So I completely neglected my blog over christmas, but I hope you will forgive me. I presume you were all enjoying being with family and stuffing yourselves silly. I know I was. It was the first dairy free christmas at the CakeyKate household. Mostly it remained unchanged; there’s not much butter in a turkey…. However a couple of things really did not want to be changed, like the pastry for the mince pies, what a nightmare! I made two different batches and neither of them would roll, I have no idea what I was doing wrong but they just wouldn’t stay together and kept breaking up as I tried to roll them. I did eventually manage to coax some mince pie cases out of them though, and I added a small disc of marzipan at the bottom. I love marzipan and would happily add it to anything and everything, especially at christmas time.
Another sticking point was the brandy butter….. obviously I couldn’t have good old brandy butter with actual butter, but I had seen Mary Berry make brandy buttercream (on the well timed Great British Bake Off Christmas Special, aired a week or so before christmas, in which she told the viewers to make their christmas cake at least four weeks before christmas…… next year then) and I thought, “I have a recipe for dairy free buttercream, I’ll just add brandy to that”. Simples……. perhaps the measurements need adjusting slightly, it looked determined to split but we slapped it into ramekins and shoved it in the fridge before it could get it’s way, thankfully it held up fine and had seemed to calm down by the time christmas pudding came around.
My main job at christmas is to make the christmas cake. I always do this eight weeks before christmas and let it mature, feeding it brandy at weekly intervals. You’ll find that the cake goes from a golden colour to a beautiful deep brown, and the flavour of the fruit really intensifies, which is why it’s called a rich fruit cake I suppose. I like to enlist the help of my sister for the decorating of the cake. She’s into knitting and papercraft and all things crafty, so it’s useful to have another skilled pair of hands. We tend to decide on the theme of the cake just before we decorate it….. nothing too well planned! This year we opted for a holly wreath, with a big tartan ribbon (well we are Scottish after all).
Another major event over christmas was the CakeyKate kitchen being inspected by food hygiene. God that sounds boring! I hear you say, but no it’s very exciting because it means that I am actually allowed to sell cakes I have made in my kitchen at home. I have a food hygiene rating and everything! So if you want an extra special birthday cake or a batch of cupcakes for a special occasion, get in touch and I’ll see what I can do! I am (still) at university so my main baking times are in the holidays, but I can squeeze a trip home in at a weekend.
But yes, back to reality with a thump. Having got back from a week of skiing over New Year (yes it was amazing) it’s quite disappointing to have to get back to work, but hopefully 2013 will be filled with cake 😀