St Lucia buns

In my advent calendar of baking I couldn’t resist having a go at this traditional scandi treat, and it simply had to be for the 13th.

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I’m not a great break baker so went back to the trusty Paul Hollywood recipe book as he appears to be no fail.

St. Lucia Buns

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: a bit harder
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Credit: bbcGoodfood

Ingredients

  • 250ml milk
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7g instant yeast
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 100g quark cheese
  • 1 egg, for glazing
  • 24 raisins

Directions

  1. Heat the milk low heat until gently steaming, remove from heat, add saffron and butter and set aside until lukewarm so saffron can infuse in the milk.
  2. Measure flour into a large mixing bowl, add salt and sugar to one side and yeast to the other. Pour the saffron-infused milk over the bowl of flour, then add the quark. Stir until it comes together as a soft dough. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5-6 minutes. Prove dough in a lightly oiled bowl covered with cling filmfor 1½-2 hours until the dough has doubled.
  3. When the dough has doubled divide into 12 roughly equal pieces. Roll the pieces of dough into 30cm sausages. Roll these into S-shapes and place onto a parchment lined baking tray. Re-cover the S-shapes loosely with cling film and set aside to prove again for 45 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180C /Gas 6. Brush shapes with beaten egg and then add a raisin in the centre of each coil of dough. Bake for 12-15 mins or until lightly golden-brown

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Butterscotch Yule

Fudge, caramel, butterscotch are all big wins in my house. Chocolate Yule log was the dessert of choice as there aren’t many dried fruit fans around here, put the two together and cor blimey guv’nor it’s impressive I got any photos before it was devoured.

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It might be a little sweet for some, but if you’ve a mouth-full  of sweet teeth like me, you’ll love it!

Butterscotch Yule log

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 110g soft brown sugar
  • 110g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 90g self-raising flour
  • 25g angel delight- butterscotch
  • Butterscotch Buttercream

  • 500g icing sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 50g angel delight – butterscotch
  • 50ml milk

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy, whisk in eggs then fold in flour and angel delight powder. Spread mixture onto a 22cmx30cm baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake for 10-15mins.
  2. Once springy to the touch cover with more baking parchment, invert tray and peel off backing paper. Pre-roll the cake so it won’t crack later when cooled, cover with a damp tea-towel.
  3. Whilst it cools make butterscotch buttercream(say that 10x fast) by beating together ingredients if stiff add more milk, if too wet add more icing sugar.
  4. Gently unroll cake and smear gorgeous butterscotch buttercream over the whole thing, re-roll then spread it alll over the beautiful thing, use a toothpick or fork to add bark effect.

Mini Christmas 🌲

Mini cupcakes? Buttercream? Glitter!! An easy project that looks pretty amazeballs as a sharing centrepiece at your Christmas party!

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Mini cupcakes

  • Servings: 48 mini cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 450g caster sugar
  • 450g butter
  • 8 eggs
  • 450g self-raising flour
  • 48 petit four cases
  • to decorate
  • 1kg icing sugar
  • 200g butter
  • 100ml milk
  • green gel food colouring
  • star/confetti sprinkles
  • yellow fondant
  • foam cone/ foil and rock

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/Gas mark 6. Beat sugar and butter, whisk in eggs and fold in flour. Put a teaspoon of mixture into each case and bake for 8-10mins, they cook very quickly so don’t wander off and put the kettle on, they’ll end up hard as rocks.
  2. Whilst cakes cool make buttercream by beating icing sugar, butter and milk together, and green gel food colouring till you reach a vibrant green. Pipe using a star or grass nozzle, this is tedious but does look pretty in the end.
  3. The recipe I found called for a foam cone, which I didn’t have, so fashioned one out of foil, with a rock at the base to stop the tree over-balancing later. Insert cocktail stick near the base and push buttercreamed cupcake on, one at a time works best so you can adjust sticks to fit cupcakes closely.
  4. Make stars out of yellow fondant and start cutters, and add decorations til your hearts content.

Buttercream Christmas

Who doesn’t love cupcakes? Especially when they’re Christmas themed!!

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Christmas Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 225g butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • Buttercream

  • 75g butter
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 20ml milk
  • Extras

  • fondant
  • gel food colous
  • writing icing

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Beat sugar and butter until fluffy, add in eggs and vanilla, once incorporated fold in flour. Add two tbsp of mixture into each cupcake case, bake for 20-25 mins until golden and spring back to the touch.
  2. Make buttercream, keep back a quarter white and dye the rest to needed colours. To make snowman pipe with large round nozzle from outside in, add a second layer if he looks flat, roll a ball of whit fondant for his head, stick on orange fondant nose and black hat, use black writing icing for eyes and mouth.
  3. Use same nozzle and method for christmas lights cake, use writing icing to draw wire, then roll coloured fondant into small bulbs and stick on wire.
  4. For the wreath cover cupcake in white, then dye some buttercream green, use star nozzle to pipe a circle, then red fondant for ribbon and baubles.
  5. Santa hat is red buttercream piped with round nozzle, then white buttercream piped with a star tip round the outside then on top for a bobble, make sure red is dry else it will bleed over.
  6. Reindeer is buttercream with added cocoa, piped in a swirl with a star tip, eyes nose and antlers are fondant.

Biscuit Bunting

Now these take a little while to decorate, but are surprisingly easy if you have the patience. Absolutely delicious too, from a Nigella recipe but I’ve cut out the pepper I’m not a fan.

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Biscuit Bunting

  • Servings: 24
  • Difficulty: easy
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Credit: allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 100g butter
  • 100g soft dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°/gas mark 3. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves add the butter and sugar, then, slowly, the beaten eggs and golden syrup. Knead into two flat discs and chill in fridge for 1/2 hour.
  2. Dust the work surface with flour, roll out the disc, also floured, to about 5mm and cut out bunting with a gingerbread man cutter. Make a hole in the head for gingerbread people, or between the antlers (legs) for reindeer. Bake for 10-15 mins.
  3. Once cool use royal icing to outline then flood the decorations, where neccesary use gel food colours, allow to completely dry, then thread ribbon through holes and hang.

(Not so) little elf houses

These wee little beauts were supposed to fit on a mug, well I don’t know about you but I don’t own a mug big enough, so they’ve been reinvented as elf houses, although one is serving as a dog kennel alongside my big gingerbread house.

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They may have ended up a little bigger than I originally intended but they still taste delicious and look totes adorbs.

Mini gingerbread houses

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Credit: bbcgoodfoid.com

Ingredients

  • 1kg plain flour
  • 300g butter
  • 2 tbsp mixed spice
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 450g light soft brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 225g golden syrup
  • royal icing

  • 2 egg whites
  • 500g icing sugar

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Melt together butter, golden syrup and sugar over a low heat. Remove from heat and mix in eggs. Once incorporated start slowly adding flour kneading into a stiff dough. 2. Roll a quarter of the dough out at a time on a sheet of baking parchment, to roughly 5mm thick. Use sharp knife to out house pieces, mine are a little big but as a guide 8 sides of 2″x1.5″, 8 roofs of 2.25″x1.5″ and front/backs are 3″ at apex and 1.5″ wide. Bake for 12- 15mins.
  2. Make royal icing, once pieces are cool decorate however you wish, lattice roof, candy canes and hearts. Let dry for at least half an hour then pipe icing along edges and press together, allow sides to dry then add roof.

Speculove

I have an enormous love of the spiced, caramelised gorgeousness of speculoos biscuits. Lotus are the most commonly found over here and they’ve created a spread that is completely irresistible, I struggle to not eat the whole jar in one sitting.

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It just begs to be made into cake, and as they are a traditionally festive treat, it had to be given a little of that Christmas magic. This particular beast originated as a birthday cake for a particular yuletide obsessive.

 

Biscoff Beautiful Bake

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Credit: IdealHome

Ingredients

  • 175g butter
  • 150g dark muscovado sugar
  • 3 tbsp treacle
  • 150ml milk
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • Lotus Buttercream

  • 400g Lotus Biscoff spread
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 20ml milk
  • To decorate

  • 200g Lotus Biscoff spread
  • fondant
  • gel food colours
  • cake star mini metal cutters
  • PME mini holly cutter
  • Edible food pens
  • Cake Decor Glitter spray – Gold

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/gas mark 6. Grease and line three 18cm (7″) cake tins.
  2. Over a low heat melt butter, sugar and treacle. Remove from heat, whisk in eggs then add flour and ginger. Split mixture evenly into tins and bake for 20-25 min, until firm.
  3. To make the buttercream beat biscoff and icing sugar together, use the milk to loosen mixture if it becomes stiff.
  4. Once completely cool, sandwich the cake together with buttercream, then spread the gorgeousness around sides and top, you may need to make a crumb coat, allow to set, then a thicker, neater layer on top. Reserve some buttercream to pipe stars later.
  5. Slightly warm the 200g of biscoff and spoon a circle around the edge of the cake,letting it drip off the edge. Once cooled, pipe buttercream with a star nozzle to a clock pattern (12,3,6,9 then add 2 stars between each ‘corner’ mark).
  6. Fondant decorations can be made well in advance, just stamp out shapes in appropriately dyed fondant, use edible food pens to add details, allow to dry. Sprinkle around cake then liberally spray with edible glitter spray!