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Tag Archives: Nigella Lawson

Nigella’s Italian Christmas Pudding Cake

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This is a fabulous cake I made as part of the recent Christmas and New Year festivities. It’s a relatively simple cake to make, as there’s no baking required rather an assembly of different luscious elements.

It’s a kind of “tiramisu meets trifle”! Layers of liqueur soaked panettone are interspersed with a mascarpone/ cream/egg/sugar/liqueur mixture with glacé fruit, chocolate and pistachios added.

I made a couple of alterations to the original recipe. I soaked the panettone in Cointreau as the specified Tuaca liqueur is hard to obtain.  As I was unable to source marrons glacés (candied chestnuts), I used glacé ginger instead.

The other recipe alteration was entirely accidental – the recipe asks for Marsala to flavour the mascarpone mixture. I inadvertently grabbed a bottle of coffee liqueur and used this instead. A happy accident as it turned out as the cake now had a real tiramisu flavour!

The link to Nigella’s recipe is here for the original version.

A couple of points. I think finely chopped chocolate is preferable to chocolate chips as these are a little too crunchy in the cake. The other thing to take note of, is not to overbeat the mixture when you add the mascarpone as mascarpone can easily curdle as I found out to my cost!

Here is the recipe as I made it.

Ingredients

625 grams panettone (approximately)
6 tablespoons Cointreau or other orange liqueur
2 large free-range eggs at room temperature
75 gms caster sugar
500 gms mascarpone cheese
250 mls cream
125 mls coffee liqueur
75 gms glacé ginger
125 gms chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate
100 gms pistachios chopped
Pomegranate seeds from half a pomegranate

Method

Using a serrated knife, cut the panettone roughly into 1cm slices, then use about a third of these to line the bottom of a 22cm springform cake tin. Tear off pieces to fit so that there are no gaps.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons of  the orange liqueur over the panettone.

Whisk the eggs and sugar until very frothy and increased in volume and lightness.

Slowly whisk in the mascarpone and double cream, then gradually whisk in the coffee liqueur and whisk until the mixture is thick and spreadable. If you stop every so often you can gauge how thick the mixture is and whether you are in danger of overbeating.

Remove 250ml or a cup of the mixture to a bowl, cover and put in the fridge, for the top layer of the cake.

Chop the glacé ginger into small pieces and then add to the rest of the mascarpone cream mixture.  Then add 100gms of the chocolate chips and 75gms of the chopped pistachios, and fold both into the mixture.

Spoon half of the mixture on top of the panettone layer in the cake tin. Put another third of the panettone slices over the cream filling, again making sure there are no gaps. Sprinkle with another 2 tablespoons of liqueur.

Spoon the other half of the cream mixture onto to the panettone. Top with the final layer of panettone, leaving no gaps and sprinkle over the last 2 tablespoons of liqueur.

Cover the cake tightly with clingfilm, pressing down on the top a little, and put in the fridge for at least overnight.

To serve, take the cake out of the fridge, unmould it and sit it on a flat plate or cake stand, then spread with the reserved mascarpone mixture. Definitely don’t try to lift the cake off the base, as the cake is too soft and moist to remove.

Scatter the top of the cake with the remaining chocolate chips and chopped pistachios and the pomegranate seeds. The cake will look a little rustic around the sides but this is part of its charm!

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Festive Rocky Road

 

Rocky Road has to be the easiest sweet to make at Christmas. And it’s not even a bake!

I’m revisiting a recipe that is based on Nigella’s Christmas Rocky Road, from her book Nigella Christmas. I like it as it’s an adult version of Rocky Road, with dark chocolate and lots of nuts.

I substituted ginger nut biscuits for amaretti biscuits in Nigella’s recipe and I used a mixture of brazil nuts, cashews and pecans.

Ingredients
250 gms dark chocolate
150 gms milk chocolate
175 gms soft butter
4 tbls golden syrup
200 gms ginger nut biscuits
150 gms brazil nuts, cashews and pecans
150 gms red glace cherries
125 gms mini marshmallows or whole marshamllows cut in half
Edible glitter and icing sugar to decorate

Method
Chop the chocolate into small pieces and then put into a heavy-based saucepan to melt with the butter and syrup over a gentle heat.
Put the biscuits into a freezer bag and bash them with a rolling pin to get big and little pieces. Put the mixed nuts into another freezer bag and bash them to get different sized nut pieces.
Take the saucepan off the heat, and add the crushed biscuits and nuts, whole glacé cherries and marshmallows, turning carefully to coat everything with the chocolate.
Line a rectangular or square tin with baking paper. A larger tin will give you thinner Rocky Road, a smaller tin will give you a chunkier version. Smooth the top, not too much as the rough look is what you want.
Refrigerate until firm enough to cut, at least 2 hours, the longer the better. Remove the set Rocky Road from the tin and cut into squares or slabs – whatever you prefer.
To decorate, sprinkle the top of the Rocky Road with edible glitter – I used gold. Dust with icing sugar for a snowy effect.

Christmas Spruce Cake for the Festive Season

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I first made this unusual cake in 2013. I had just hunted down the all important cake tin on eBay and I was super keen to try out the new acquisition! It’s a Nordic Ware mold called Holiday Tree Bundt Pan, that is shaped like a Christmas spruce tree.

I am re-blogging the recipe as the festive season approaches, and we begin to think about what to cook for all those up-coming celebrations.

The cake is fabulous because of the tin, but really, you can make it in an ordinary cake tin, or in any other fancy tin you have on hand. It’s a Nigella recipe for a rich butter cake, which can be spiced up with anything you like, but Christmas flavours of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg are a wonderful way to go.

The recipe is from Nigella Christmas, a cook book full of exciting Christmas treats. It’s also on Nigella’s website: http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/spruced-up-vanilla-cake

But beware – if you do happen to be using this gorgeous spruce mold, you must grease the mold really carefully as the cake is very tricky to remove from the tin. I have experienced the cake sticking and coming out in bits. But when the cake comes out intact, it’s delightful, and can be zhushed with icing, chocolate or glace fruit.

Ingredients
225 gms soft butter (plus more for greasing)
300 gms caster sugar
6 large eggs
350 gms plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250 gms plain fat-free yoghurt
4 tsps vanilla extract and/or
1 tsp each cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
2 tbls icing sugar

Method
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C fan forced or 170 degrees C non fan forced and put a baking sheet in at the same time.
Butter or oil the Nordic ware spruce tree mould very thoroughly. Alternatively, you could use a large 2.5 litre capacity tin.
Put all the ingredients except the icing sugar into a food processor and blitz together. Pour and spoon the mixture into the greased tin and spread evenly.
Place the tin on the preheated baking sheet in the oven and cook for 45–60 minutes until well risen and golden.
After 45 minutes, insert a skewer into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. Rest the cake out of the oven for 15 minutes.
Gently pull away the edges of the cake from the tin with your fingers, then turn out the cake.
Once cool, dust with the icing sugar pushed through a small sieve, or decorate in whatever way inspires you.

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Strawberry Cupcakes with Intense Strawberry Flavour

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These beautiful cupcakes are truly strawberry marvels. They have an intense strawberry flavour in both the cakes themselves and in the luscious strawberry icing. I used my usual go-to recipe for the cupcake mixture, based on Nigella‘s cupcake recipe. Adding some strawberry puree which I cooked down to a beautiful paste as well as a handful of chopped fresh berries, gives you the strawberry cake batter. A traditional buttercream icing with more reduced strawberry puree, and some optional strawberry fondant creme make these cupcakes really delicious!

Ingredients

Cupcakes

125g self-raising flour

125g caster sugar

125g butter

2 large free-range eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tblsp milk

2 tbls reduced strawberry puree*

Handful of chopped fresh strawberries (about 6 will probably be enough)

Strawberry Buttercream Icing

50g butter, softened

250g icing sugar, sifted

2 tbls reduced strawberry puree*

1 tbls strawberry fondant creme (optional)

Method

Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line a 12 hole muffin tin with cup cake cases.

Put all the ingredients except the milk, reduced strawberry puree and chopped strawberries in a food processor and blitz till smooth. Add the milk while pulsing to make a soft, dropping consistency.

Carefully fold in the reduced strawberry puree and chopped strawberries.

Spoon mixture into the cases, filling the cases equally.

Place the tin in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the cup cakes are cooked and golden on top.

Take the cup cakes in their cases out of the tin and cool on a wire rack.

Ice with the strawberry buttercream icing.

Strawberry Buttercream Icing

In a bowl, cream together the butter and icing sugar until combined, then add the reduced strawberry puree and the strawberry fondant creme (if using) and beat well. If the icing is too soft, or runny, then add more icing sugar to get the desired consistency.

*To make reduced strawberry puree

To make the total amount of reduced strawberry puree needed for both the cakes and icing, puree about 20 strawberries in a food processor or a blender. You will get about 1/2 cup, or 2/3 cup of puree. Put the puree in a saucepan  and heat the puree over low to medium heat.  Simmer, stirring occasionally until reduced by about 2/3 to 4 tbls –  about 10 minutes or so.

These quantities and instructions are rather loose – you need enough strawberries to make a decent amount of puree, then cook them down for long enough to give enough reduced puree for both the cakes and icing. It’s important to cook the puree so that it’s thick, particularly for the icing, so that the icing isn’t too runny.

Also, chill the puree before adding it to the cakes or icing.

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Cherry Jam Crostata and Blood Orange Cake

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A lovely morning tea was held to celebrate the birthday of Quirky Sister No 2 recently. Quirky Nieces 1 and 3 made two beautiful bakes – an Italian crostata and a whole blood orange cake – for the festivities.

Quirky Niece 1, Isabella, on a recent trip to Italy, came back with a great crostata recipe, and in Italian , too. I  have included the original hand written recipe.

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Quirky Niece 3, Helena, used one of my favourite citrus fruits, blood oranges, in a cake with the whole fruit, from a Nigella recipe which references the famous Claudia Roden orange and almond cake.

Cherry Jam Crostata

The Italian source didn’t provide a lot of information – no method, so I have included what I think would work.

Ingredients

300g plain flour
½ sachet of baking powder (1 sachet = 11g)
150g sugar
100g butter
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks

Quantity of any good jam for the filling (my niece used black cherry)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.  Line a tart mold with baking paper or you could simply grease a baking tray if you want a true rustic crostata.

Place the flour, baking powder and sugar in a food processor and pulse till the mixture just comes together.

Make a well  in the centre  and add the butter and egg and egg yolks and mix in gently until combined but not overworked.

Roll out the dough roughly  – remember this is not a precise tart – and line the tart mold. Or gently shape the dough into a round with a pastry rim on the baking tray.

Fill the tart with the jam, adding a  pastry decoration as my niece did, and bake for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is golden and the jam bubbling.

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Blood Orange Cake

Ingredients

3 blood oranges
6 large free-range eggs
225g sugar
250g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder

Candied orange topping

Juice of a blood orange
4 tbs honey
1 blood orange thinly sliced

Method

Put the blood oranges in a saucepan with some cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 2 hours or until the blood oranges are soft. Drain and, when cool, cut each orange in half and remove the pips. Put the oranges – skins, pith and fruit – and blitz in a food processor.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Butter and line a 21cm springform tin.

Add the other ingredients to the food processor and mix.

Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for an hour until a skewer comes out clean –  cover with aluminum foil after about 40 minutes to stop the top of the cake burning. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a rack, but in the tin.

To make the candied orange topping, put the orange juice and honey in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium. Add the orange slices and cook for 5 minutes each side until the orange slices caramelise.

Top the cake with the candied orange slices and syrup.

Christmas Rocky Road

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I love Rocky Road and I make it quite often, using different kinds of chocolate, glace fruit and nuts depending on who I’m making it for or what’s in the store cupboard.

This recipe is based on Nigella’s Christmas Rocky Road. I substituted ginger nut biscuits for amaretti biscuits and used a mixture of brazil nuts, cashews and pecans. It’s an “adult” version  – more dark chocolate than milk, ginger biscuits and no peanuts!

Ingredients
250 gms dark chocolate
150 gms milk chocolate
175 gms soft butter
4 tbls golden syrup
200 gms ginger nut biscuits
150 gms brazil nuts, cashews and pecans
150 gms red glace cherries
125 gms mini marshmallows or whole marshamllows cut in half
Edible glitter  and icing sugar to decorate

Method
Chop the chocolate into small pieces and then put into a heavy-based saucepan to melt with the butter and syrup over a gentle heat.
Put the biscuits into a freezer bag and bash them with a rolling pin to get big and little pieces. Put the mixed nuts into another freezer bag and bash them to  get different sized nut pieces.
Take the saucepan off the heat, and add the crushed biscuits and nuts, whole glacé cherries and marshmallows,  turning carefully to coat everything with the chocolate.
Tip into a foil tray 236mm x 296mm / 9¼” x 12″.  Smooth the top,  not too much as the rough look is what you want.
Refrigerate until firm enough to cut, at least 2 hours, the longer the better.  Remove the set Rocky Road from the foil tray  and cut into squares or slabs – whatever you prefer.
To decorate, sprinkle the top of the Rocky Road with edible glitter –  I used gold.  Dust with icing sugar for a snowy effect. Or you can just leave unadorned – the squares are pretty enough on their own.

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Rainbow Party Cakes

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I have been experimenting with flavour essences for cupcakes as well as food colours, creating some pretty heady colours as well as flavours! I have created these for various young tasters but older tasters seem to like them too!

Raspberry, passionfruit and lime are flavourful and vibrant. The raspberry cakes are the most successful, I think. The lime cakes taste a little artificial.

The recipe is Nigella’s standard cupcake recipe, which I use a lot, as it’s an “everything in the food processor” recipe. The frosting is buttercream. Adding flavoured fondant creme is not strictly necessary, but adds more depth.

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Ingredients

Cupcakes

125g self-raising flour

125g caster sugar

125g butter

2 large free-range eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tblsp milk

A couple of drops of red, yellow or green food colouring

Buttercream Icing

125g butter, softened

250g icing sugar, sifted

A couple of drops of raspberry, passionfruit or lime essence

A couple of drops of red, yellow or green food colouring

 

Method

Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line a muffin tin with cupcake cases.

Put all the ingredients except the milk and food colouring in a food processor and blitz till smooth. Add the milk while pulsing to make a soft, dropping consistency.

Divide the mixture into 3 bowls and beat in food colouring to each bowl.

Spoon mixture into the cases, filling the cases equally.

Place the tin in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cup cakes are cooked and golden on top.

Take the cup cakes in their cases out of the tin and cool on a wire rack.

Ice with the buttercream icing.

Buttercream Icing

In the food processor, cream together the butter and icing sugar until light an fluffy, then add flavour essence, food colour and fondant if using, whizzing continuously.

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