Recipes: Christmas cakes

Chestnut chocolate cake

  • Preparation time:20 minutes
  • Cooking time:30 minutes to 35 minutes
  • Total time:50 minutes to 55 minutes 
  • Serves: 6 - 8

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE
150g butter, plus extra 
for greasing
150g fresh chestnuts
150g dark chocolate
2 tbsp salted caramel sauce
3 large free range eggs, separated 
100g caster sugar

FOR THE TOPPING
2 tbsp granulated sugar
5 or 6 fresh chestnuts, 
cocoa powder, for dusting
 

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C gas mark 4. Butter and base-line a 20cm deep round cake tin. Roast all the chestnuts for 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove their skins. Reserve 5-6 for topping and finely chop the remaining chestnuts in a processor.

2. Break up the chocolate and place in small pan with the butter and caramel sauce. Heat gently until just melted. Put the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until pale and thick – it should leave a thick trail across the top. Whisk in the melted chocolate then fold in the chopped chestnuts.

3. Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Stir a quarter into the chocolate mixture to loosen, then fold the chocolate into the whites. Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for 30–35 minutes until well risen and just set. It will be a little soft and gooey inside. Cool for 5 minutes then turn onto a cooling rack.

4. For the topping, melt the sugar in a small pan then cook until a golden caramel. Remove from the heat, and toss the reserved chestnuts in the caramel. Turn out onto baking parchment and leave to set. Dust the cake with cocoa powder and scatter with the chopped caramelised chestnuts and serve with vanilla ice cream or crème fraÎche. 
 

If you would prefer to use vacuum-packed chestnuts, they are too wet to caramelise so just arrange them on the cake and drizzle with the caramel.

Sticky clementine puddings

  • Preparation time:15 minutes
  • Cooking time:30-35 minutes
  • Total time: 40-45 minutes
  • Serves: 8

Ingredients

175g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
5 easy peelers clementines
3 tbsp Lyle’s golden syrup
175g golden caster sugar
3 medium free range eggs, beaten
85g self-raising flour
85g fresh white breadcrumbs
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 carrot, coarsely grated
75g sultanas 

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6. Lightly butter 8 x 150ml pudding moulds or ramekins and 8 small squares of foil. Cut 8 thick slices from 2 clementines then grate the zest and squeeze the juice from the remainder. Pour the golden syrup into the base of the moulds then sit a slice of clementine in each one.

2. Whisk the butter and sugar until pale then slowly whisk in the eggs. Stir in the flour, zest and juice, breadcrumbs, spice, carrot and sultanas. Spoon into the dishes then cover with the foil, buttered-side down.

3. Place in a roasting tin and pour hot water into the tin until it comes halfway up the side of the dishes. Bake for 30-35 minutes until set.

4. Run a small knife along the inside of the moulds then invert onto small plates. Serve with warmed custard.  

Swedish cardamom coffee cake

  • Preparation time:15 mins + cooling
  • Cooking time:50-60 minutes
  • Makes: one 1kg loaf cake (about 10 slices)

Ingredients

125g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
200g light brown 
Muscovado sugar
3 medium Free Range Eggs, beaten
2 tbsp instant espresso coffee powder, plus 1 tsp for the icing
250g self-raising flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cardamom pods, split, seeds removed and lightly crushed (about 10 pods)
150ml tub soured cream
100g icing sugar, sifted
Coffee beans, to decorate (optional) 

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Butter and line the base of a 1kg loaf tin with baking parchment. Cream the butter with the sugar until pale and light then beat in the eggs a little at a time. Mix the coffee powder with 2 tablespoons of boiling water and leave to cool.

2. Sift the flour with the bicarbonate of soda. Add the lightly crushed cardamom seeds. Fold the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture, alternating with the coffee and soured cream.

3. Spoon into the prepared loaf tin and level the surface. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool.

4. Mix the icing sugar with 3-5 teaspoons of boiling water and the teaspoon of coffee powder until thick enough to coat the back of 
a wooden spoon. Drizzle over the loaf and decorate with coffee beans, if using. Serve in thick slices with coffee. 

Recipe and image courtesy of Waitrose & Partners

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