how did Justin Bieber end up atop my Christmas Cake?

Before we start strange blog topic I know.

It is now January 4th and hopefully everyone is well rested, stuffed to the brim with sweet goodies and ready to kick their New Year’s Resolutions into 2012 with a bang! A couple of weeks ago I posted a sneak peak of the choir boys that would sit atop my Christmas cake this year and without knowing it (and completly oblivious to it until my 15yr old sister pointed it out!) I had created the pint sized pop star Justin Bieber out of sugar….not sure realistically how I feel about this but I still think they are all super cute!

So below are the final pictures of my Christmas Cake for 2011 I hope you enjoy and it gives you something to think about when you attempt a Christmas Cake in 2012!

 

Happy New Year to all the readers of this blog – I hope 2012 brings much love, happiness and cakey goodness into your lives!

Claire x

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Christmas Specialities – Frangipane Topped Mince Pies

As you can probably tell by now I love Christmas! Part of the reason for this (and its a large part!) is all of the festive baking and cooking that I get to do. 

Obviously Christmas wouldn’t be the same without the traditional favourite – mince pies.  However with the amount of food everyone is indulging in some times the poor old mince pie can be left to one side due to the fact it can be quite a ‘heavy’ treat.  That is why I decided to add Almond Frangipane to my mince pie recipe this year, keeping the sweet pastry base, and a generous dollop of freshly prepared mincemeat, the Frangipane spreads and swells over the top creating a sweet and light cake like topping that is a refreshing change to the traditional pastry, pastry, and more pastry! 

It is important when making these that the sweet pastry cases are rolled out as thin as possible so that a really lovely crunchy texture is achieved that blends well with the sweetness of the mincemeat and the soft light almost gooeyness of the frangipane. 

Only 2 more days until the official countdown to Christmas can begin – have you got your advent calendars ready?

Claire x

Christmas Cake Traditions

I am a very traditional type of girlie when it comes to making the much loved Christmas favourites, but traditional doesn’t mean little modern touches cannot be added that give the baking in question a beautiful extra something that makes it really special.

I have already posted about the finished Christmas Cake but this post is all about those things that make the cake TASTE great.  I opted for an Orange and Spiced Rum Christmas Fruit Cake this year.

I have 4 key tips for anybody out there tackling this Christmas tradition (and please do, its so satisfying!)

1. Do not skimp on fruit! – Pile it all in there…raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, apricots, cranberries, mixed candied fruit – as much as you can cram.  Make sure you add your liquids to the fruit at least 12 hours before you plan to start baking the cake, this will give it chance to become deliciously plump and full of soaked up loveliness!

2.  Add something extra special – for me this year – Morgan’s Spiced Rum.  Christmas is all about indulgence and this just adds such a warm, rich flavour to the fruit.

3. Protect your cake from the elements – This is a very important part of making the cake extraordinarily moist and is something that has been passed down from my grandparents generation and their grandparents generation…Once you have lined your cake tin with baking parchment wrap the entire outside of the cake with newspaper and tie with string, your cake is going to be in the oven for at least 4 hours so it makes sense to protect it!  This stops the outside of the cake from cooking too quickly and becoming dry…and in my book there is nothing worse than a dry fruit cake.

4.  My final tip…it’s Christmas so there is one last thing that is a must have add to your traditional cake…Love!

One Happy Customer…

I had to write this quick post about a beautiful brown labrador called Coco!  Recently she received a personalised Giant Dog Biscuit ordered by her lovely Mummy from Rosy Cheeks Bakery for her birthday!  I was emailed this pic today and just couldnt help but mutter an ‘awwww’. Perfect story for 5pm on a wet and windy November week day I am sure you will agree!

 Claire x

National Baking Week – Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes

As it was Chocolate Week last week and I had a big bowl of left over chocolate custard/ganache sat in the fridge it seemed only right to get it used up!  So I decided to combine this with the beginning of National Baking Week 17th-23rd October 2011.  

I chose to make Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes topped with a caramel and nougat enrobbed in milk chocolate slice cut from a well known branded bar…rhymes with ‘Cars’…here are the results…

Treats for my Best Friend

OK without sounding too soppy the photo below shows my best friend in the world – Louie.

So you may be sat here thinking what on earth does this have to do with Rosy Cheeks Bakery? Well I am always baking sweet treats for the people around me but it occured to me never does my best friend get anything, and that had to change! We are in a day and age where we like to know exactly what we are eating and what is going in to our bodies, and I have always been very aware of what Louie can and can’t eat so why not extend this to home-made treats instead of store bought ones with lots of added salt. Did you know that many dog food brands disguise the word salt with over 20 different ingredient names? Well rest assured that not one of the ingredients in these biscuit treats is disguising that dirty little word!

Ingredients: Wholemeal Flour, Powdered Milk, Wheatgerm, Beef Stock Powder, Egg, Water, Vegetable Oil.