Top 5 Favourite Bakes To Make This Christmas

Hello everyone! Welcome to blogmas day 3. Are you all having a good December so far?

Today’s post is packed with my favourite 5 bakes to make at Christmas. Sometimes you get stuck in a cycle of the same recipes over and over – but no longer! My favourite festive treats are not out of the ordinary – but I’ve thrown a few in there to consider when you’re getting out the Christmas apron. 

I’ve linked the trusted BBC Good Food recipes for all of these suggestions in case you would like to make them yourself. Please send me photos of any that you make if you’ve taken inspiration from this post!

Mince Pies

A bit like Marmite, these traditional bakes you either love or hate. I personally love mince pies – they’re my favourite Christmasy snack although this year we broke the rules and made some in September. I’m sorry Grinches! That’s what 2020 has done to us. Normally I make these with a butter and flour pastry (Meg can follow up on what type of pastry that is haha), then spooning in mincemeat filling!

Christmas mince pies recipe - BBC Food
These look so yummy. Find the recipe here on BBC Good Food.

I don’t agree with the recipe I linked – you don’t need an egg. You just need flour and butter to make a short pastry then filling!

Gingerbread Men

They’re so cute gahh! Gingerbread men are a classic, and even if you’re not committed to the process of making and baking them, pre-bought ones are super fun to decorate. I made gingerbread with my little cousin last year and they went down a treat. For younger children this is a great activity but honestly, adults deserve the fun too. 

Gingerbread men on a wire tray
Aren’t these so cute! Recipe here.

Rudolph Cupcakes

If you’re following my Instagram then you will see in a couple of days my recreation of these Rudolph cupcakes! I used The Vegan Blog of Baking’s recipe for the chocolate sponge and invented the decorating myself. Jazzing up some traditional cupcakes with festive decoration is simple but so effective. You can use all sorts of things to make your design unique!

Rudolf cupcakes
These cupcakes from taste.com are so cute!

Candy Cane Biscuits

Imagine biscuit cut into candy cane shapes, decorated with royal icing… Well you don’t have to imagine because here is a photo! These would be quite a delicate bake but 100% worth it. I really want to make these at the weekend, possibly with some orange zest in the dough for some added festivity. 

Candy Cane Sugar Cookies | Better Homes & Gardens
This photo was sourced from the BHF website

I would use this recipe without the currants then cut accordingly. Easter biscuits are firm enough to cut into fiddly shapes and they hold well in the oven!

Cinnamon Rolls

Just the thought makes me feel all warm and fuzzy! Cinnamon is typically associated with Christmas and for all the right reasons. It’s one of my favourite spices and when included in anything: cupcakes, porridge, cereal it makes the food instantly taste like “Christmas”. I was really inspired to make cinnamon rolls after seeing them on my friend’s Instagram page. I have made them before but not for a long time. They are such a comfort food, and when made the right way, taste super homely. I’m in love with cinnamon rolls for that reason!

Three cinnamon rolls with vanilla icing served on a plate
This photo is sourced from BBC Good Food

I really hope you enjoyed day 3 of blogmas! It really wouldn’t be blogmas without the mention of sweet treats. 

What’s your favourite festive bake?

Have a brilliant day,

Find me elsewhere on the Internet:

Instagram: @cathjaneblog

Goodreads: @cathjaneblog

Pinterest: @cathjaneblog

Email me! cathjaneblog@gmail.com

How To Make Instagram Perfect Meringues Without Fuss

Welcome back! Hope you’re having a lovely week so far. Today I’m going to be sharing my full-proof meringue recipe. With a bit of creativity, you can make them look Pinterest perfect! They’re basic meringues, shaped like macaroons to make them cute and tiny 🙂 But I find macaroons have so much space to fail whereas meringues work perfectly every time. Now, let’s get into it!

I bought my meringues pre-made, I know that’s cheating. But here is a recipe I took from BBC GoodFood, our trusted friend. A few comments said they burnt but most were positive reviews. Just be careful! 

Ingredients

  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 115g icing sugar
  • margarine
  • more icing sugar for buttercream
  • food colouring! I used blue, red and pink.

Method

  • Heat the oven to 110C/ 100C fan/gas ¼.
  • Line two baking trays with non-stick liner or parchment paper (meringue can stick on greaseproof paper and foil).
  • Tip 4 large egg whites with an electric hand whisk until the mixture resembles a fluffy cloud and stands up in stiff peaks when the blades are lifted.
  • Now turn the speed up and start to add 115g caster sugar, a dessertspoonful at a time. Continue beating for 3-4 seconds between each addition. It’s important to add the sugar slowly at this stage as it helps prevent the meringue from weeping later. However, don’t over-beat. When ready, the mixture should be thick and glossy.
  • Sift one third of the 115g icing sugar over the mixture, then gently fold it in with a big metal spoon or rubber spatula. Continue to sift and fold in the remaining icing sugar a third at a time. Again, don’t over-mix. The mixture should now look smooth and billowy.
  • Divide the mixture into three bowls. Add a tiny, tiny drop of liquid food colouring in to each bowl. Gently (super gently) fold in until they look a light pastel colour.
  • Scoop up a dessertspoonful of the mixture. Using another spoon, ease it on to the baking sheet to make a circular shape. Or just drop them in rough rounds, if you prefer.
  • Bake for 1 ½-1 ¾ hours in a fan oven, 1 ¼ hours in a conventional or gas oven, until the meringues sound crisp when tapped underneath and are a pale coffee colour.
  • Leave to cool on the trays. (The meringues will now keep in an airtight tin for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for a month.)

Now to the part of the recipe I invented:

  • Once completely cooled, you can start decorating. Whip up some buttercream and divide into three bowls, as before. Add in a drop of food colouring into each bowl. You can make them darker than the original meringue, or the same colour (although that does take a lot of precision).
Tablecloth goals, am I right or am I right?
  • Grab two meringues and sandwich them together, with the buttercream centre.
  • Allow the buttercream to harden before serving.

That’s it! Your mock macaroons are now made to share on Instagram and go completely viral. Do send me you photos if you decide to recreate 🙂

Want to see my Instagram perfect meringues on Instagram? Just click here, I posted a new photo this evening.

What’s your favourite flavour macaroon?

Mine is by far pistachio!

catherine x

Bookstagram

Goodreads

Pin this post for later!

Top 5 Most Used Recipes | Perfect For Beginner Bakers | Easy, Quick & Super Tasty!

As a baker, there are certain recipes we do over and over again. Necessities, if you will, that are learned up in our baking brain like back of our own hands. In this post I am sharing my top 5 most used recipes. Most you can find on my blog, but there are a few from other places too!

  • Flapjack

We don’t need a recipe for this staple in the kitchen. Flapjack is the simplest but most yummy recipe ever! An alternative to the basic traybake are my oaty cookies. With just the addition of flour you can make these wonderful little biscuits. I often return to them as they are so simple and nothing goes wrong. Check out the recipe on my blog here.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies are a favourite in my family. Any type of chocolate will turn my brother’s head, but nothing beats the classic choc chip cookie. I found this recipe on Grace Ariya’s blog and it’s completely unbeatable! I have made it several times and used it as a base for other flavours. You must try it out. The combination of sieving and beating the butter comes together and forms a marvellous texture. Everything about them is just YUM! Try out for yourself by clicking on this link.

  • Chocolate Cake

The recipe for the perfect chocolate cake just went up the other week (see it here). This is one of the most basic cakes and I bake it for everyone’s birthday! It’s just like a Victoria Sponge, yet you replace a portion of the flour with cocoa. And for a brownie-like texture, add some baking soda! I know this recipe off by heart and I’ve made it twice in the same week before (one for my friend’s birthday, another for my cousin’s). With some chocolate buttercream and white chocolate piping – it’s perfect for anyone.

  • Easter Biscuits

Don’t be put off by the name, because this recipe works all year round. Around Christmas I add zesty orange and dip them in chocolate, for Spring its lemon and royal icing. You can check out the recipe here (made by yours truly) and changing things up a bit doesn’t affect the consistency at all. So add a pinch of salt, or cut them into funny shapes! From this base you can create anything.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset
  • Victoria Sponge

The ratio I know by heart: 2:2:2:1 is universal for any cake. Sometimes I’ll make a grand fruity sponge, other times little fairy cakes. Just follow a recipe and whip it up into whatever tin you have! I love, love, love easy cakes like this. Here’s a recipe I found on BBC Goodfood for those of you that are new to baking.


I’ll definitely do a part two to this if you like. I really enjoying recommending recipes to you all and seeing what you create via Instagram! If you are to follow Grace’s recipe, tag her in your photos. Because she is, like me, a small teen blogger (+ YouTuber) that would really appreciate your support. All of Grace’s links are helpfully on this page.

What’s your favourite recipe/baked good?

I’m a big fan of croissants but they take such a lot of effort to make. And you know me, quick and easy does the trick! Hope you all have lovely days,

erin x

Instagram

Goodreads

How To Make The Best Chocolate Cake | Rich, Tasty & Incredibly Simple

Some recipes you return to over and over again, and this chocolate cake is one of them! My friend’s see this cake on their birthdays, my parents have a slice on their birthdays – it’s all around the perfect base for a party cake! You can decorate it any way you choose, but inside it has that unbeatable rich chocolate flavour. Here’s how:

Ingredients

  • 5oz self-raising flour
  • 1oz cocoa powder
  • 6oz caster sugar (there wasn’t any in the supermarket so you’ll see granulated sugar in the photos)
  • 6oz margarine
  • 3 eggs
  • Top Tip: Baking soda is optional, but makes the cake a brownie-like texture (as shown in these photos)

Method

No messing about here, just measure out all of the ingredients into a large bowl. Combine using a hand mixer, or whatever electronic whisk you have. A splash of milk can also be used to loosen up the mixture if it’s too stiff. 

Line two round baking tins with greaseproof paper.

Preheat the oven to 180°/160° Fan.

Spilt the batter evenly between the two tins. I use a scale to be precise because you don’t want one half larger that the other!

Bake for around 18 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool on the side completely before decorating.

Decorating is the fun part because you can do it however you like! This particular cake was for a birthday, so I iced with chocolate buttercream before piping on a greeting with melted white chocolate. Here’s my final result:

That splodge of white chocolate is all that was left in the piping bag! So I just made a little ‘chocolate bar’ from it haha 😉

How did your’s go? Make sure to send in your photos if you did follow this recipe. I would love to see how you decorated it. 

What’s your favourite type of chocolate? Plain, white or milk? 

Plain is definitely my favourite, or chocolate orange. They even do dark chocolate oranges now which is just heaven for me haha. Let me know in the comments, and have a great day!

erin x

Instagram (for you to send your photos to me)

Goodreads

The Best Ever Tea Bread Recipe | Fruity, Easy & Perfect With A Cuppa

After procrastinating writing this recipe for so long, finally I am here. To be quite honest I’m not sure why I left this so late! This recipe is among my go-tos because it’s so tasty but easy to make. Let’s get our ingredients and start baking:

Ingredients

  • 300ml hot tea (made with 2 tea bags)
  • 360g mixed dried fruit – I used raisins and sultanas
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 135g soft brown sugar
  • 30g butter, softened
  • 1 egg

Method

First you will need to boil your kettle and make your tea. Then measure out your mixed dried fruit. Once you have done that, take out your tea bags and pour the hot liquid on top of the fruit to soak overnight. I recommend using a large bowl for this.

Add the flour, sugar and butter to the bowl. We only had demarara sugar in the cupboard so we had to use that, however the best one of the job is soft brown sugar (light or dark doesn’t matter). Once combined – it will be a stiff mix – add your egg. This will loosen the mixture and bring it all together. 

Now preheat your oven to 140°C. Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper or if you have pre-cut cases – brilliant! Then spoon your mixture into the tin.

Bake for 1 hr 30 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Serve by cutting the loaf into 5, then in half. This is because thin slices usually break apart when cut. Keep that in mind! Another option is to serve with butter and creamy cheese, though I like it plain.

And that wraps up this recipe! Super yummy, so easy and works out perfectly every time. Don’t forget to send your creations of this recipe to me via email or Instagram. It would be so great for you to try this out for yourself.

Do you like fruit cake? What other recipes do you want to see from me?

Leave your suggestions in the comments and have a lovely day,

erin x

Instagram

Goodreads