Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Bakes: Fruit Cake, Almond Cookies, Apple Cake

Christmas is well... finally over. Which means that I am finally able to write about it.

I have been busy, very busy with making Christmas goodies. My mum commissioned me to make little gift packs for her clients you see. 15 packs this week, 10 packs the next, extra special for the extra special clients. Also the neighbours, the friends and ofcourse, ourselves.

I like Christmas, I really do. It is the season for nectarines, apricots, cranberries, pecan and hazelnut. All waiting on the supermarket shelves for me to ferry back to my kitchen. I got new baking trays. My pantry is well-stocked with bags of flour, sugar and nut meal. The next thing you know, warm cakes sitting on the table, jars filling with cookies and the heavenly aroma of all things sweet. How can I not like Christmas? Apart from the fact that it is impossible to diet during Christmas.

Christmas Fruit Cake.
Let's see, my fruit cake has dried apricots, raisins, cranberries, hazelnut, almond, pecan and cinnamon. Oh yes, and grand marnier. I know we don't usually use grand marnier in fruit cakes, favouring the heavier rum or kirch for the cherries, but I like to think that grand marnier gives a citrus-y touch to the otherwise heavy fruit cake, hence the image of a lighter fruit cake.

Light Fruit Cake -makes 1 15cm x 30cm tin
Adapted from Le Cordon Bleu

200g brown sugar (I love brown sugar, use icing sugar for finer crumb)
pinch of salt
250g unsalted butter
5 whole eggs

325g bakers flour (reserve some for rubbing the fruits)
5g baking powder (sifted together with flour)

150g raisins
35g chopped dried apricots
35g cranberries
50g mixture of chopped pecan, hazelnut and almond (extra pecan for decoration)
1/2 lemon zest
40ml Grand Marnier

1. Soak dried fruits in grand marnier overnight.
2. Line tin with baking paper, and pre-heat oven to 180 degree Celsius.
3. Cream butter and sugar and zest to a pale yellow colour.
4. Add eggs gradually, scrape bowl and cream for 7 minutes on medium speed. *Note: the mixture will curdle if you add the eggs too fast. If that happens, throw in abit of flour to absorb the moisture.
5. Mix in sifted flour and baking powder. Blend till smooth and clear.
6. Rub fruits and nuts in reserved flour then add to batter. (this step prevents the fruits from sinking into the batter, thus evenly distributing the fruits in the cakes)
7. Pour into lined tin. Try to give a nice flat top to the batter.
8. Decorate the top with extra pecans and almond bits.
9. Bake at 180 degree Celsius for approximately 1 hour.

Almond Cookies.

I employed my brother to pipe royal icing onto the cookies... resulting in some really weird yet strangely pleasing designs.

Apple cakes.

One of my all-time favourite cake. It is like a butter cake with the presence of wholesome apples. And it makes a wonderful gift too.

Apple cake -makes 1 20cm round tin/ 3 mini panetonne cups as seen from above
Taught to me by Diana.


250g butter
200g brown sugar
300g flour
5g baking powder
4 whole eggs
A few drops of vanilla
1 tbsp rum or any sweet wine you can get your hands on (i have this beautiful sweet rice wine from my relatives in Malaysia)
4 apples, thinly sliced (the number of apples vary with size. I like to use red apples, especially rose apple because it is sweeter and more fragrant)

1. Line tins with baking paper. Pre-heat oven to 180 degree Celsius.
2. Mix butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs, vanilla essence till smooth. Take care not to overmix.
3. Add sweet wine, mix till incorporated
4. Fold half the apples into the batter.
5. Pour batter into baking tin. Make sure the top is flat and even.
6. Arrange the rest of the sliced apples onto the top of the batter. Be as artistic as you like but keep in mind the the apples tend to dry and shrivel in the oven.
7. Bake for about 1 hour.
8. 10 minutes towards the ends of baking, egg wash (1 egg yolk + a splash of milk) the top for a lovely golden finish.


1 comment:

kim-chong said...

Thanks for sharing the cake recipe, i going to try.
well done Heidi....