Dairy Free Chocolate Layer Cake

Our houseguest is off backpacking round Europe from Wednesday so I decided to bake her a dairy free chocolate cake this weekend to bid her bon voyage. I used my go to chocolate cake recipe but swapped the milk for goats milk as Amber is just cows milk intollerant but soy or nut milk can be used instead. If you don’t need a dairy free cake you can swap 240g unsalted butter back in rather than the dairy free alternatives I used.

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Nectarine & Almond Friands

I feel bad posting these nectarine and almond friands as we have a dairy intolerant houseguest at the moment and she is really struggling to have the willpower to resist.

These friands are so light and buttery and looked amazing as I was flicking through an old issue of Waitrose Weekend before relegating it to the recycling bin. The original recipe used plums but any stone fruit would work well. 

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Sticky Toffee Pudding

Apologies for the lack of posts so far this year, my mum has been extremely unwell since Christmas and I’m not sure when I will be posting regularly again as I am still in Cornwall.

To tide you all over until normal service is resumed, here is the Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe I was saving for the end of January when everyone’s resolve had waned due to the cold and wet weather.

I absolutely love this recipe and once again the BBC Good Food website is the source of this fabulous dessert. I often make this when people are coming over in winter as the puddings and sauce can be made the day before and reheated when ready to serve. Below you will see I used rectangular 200ml ‘mini loaf’ cake pans as I don’t have proper pudding moulds so I have included the quantities and timing for different sized tins.

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Chocolate and Mulled Cider Cake

As soon as I spotted this recipe for chocolate and mulled cider cake by Will Torrent in the December issue of Jamie Magazine, I knew I was going to have to give it a try. It would make a great alternative to christmas pudding and has the wow factor in both looks and taste. It keeps well for several days in an air tight container. Most supermarkets sell mulled cider or make your own by heating apple cider in a saucepan with a mulling spice sachet or star anise, cloves, a cinnamon stick and a squeeze of orange.

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Caraway Seed Cake

Winter is drawing in and I’m feeling less and less like going out at the weekends. There is something so comforting about tucking yourself up at home away from the elements and this caraway seed cake by Nigella is perfect for cold winter weekends with a cup of tea or an indulgent hot chocolate. The ground almonds make it very moist and buttery and it will keep wrapped in an airtight container for up to 7 days.

Nigella Caraway Seed Cake

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Christmas Cake

I think it must have been in about 2009 that I started making my own christmas cakes. I tried a few different recipes in the early years but since giving Delia’s Classic Christmas Cake recipe a go I haven’t looked at another recipe.

I have tinkered with the quantity of some of the ingredients over the years and have to disagree with Delia’s insistence on not checking the cake unit at least 4 hours has passed, mine is always cooked at around 3hrs 50 so I feel her timings are vastly overstated. Hopefully below you will find the recipe for a dark and fruity Christmas cake laced with brandy, rum or whisky as you see fit.

I suggest placing a roasting tin of boiling water below the shelf on the bottom of the oven right before baking the cake as the steam helps to make a moister cake. I also place a baking tray on the rack above the cake as this further protects the top from burning.

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Brandy Soaked Fruit

Is it too soon to mention the C word?…….I hope not! I try to make my Christmas cake by mid October and have been using Delia’s Classic Christmas Cake recipe for some years now having made a few tweaks to suit my own tastes. I definitely stand on the Mary Berry side where alcohol in cakes/desserts is concerned and frankly more is more. Delia suggests a quite stingy 45ml brandy while Mary goes for 150ml so I’m edging up towards Mary’s measure!

To get started I like to soak the fruit for 5-7 days before baking the cake. Delia only soaks hers overnight though so if you are short on time, overnight is fine. And some cooks swear by a month or more soaking so start it whenever you have the time. For readers in the UK, Asda currently have 500g bags of dried fruit on 3 for 2 promotion so thats my cue to get soaking fruit.

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