Week One Hundred & Four- Mary Berry’s Tiny Fruit Cakes & Victorian Christmas Cake

Week 104 and this week was a feat of organisation -for my annual Christmas cake bake fest! I dipped into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible and found the final two christmas type cake recipes and I started on Friday night weighing out all the fruit and soaking it in various alcohols including brandy and port!

On Saturday morning, I took the two hairy hoolies to the park while the ground was still frosty so I didn’t bring them back too wet and  muddy and then rolled up my sleeves and set off. In the kitchen I have an old CD player and my Cd of choice for baking for the last few months has been Robbie Wiliams “swing both ways” and this week was no exception. I just love this CD and find myself dancing and singing while baking, much to the amusement of the hairy hoolies and my hubby! Any how, back to the bake. I started with Mary Berry’s tiny fruit cakes, and made 4 x the amount Mary states in her recipe as each year I make christmas cakes as gifts. Once the fruit had been soaked, Mary asks you to put all the rest of the ingredients in and mix it all together.

Mary Berry's tiny fruit cakes

Mary suggests you use small cake tins or used baked bean tins but as I already had something in mind, I used two silicone moulds to put the cake mix in …but can’t tell you much more at the moment as they will become presents but I will take pictures and reveal all after Christmas.

Kim's tiny fruit cakes

The second recipe I used was Mary Berry’s Victorian Christmas Cake which again was an all in one recipe and I used 2 small spring form cake tins instead of the one larger one that Mary suggests. The difference with this recipe is that it involves pineapple in the cake which is unusual. This recipe made four small cakes …and again, sorry but photos to follow after christmas!

Mary Berry's Victorian Christmas Cake

We had to phone the chief tester to inform him that there was no bake this week for testing, the reaction was hilarious!

sulking

I have watched this year’s “I’m a Celebrity, get me out of here” avidly. It’s my guilty pleasure and great fun to watch. I must say that I was pleased that Jake and Foggy were the final two and I didn’t mind who won  as I was pleased for them both! I don’t  watch the X Factor so I didn’t know who Jake was but he came across as a lovely guy who was very thoughtful. I had heard of Carl Fogerty and he was more patient than I imagined.

I also had time this weekend between batches of cake making to put up  my christmas decorations. Our tree is always decorated with ornaments that we have collected over the time hubby and I have been together and we always buy a new one each year. This year it was a mini rolling pin to celebrate my ongoing baking challenge! On my mantelpiece I always have a little nativity scene which is a little set given to me one christmas by my mum and dad and it came from Woolworths way before it closed when you could get some amazing things all under one roof! For a while now, I had wanted a stable for my nativity figures but every one I found was either way too big or way too expensive so I decided to make one myself….. I don’t think I did too bad a job!

Kim's stableinterior stable viewbasic stable viewside stable viewStable viewKim's stable

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Week ONE HUNDRED! – Mary Berry’s Ginger Cream Roll & Madeira Cake

Welcome to my one hundredth blog of my Mary Berry challenge to bake every recipe in her Baking Bible. It’s been a long road and sometimes hard to motivate myself each weekend but I am doing well and from over 200 recipes, I am now down to double figures instead.

100 blogs!

I delved into Mary’s baking bible and found this week’s recipes and set off. Mary’s ginger cream roll sounded easy enough, the first step involved a pack of ginger biscuits, some brandy and some whipped cream!.

Mary Berry's Ginger Cream Roll

 

Mary asks you to quickly (!) dip each ginger biscuit in the brandy and then spread cream on one end and sandwich them together on a serving plate to form a roll. Place this in the fridge to set.

part one - Kim's ginger cream roll

Once the roll has set, whip the other half of the cream and pipe swirls all over and then allow to set again. This was a no cook pudding and easy to do. The brandy soaks into the ginger biscuits and they go all soft and gooey with the cream. It makes a very indulgent pudding that is rich and boozy!

part twop Kim's ginger cream roll

The second recipe was Mary’s madeira cake. I thought this fairly plain cake would balance the richness of the cream roll.

Mary Berry's Madeira Cake

This is one of Mary’s all in once recipes and so I weighed everything into a bowl and mixed it together and poured into a tin, smoothed the surface and put it in the oven.This cake is quite a dense cake but provided a nice balance to the other one.

IMG_0348

The clocks have now changed which means dark evenings which I don’t like. This means the hairy hoolies only get street walks until the weekend when we can get to the park and then they get really muddy!

This time of year also brings around “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here” and I am quite partial to this. i have now seen the list of celebrities and it will make for an interesting mix. Bring on Sunday to see what they are made of and whether I will be watching the whole journey or not.

I also am posting a “joke” that my chief taster sent to me- I had had need of his trolley pushing duties for supermarket trips when I was recovering from my operations and I think he is trying to tell me something! I only go up and down the aisles twice-up one side and down the other!

shopping patterns

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!