Easter just isn’t Easter without a suitable bake. And as far as I’m concerned it’s all the better for the inclusion of chocolate. So, with that in mind, I wish you all a very Happy chocolate filled Easter and hope you enjoy my Simnel Mincemeat Easter Cake with chocolate apostles.
I’m rarely as organised at Christmas as I’d like to be, but I do usually manage to make my own mincemeat. As I’ve mentioned in my previous mincemeat recipe posts, once you’ve made your own, it’s hard to go back to shop bought. And it’s so easy too. Here, I’ve used it to make the most fabulous mincemeat buns – soft, fragrant and oh so very moreish.
If it wasn’t for We Should Cocoa, I probably wouldn’t have managed a Christmas bundt cake this year. I’m still recovering from flu and lacking in energy, so cooking has been mostly off this Christmas. However, I’m really glad I made the effort as it’s a light and delicious fruit cake that even CT will eat – he’s not a fan of either fruit cake or mincemeat, but is weirdly happy to indulge in this festive treat.
Looking around my kitchen the other day (well more like the other week), two items caught my eye. An opened jar containing some chocolate mincemeat leftover from the mincemeat slices I’d made a few days earlier and one lost languishing banana which was about to expire. It was obvious there was no time to spare, I needed to use them quickly. What could I do, but make some banana and mincemeat buns. I based my recipe on the mincemeat buns I made a couple of years ago.
This is how I made them:
- Creamed 125g unsalted butter with 125g cardamom sugar (golden caster) until light and fluffy.
- Broke in 2 duck eggs, beating well between each egg.
- Added 1 mashed banana and beat until combined
- Sifted in 125g flour (half wholemeal, half white), 1 scant tsp baking powder and 1/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
- Stirred until just combined, then stirred in 4 tbsp chocolate mincemeat.
- Spooned into 12 muffin cases.
- Baked at 180°C for 20 minutes until risen and golden.
The buns rose well and had a fabulous crumb structure. And more to the point, they were very tasty. Even CT liked these and he is not a mincemeat fan.
Using up leftovers and homemade leftovers at that, as well as rescuing a banana from the compost heap gives these simple buns the necessary kudos to be entered into Credit Crunch Munch with Camilla of FabFood4All and Helen of Fuss Free Flavours.
This month’s Family Foodies is all about getting something prepared fast – fast as in under 30 minutes. Well I reckon as long as your butter is soft and your ingredients handy, you could get these mincemeat muffins prepared in ten minutes allowing them 20 minutes to bake. I’ve also managed to get a healthy banana in their as well as lots of dried fruit and dark chocolate. Hosted alternately by Bangers & Mash and Eat Your Veg.
If you are anything like me, you will have odds and ends of recipes scattered around the house, used as bookmarks, scribbled on scraps or in piles somewhere or other and never to be found when needed. I keep meaning to get organised and to collect my favourite not to be forgotten recipes in one place, but somehow don’t seem to have managed it – yet.
Recently, I was sent A Cake Lover’s Recipe Notebook by Jane Brocket which would be perfect for this exercise or at least for keeping all my favourite cake recipes together. Published by Jacqui Small, it comes as a spiral bound hardback measuring roughly 20 x 23cm with a pretty vintage style textured cloth cover. The notebook is divided into sections, mostly categorised by type of cake and separated by tabs. It starts with an introduction, encouragingly entitled, let’s eat cake which celebrates the joy of baking. There then follows a chapter on baking essentials, which usefully outlines essential ingredients, equipment, methods and techniques. At the back of the book, you can find a list of addresses for suppliers. Each section includes two pre-prepared recipes. These are not meant to be particularly innovative, but classic cakes which, we are assured, are failsafe and perfect for the beginner. The recipes are all accompanied by beautiful vintage type illustrations that make me want to throw a tea party immediately.
Each section has about 16 recipe cards with space for ingredients, method and what size cake it makes or how many. It also has a handy little tick box for “make again”. There is a page to list the shape, size and number of your baking tins (or moulds in my case). I think I shall find this particularly useful as I don’t have the room to have them all in one cupboard or even all in the kitchen and often lose track of what I’ve actually got. At the back of the book, you will find pages for notes as well as favourite cake and baking shops, an idea I felt was particularly appealing.
Out of the twelve recipes included, I was relieved to see that three of them were chocolate ones: brownies, mocha cake and bûche de Noël. However, after considering making fondant fancies and covering them with chocolate icing, I decided to adapt the almond slice recipe instead. I had a jar of my chilli chocolate mincemeat left over from the Christmas before last and it was in need of using up. I thought it would make an ideal substitute for the raspberry jam in the recipe. I made only half the quantity as sadly, I had no tea party to give.
This is how I made:
Almond Mincemeat Slices
- Poured 100g flour (half wholemeal, half white) into a mixing bowl together with 25g ground almonds and 25g cardamom sugar (caster).
- Added 60g cubed unsalted butter and rubbed this into the flour until the mixture resembled breadcrumbs.
- Added 1 tbsp of cold water and stirred with a knife.
- Poured the mixture into a 7″ sq silicone mould and pressed it down with a spoon to form an even layer on the bottom.
- Baked at 180°C for 10 minutes.
- Creamed 70g unsalted butter with 70g cardamom sugar (caster) until light and fluffy.
- Beat in 1 duck egg.
- Sifted in 70g ground almonds, 40g flour (half wholemeal, half white) and ½ tsp baking powder.
- Stirred until just combined.
- Spread a layer of mincemeat over the shortbread base (about 8 tbsp) then covered this with the frangipane topping.
- Scattered a handful of flaked almonds over the top and baked at 180°C for 18 minutes until the top was risen and golden.
- Left to cool in the mould, then cut into 12 slices.
These slices were a true delight. The shortbread base was short and crumbly, the frangipane top was light and almondy and the chocolate mincemeat held it all together very nicely.
As my mincemeat was about to walk out of the cupboard and into the bin, I just got there in time. So I’m submitting this to the No Waste Food Challenge, normally hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen but this month by the wonderful Chris of Cooking Around the World.
Thanks to Jacqui Small for the notebook. There was no requirement to write a positive review and as always all opinions are my own.
Homemade mincemeat is a revelation, once made it’s hard to go back to a commercial product. Even inveterate mincemeat sceptics like CT are happy to partake of this. In fact it was hard to keep his hands off the Chilli and Chocolate Mincemeat Slice I made last year.
When it came to the Winter Solstice bonfire party a friend was hosting last year, I knew exactly what I wanted to bring along. I’d spotted this fabulous mincemeat slice recipe over at How to Cook Good Food the previous week and thought it would be just the sort of filling treat to keep us warm on a cold and damp winter’s night. They would be especially warming as I wanted to use the chilli and chocolate mincemeat I’d made a couple of weeks earlier.
This is how I made them:
- Creamed 190g unsalted butter with 175g dark muscovado sugar until light and fluffy.
- Sieved in 180g wholemeal spelt flour and 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
- Added 100g rolled oats and stirred to combine – with difficulty as the mixture was quite dry.
- Put just over half the mixture into a 9” square mould and pressed it flat to cover the mould. I realised at this point that I didn’t really have enough mixture to do this in such a large container (although I did increase Laura’s quantities very slightly). Next time I will increase the quantities further.
- Spooned in a jar of mincemeat – about 300g to cover the base.
- Added a small egg to the last part of the dough mixture to make it go a little further and spread more easily.
- Spread this on top of the mincemeat.
- Baked at 170C for 30 minutes.
- Allowed to cool, dusted with icing sugar, then cut into 16 slices.
The slices were a great success and something I may now be baking with monotonous regularity. Even CT, not a lover of mincemeat, enjoyed his slice. They were indeed just right for the evening, as we did get rather chilly and damp; the rain decided to descend just as the bonfire was lit. It was a magical scene however, with lanterns set amongst the trees as though we had surprised a gathering of the local piskies. Maybe they weren’t too happy to have their secret revealed; when I went to check my camera, no pictures were to be found. Bowls of steaming soup, hunks of bread and fine company kept us in good cheer and we had a lovely evening.
What mincemeat recipes would you recommend?
I’m submitting this to Bookmarked Recipes hosted by Jac over at Tinned Tomatoes.
I’m also submitting this to Made with Love Mondays, the weekly made from scratch event over at Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w/ Luv.
Having made such glorious scented chilli and chocolate mincemeat, I was keen to use it in various festive bakes. The first was a recipe I adapted from co-op’s in-store magazine and were made as a thank you to our lovely neighbours who take in our parcels with monotonous regularity and never complain.
This is how I made them:
- Creamed 125g unsalted butter with 125g golden caster sugar until light and fluffy.
- Broke in 2 duck eggs, beating well between each egg.
- Added 1/3 teaspoon almond extract and beat some more.
- Sifted in 125g self-raising white flour and 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
- Spooned into 10 muffin cases.
- Placed a heaped tsp of my homemade mincemeat on top.
- Baked at 180C for 15 minutes until risen and golden.
They were so good, I made another batch to take to my 2nd festive party – in the rain! This time I added 1/2 a 1 lb jar of my mincemeat to the mix, instead of spooning on top and omitted the almond essence. I used my usual mix of half wholemeal spelt and half plain white flour with 1/4 tsp of baking powder added (which I didn’t first time around). These made 12 cakes and were even better than the first batch; I brought home an empty plate.
The most delicious of all the mincemeat bakes I made were for the 1st festive party, where it also rained, but I shall post those at a later date.
I’ve made so many Christmas bakes with chocolate in this month, but keep forgetting to include them into this month’s Chocolatey Tea Time Treats, so I’m doing it now whilst I remember. Hosted this month by What Kate Baked, this is a toothsome challenge hosted alternately by Karen of Lavender and Lovage.