Week Sixty One – Mary Berry’s Fast Mincemeat Christmas Cake & Carrot Cake

Week sixty one and my bakes this week helped take my mind off what I am facing tomorrow…but more of that later. This week’s bakes were also disappointing in some ways too….

I delved into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible and wanted to make a start on my Christmas cakes so I chose her fast mincemeat Christmas cake recipe and dug out my trusty Lakeland cake tin that can be divided into smaller cake sizes so I had four square cake tins.

Mary Berry's Fast Mincemeat Christmas Cake

Mary’s recipe is the strangest Christmas cake recipe I have ever made, and I make Christmas cakes for friends and family most years. usually I am up to my armpits in various dried fruits, candied peel, brandy etc. but nope, not this year. Mary’s recipe uses mincemeat in a jar along with some sugar, currants, flour, butter and some eggs. That was pretty much the recipe. I made four batches and poured them into my tins which were greased and lined. I popped them into the pre warmed oven for the hour and three quarters that Mary states. After the timer pinged, I got my trusty skewer and checked the cakes. Imagine my disappointment when I saw that all four cakes had sunk. I hadn’t opened the oven at all during the bake and had pre warmed the oven so I don’t know why they did. I was very disappointed but took heart that the bottoms of them were flat so that will effectively become the top but I will know that they weren’t right. I will now wrap them in foil, feed them a little alcohol- Mary doesn’t add any to this cake and I think a little gives it some flavour. I will also then decorate them and fancy trying some sugar craft modelling…..

Kim's fast micemeat christmas cake

The second recipe was Mary’s carrot cake. I had a major problem with Mary’s recipe because it has banana  (in a carrot cake?!) and I can’t use banana in anything at home because of hubby’s allergy. So I looked on Mary Berry’s website and found that she does a lovely carrot cake recipe without banana here . I also decided to make it as a tray bake rather than the usual cake.

Mary Berry's Carrot Cake

I mixed all the ingredients together and popped the tray bake into the oven. After the allotted time, the cake was done and a lovely golden brown. I left it to cool in it’s Lakeland tray bake tin and set about making the creamy topping. I spread the topping over the tray bake and put pecan nuts on it rather than walnuts and popped it into the fridge. I can’t wait to try a slice of this….

Kim's carrot cake traybake

For those of you who drop by this blog occasionally you will know that at New Year last year, I had to go into hospital for some surgery. Well tomorrow I have to go in again for another small procedure- small in time spent in theatre but a reasonable time recovering. Hence the blog actually being on time today and I am not yet sure if I will feel up to baking at all next week yet. I am having this procedure done.

Finally, I got to see the Day of the Doctor last night. In case you hadn’t guessed, I am quite the Dr Who fan and thoroughly enjoyed the 50th anniversary program last night. Well worth the wait and way beyond any hype. I pressed the red button after the program and also enjoyed the Five doctors (almost) which had Peter Davidson, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy in a spoof drama trying their hardest to get cast into the program. It was hilarious!

Week Sixty – Mary Berry’s Bara Brith & Iced Animal Biscuits

Another landmark week, I can’t believe I have been blogging and more importantly baking regularly for SIXTY weeks! This week’s selection was a tribute to the welsh part of my family with a Bara Brith. I had to soak the dried fruit and sugar in half a pint of strong tea overnight. I must admit that I didn’t think the amount of liquid would be absorbed but Mary Berry‘s instructions were spot on. Once the fruit mix was done, I added the flour and an egg and mix it all together.

Mary Berry's Bara Brith

I lined my loaf tin and poured the mixture in and levelled it. Into the oven it went and the timer set. Soon enough the pinger sounded and I tested the loaf with my trusty skewer, not quite ready so it had a few minutes more. Then out of the oven and cooling in the tin for a few minutes before removing from the tin and placing on a cooling rack. A Bara Brith loaf in memory of my Auntie Shirley and Uncle Bill.

Kim's Bara Brith

Mary’s Baking Bible has a children’s recipe section which I have done quite a few of already. I chose her iced animal biscuits this time around, they sounded like fun for a big kid like me.

Mary Berry's Iced Animal Biscuits

I mixed the dough together as per Mary’s instructions and looked in my box of cutters to see what I had in the way of animal cutters. What did I find- a present from last Christmas from my mum – a Gromit cutter, what better for a dog lover than making some dog inspired iced animal biscuits!

Gromit Cutter

I rolled out the dough and cut out as many Gromit heads as I could. I wondered what they would look like iced and decided to use some circle cutters on half the biscuits to mark out Gromit’s nose and eyes as an experiment. Into the oven the biscuits went in batches. They didn’t take long to bake or cool.

Kim's Gromit biscuits

I mixed up some various colours of icing and used an artist’s brush to paint the icing onto the biscuits. I still don’t know which ones I preferred.

Kim's Iced Animal Biscuits


I’m a Celebrity is now on and has been extremely entertaining from the first episode. I will reserve judgement until the next blog on who I think will or should be King or Queen of the Jungle! On a final note, the Fiftieth Celebration of Doctor Who is on this Saturday, I have reserved my sofa seat with the obligatory cushion to hide behind and won’t be answering the phone until I watched every last minute!