This evening, I made a lovely cake, using a recipe from my niece's blog - and I have to say, it has turned out extremely well.
The cranberries and diced apple in it give a very festive appearance to the slices, and the spices add to the general Yuletide flavour.
Kate is much better at food photography than I am - but I am still very pleased with the final result.
Cranberry Apple Spice Cake
Adapted by Kate Almond from Joy the Baker
375g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups (375ml) flavourless oil (sunflower, vegetable or similar)
3 large eggs
300g caster sugar
110g brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tbsp rum, or other spirit [or orange juice ]
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tart apples (Granny Smith, or Bramley) peeled, cored and cut into little cubes – about 1/4 “
1 cup (probably about 125g) fresh cranberries, very roughly chopped.
Preheat the oven to 350F or 180C or Gas Mark 4.
I used a bundt pan but this could equally make 2 loaves or a 7” square tin. Butter and flour the tin (or line with greaseproof) and knock the excess flour out.
Then in one bowl, mix up the oil, eggs, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, alcohol and vanilla. In another, sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Then fold the flour mix gently into the oil mix, until only just combined. Overmixing once the flour is in there develops the gluten and leads to rubbery cakes.
Carefully fold in the fruit before transferring the mixture to the prepared pan. Bake for about 1hr 15mins until a skewer comes out clean. Then leave in the tin to cool for 30 mins before transferring onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Dust with a light snow of icing sugar before serving.
Personally, I always have problems with 'light snow of icing sugar' - I am too enthusiastic and heavy handed and end up with avalanches in places. But that is better than Mae West, who said "I used to be Snow White, but I drifted"
The whole family is into cooking at the minute [I blame The Hairy Bikers, Hugh, Jamie, Delia and all these Christmas Cookery Specials] Steph is fast becoming the Brussels Sprout Princess, and Bob has just discovered hidden talents for mincemeat - but that is a story for another day!