Easter Birthday Cake

This is a week+ late, but I wanted to share this.  I so enjoyed making it!  The purpose was for a family celebration of Mum’s birthday which fell on Easter Sunday.  One cake for two celebrations.

The batter was very runny but the cake worked out perfectly.

P1070035P1070037P1070040The icing was made in the food processor – a doddle!P1070042Iced, with Maltesers plopped on top!P1070043P1070045This was a Maltesers Cake from Nigella’s cookery book ‘Feast’.  The secret ingredient – in the cake batter and in the icing – was…Horlicks!  Nigella promises the flavour is subtle, but I was worried it might overpower, depending on whether one actually likes Horlicks.

I cannot bear the smell of the stuff, so have never tasted the drink.  Many years ago as a child, after Church each Sunday evening we would go visit an Aunt and I used to prepare a hot Horlicks drink for her at each visit.  Bleugh…!  A colleague who I worked with some years ago used to suck/chew on Horlicks tablets(sort of sweets) – vile!  But she loved them.

It smells – and I presume tastes – of the malted part of Maltesers.  Maltesers are great!  Horlicks is not.  Anyway, I digress…

I bravely taste-tested the icing – the Horlicks flavour was indeed subtle, and I added some extra cocoa powder for a slightly stronger chocolate flavour.

The overall result was sticky but light.  The sponge cake is fairly low-fat which makes it moist.  I wouldn’t have attempted a slice without one of my beloved cake forks.  It most certainly went down well with the family  🙂

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And it was so easy to make – it’s renewed my enthusiasm for cooking and baking, to get some variety rather than preparing the same dishes repeatedly.

Do you have a favourite cake?

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Christmas Sauce

I hope everyone has had a peaceful Christmastime.  We’ve had a lovely time with the family, and I’ve been so thankful – for loved ones, for all that I have, for how blessed I am compared to those who are suffering, in pain, trying to cope with the weather and its consequences.  It’s so important to count our blessings.

For Christmas Dinner we indulged in…

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Not jars, nor lids, but…

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Cranberry Sauce – with Port.  I used this recipe from Nigella Lawson.  It can be found on her website, but I also have ‘Nigella Christmas’ and have used the recipe from the book for the last couple of years.  It’s great.  Simple to make.  Creates wonderful smells in the kitchen.  Beautiful festive colours.  Works out perfectly every time.  I always make double quantity so there’s plenty for everyone.  One adjustment I make:  I use Port rather than Cherry Brandy.  And it’s always necessary to taste the Port first… 😉

Plain ‘ole cranberries in plastic bags:

P1060863Washed and in the pan:

P1060869With sugar coating, Port and water:

P1060872P1060870All stirred up and bubbling away:

P1060875So easy and satisfying.  The additional step I take is to bottle the Sauce in heat-sterilised jars.  Wash jars and lids in hot, soapy water and rinse with hot water.  Stand the jars on a baking tray(jars upside down) and place in oven(approx 110*C) for 10 minutes.  Remove and pour the Sauce straight into the jars – everything is extremely hot, be very careful.  Place a waxed-paper disc on the Sauce and screw on the lid.  Stand to cool.  Label the jars – except I ran out of labels!  Everyone knew what was in the jars…  Because the jar is sterilised it will keep well if stored in a cool place – once opened keep in the fridge.

Cranberries are naturally very tart, hence the need for the sugar.  The Sauce remains tart, even with the sugar.  It is fruity, a slight taste of Port to it, with lovely fat cranberries.  So good.

Did you know…that fresh cranberries bounce?  They really do!