cake, I crossed my fingers and carried on baking until it was done. Thankfully when it turned out of the case the damage wasn’t obvious from the outside, and the extra oozed bit of cake actually came in useful as a platform for the topping!

giant rainbow cupcake all in one purple blue green yellow orange and red birthday idea easy

Due partly to a lack of time, and partly as the cake looked so great on it’s own, I kept the topping quite simple. Firstly cutting fondant stars out of matching rainbow colours:

rainbow fondant stars decoration for birthday cake kids ideas

… and lining them round the top of the buttercream-topped cupcake. Edible glitter mandatory of course!

easy all in one rainbow birthday cake giant cupcake with vanilla buttercream and bright coloured fondant stars

rainbow birthday cake simple decorations white vanilla buttercream and fondant coloured stars

And of course no birthday cake is complete without candles!

rainbow birthday cake with candles all in one giant cupcake recipe with buttercream topping and fondant stars

I was so relieved to see the layers when it was cut open. Heaven knows where the oozy-mix had come from, but the colours lined up beautifully.

all in one rainbow birthday cake recipe sliced into the middle perfect layers the easy way purple blue green red orange yellow

Of course we had an amazing time at the birthday party. Much tea was drunk, cake was eaten, and lots of excited chatter. Happy Birthday Clandestine Cake Club, and a big thank you to Renshaw for making the party possible!

Christmas Snowflake Cupcakes

christmas snowflake cupcakes easy cake decorating ideas festive colours sugar sprinkles piped buttercream in green and red

Ah don’t you love the pre-Christmas festivities, drinking mulled wine until you lose feeling in your toes and can’t tell if it’s from the cold or the alcohol; and of course the local school / village fair, buying more Christmas decorations than you’ll ever need, trying to dodge excitable small children, and purchasing your weight in home-made produce from the food stalls.
I personally love local school fairs as it gives me an excuse to make some ridiculously over the top and fully festive wares – last year it was my Red Velvet Rudolph Cupcakes; this year I went all out to Let it Snow!

The cupcake base was a moist sponge crammed full of white chocolate chips. Snow on the outside, white squishy chocolate on the inside.

white chocolate chip cupcakes silver wrapper full to the brim

The snowflakes themselves were certainly a challenge. I was using some free cutters that came free with a magazine, whilst they looked so delicate and intricate, well, they were! A lot of patience was used up prising each prong out with a cocktail stick. And repeating times about twenty. I added a little tylo powder to the white fondant before rolling it, so the snowflakes would harden quickly and not go mushy on their buttercream base.

extracting white snowflake fondant shape from intricate cutter using cocktail stick delicate work

Once all my snowflakes were ready I mixed up the buttercream – a simple 1/3 butter to 2/3 icing sugar, coloured brightly and festively with red and green gels. Using a star nozzle I piped different patterns onto all the cupcakes…

piped star effect red buttercream icing on silver cupcake base for christmas kids ideas

… before topping with a fondant snowflake, and matching snowflake sugar sprinkles (these ones are from Morrisons).

red piped buttercream swirls with white fondant snowflake star shaped and sugar sprinkles for christmas childrens ideas

And of course, no snowflake would be perfect without that magical sparkle, in the form of some holographic edible glitter.

christmas snowflake cupcakes green buttercream white fondant icing flake edible glitter sparkle

The finished batch of cupcakes – oh how I wanted to try one before giving them away, but it may have been a bit obvious…

christmas snowflake cupcakes red and green buttercream white fondant and sugar sprinkles easy

They went down an absolute (snow) storm at the Christmas fair, with kids and adults alike. Happy holidays indeed!

Tropical Christmas Cake with Coconut Icing

merry christmas alternative with a twist tropical fruit cake with rum and ginger coconut icing and flower decoration recipe and easy method

Today, a Christmas themed Derby Clandestine Cake Club – with a twist, of course. The baking websites and newsletters I’m subscribed to are awash with amazing ideas, from festive decorations to drunk cakes and everything in between. With such a sweet tooth I saw a tropical fruit cake recipe and was sold instantly – Rob came up with the idea of coconut icing which was a great snowy touch.

As with a traditional Christmas cake, you can really use any fruits you’d like. There are some great pre-mixes of tropical fruit out there that will save you buying them all separately, and the ginger can be omitted if you’re not a fan. I’ve not actually made a Christmas cake before and am surprised at the ratio of fruit over cake – this definitely counts as one of your five a day 🙂

Ingredients

Tropical Christmas Cake
600g mixed tropical dried fruit.
(I used a 200g mix of apricots, sultanas and apples, plus 400g mix of pineapple, papaya and mango)
50ml rum or other spirit (optional)
185g butter
185g golden caster or light brown sugar
3 eggs
225g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
30g chopped crystallised ginger
Spice blend as desired – I used 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon and ginger, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of nutmeg

Coconut Icing
75g butter
150g icing sugar
200g desiccated coconut

Method
If you’ve time, soak the dried fruit overnight in the rum , in a covered bowl.
Beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, spices, baking powder and sieved flour, and beat again until smooth.
Finally, add the dried fruit and ginger and mix well combined with an even distribution of fruit.
Pour into a greased, lined in – 7 inches round with high sides is perfect, but you could use a larger round, a square or even a novelty tin.
Bake at 150 degrees for 2 1/2 – 3 hours, until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Timing will very much depend on your oven type, mine took around 2 1/2 hours in a fan oven. If the top is starting to brown then cover with tin foil for the remainder of the cooking time.

Remove from the tin and leave to cool completely – overnight is ideal as you don’t want the icing to melt off!

tropical fruit alternative christmas cake mango pineapple papaya recipe easy rum and ginger flavouring

For the icing, simply beat together the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. If you have an electric stand mixer then leave it on for 4-5 minutes, the extra beating will lighten the mixture so that the tallow of the butter fades into a white.
Add the coconut and beat again until smooth, use a dash of milk if it’s a little too stiff.
Use immediately as it will set hard – applying generously all over the cake, and smoothing with a palette knife dipped in hot water.

coconut ice style icing spreading on tropical christmas fruit cake recipe and method

smooth coconut iced cake icing recipe easy finished with a palette knife tropical cake

I wanted a little decoration to finish – the coconut icing balled up beautifully and I had planned on making snowmen, but a last minute change of mind led to tropical flowers instead, alluding to the rich colours inside.

These were quite simply 2 flower shapes, one with rounded petals and the other more jagged, in orange and red, placed alternately and finished with a touch of red food colouring as paint, red mottled centre and festive touch of edible glitter! I mixed a little tylo powder into the fondant so it would set hard, and placed them in a wooden egg tray to get a curved effect.

tropical fondant flours orange and red alternate edible glitter setting with tylo powder in egg cup for form

I stuck the flowers onto the cake with a little ordinary white icing, and finished with a festive greeting!

tropical christmas cake coconut snow icing merry christmas with red and orange flowers edible glitter

The finished cake – Christmas plate essential, of course 🙂

coconut icing merry christmas tropical fruit cake recipe and simple instructions alternative and easy

easy alternative christmas cake recipe tropical fruit mango pineapple papaya with apricot rum and ginger red and orange flower fondant decoration coconut icing

It was a big hit at cake club and back at home as well – the icing set like a delicious coconut ice, I might be making a batch of this just as is! And the fruit colours inside came out great too.

slice of tropical christmas fruit cake with coconut icing recipe and how to contains mango pineapple papaya apricot sultanas flavoured with rum and ginger