Monthly Archives: December 2013
|Wednesday 18th December 2013||Filled under Uncategorized|
I started my maternity leave on Monday. So far I haven’t exactly been taking it easy – I’m trying to finish off a new feature for Three Rings in time for the January release, I’ve just finished wrapping all the Christmas presents, I’ve started making desserts for Christmas, and I still have Tiny’s room to organise (at the moment all the baby stuff is just in a huge pile – whoever would have thought that something so small would need so many things?!).
But it’s still a pretty strange time. Sometime in the next four weeks, I’m going to be giving birth. It could start in 5 minutes, it could start next month. People who’ve done it are frustratingly vague about what it’s like, so it’s hard to find out what contractions feel like. There’s been a lot of weird stuff going on in my abdomen over the last week or so, every time I feel something new I find myself wondering whether it’s the start of labour.
I was going to celebrate all this free time by spending a whole half a day at the salon later in the week, but I was getting too stressed out about the possibility of needing to be in the hospital instead, so I cancelled it. Now I’m trying not to plan anything that can’t be easily cancelled at short notice. Heck, I had to change what I was making for Christmas dessert because one of the things I originally picked took several hours to cook and I started to worry that I might have to go to the hospital in the middle of baking, forget all about it and burn the house down.
Basically, at the moment I’m spending my time sitting around waiting for a life-changing thing that I have no idea what it will feel like which will happen some time in the next month. Whoop.
|Wednesday 11th December 2013||Filled under Uncategorized|
I had the day off work today, so I’ve been catching up on my festive baking. I know the second week of December is a bit late to make Christmas cake, but I’m ahead on the Christmas shopping, so that cancels out, right?
Anyway, these cakes started life as a neat idea for decorating Christmas cupcakes. I’m a terrible photographer, the picture doesn’t really do them justice, but the results were very cute. I can’t vouch for the taste, since the icing is full of booze, but my tasters seemed to like them 🙂
For the cakes:
- 120g plain flour
- 140g caster sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 40g unsalted butter, softened
- 50g milk chocolate (or dark for a more intense flavour), melted
- 1 egg
- 75ml milk
- zest and juice of 1 orange
For the icing:
- 100g icing sugar
- 4 tsp brandy
- chopped glace cherries and angelica, to decorate
Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas 3. Thoroughly grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
Mix the dry ingredients and rub in the butter (or pulse in a food processor, if you’ve got one). Stir in the orange zest.
Whisk the remaining ingredients together in a separate bowl, then stir into the dry mixture until just combined.
Dollop into the tin and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cakes have risen a bit. Check with a skewer if you’re not sure – it should come out clean. Try not to overcook them, though, they’re nicer when they’re a bit gooey. Leave the cakes to cool completely in the tin.
To decorate, pop the cakes out of the tins and turn them upside down on a plate or board (so the wider end is at the bottom). Mix up the icing – NB the second time I made it it came out much too thick and I had to add more brandy, so my numbers may be off! – it should be liquid but not runny. Spoon a bit of icing over each cake, making sure it goes up to the edge of the top in a few places so you get nice dribbles down the edges. Decorate with a slice of glace cherry and a couple of small pieces of angelica, arranged to look like holly (I had some holly sprinkles left over from making truffles, but it’s probably not worth buying them specially!).