Have you heard the news? Yesterday I was Freshly Pressed! Yes I was! I am now the proud owner of the sparkly blue badge. I got the email last week informing me that it was going to happen and I’ve been like a kid waiting for Christmas ever since. Every day I checked the Freshly Pressed carousel to see if my post had appeared even though I had been told that I would know when it was live because I would get the tweet, but, you know, what if my Twitter email notifications suddenly stopped working? What if Twitter inexplicably went down? What if I missed it? I’d been checking my widget page every day too, just to see if the widget that gives me the sparkly blue badge was there. Because I didn’t want to miss that either.
Anyway, now it has happened, so the craziness can stop. Although you could say it has only just started!
Back to the festivities. I’m starting to feel slightly more organised than I was. Friday I got the sewing machine out and finally made the mini place-mats and Christmas bunting – the fabric for which had been tormenting me for weeks (“make me, make me, make me“). Saturday I baked and Sunday I spent at least a good three hours ruining my eyesight by staring at the computer screen whilst I trawled my way through Etsy, Amazon, Notonthehighstreet etc. etc. But apart from a couple more stocking fillers, I am done with the shopping *relieved sigh*
As this is the last full week before the big event, it’s time we got even more Christmas-sy here at the bakery. And what better way to start than with the last installment (for now anyway) of the mini bundt cake series.
These little cakes have a dense, moist texture and are somewhere between a chocolate cake and a gingerbread (are you chocolate or are you gingerbread? Each mouthful will keep you guessing). And if you don’t have mini bundt pans, never fear, because you can make them into cupcakes instead! Win win.
I also thought it would be nice to show you three different ways to decorate them – depending on how much time you have / how creative you are feeling.
They all start with some royal icing. For ages I was a little . . . fearful . . . of royal icing. There had been experiences of icing so hard it was impossible to cut and broke the knife let alone anyone’s teeth. Then there is the whole – at no time let it stand for a second. Never, ever, never leave it alone or it will set like cement and you will have to throw the bowl way because there is abso-posso-lutely no way that stuff is going to come off! Such a warning can’t help but strike panic into even the most unflappable person. But you know what? It’s nowhere near as bad as that. Even if is does start going a bit hard in the bowl, it’s basically only sugar and water. It’s nothing that a long soak in some boiling water won’t rectify. But maybe don’t make it in your best bowl. Just in case . . .
I used a boxed royal icing sugar which already has the egg white in it so you treat it the same as icing sugar by adding water until you have the desired consistency. This also means you can make as much as you need rather than having a large vat of it that makes you wonder if you can fill in the cracks in the walls with it, because you have so much left over (would it then make them lick-able like in Willy Wonka?) But if you would rather make your own from scratch, that’s fine with me. If you’re looking for a recipe, then Bridget (the cookie decorating Queen) over at Bake@350 has one.
For those of you familiar with decorating cookies, the consistency you are looking for is that of flooding icing. For those of you who are not, you are looking for a consistency that will drip a little but not so runny it will slip off the cakes in the blink of an eye. You should be able to leave a trail on top of the icing that will disappear by the count of 4. This will dry but is still soft enough to yield when bitten and not break anyone’s teeth.
So now you’ve got your icing, it’s time to get a-decorating.
First up is the simple yet effective option – sprinkles.
I found these festive coloured tiny round ones, but at this time of year there are plenty to choose from – some are even shaped as teeny tiny gingerbread men! Drizzle your icing, sprinkle your sprinkles and voila!
Next we have a more traditional look – holly leaves and berries made from fondant icing. I coloured some white fondant icing using food colouring but you can buy it already coloured, which can save you a little bit of time and prevents your hands looking as if you have murdered someone (I find that mixing it in a plastic sandwich bag also prevents this). Roll the red into little berry balls and use a holly leaf cutter on the green.
Finally – the frivolous festive option! Dig out the plastic ornaments and decorate to your heart’s content. I had three trees, two deer and a largely out of proportion robin. However even I decided that was too much for one little cake, so I only used the trees and one deer.
Mini Christmas Bundt Cakes
Makes 3 mini cakes (with a smidgen left over. Cook’s perks)
- 75g gluten-free self-raising flour (or if using plain flour add 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda). I use Dove’s Farm which already has xanthan gum in it. Add 1/4 tsp if your flour does not.
- 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
- Pinch of salt
- 34ml rapeseed oil (or 50g butter, melted)
- 60g soft dark brown sugar
- 20g runny honey
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp sour cream
- 62ml boiling water
- 37g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
- Royal icing to decorate
- Small amount of cocoa powder to dust the pans with
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 celsius / 180 fan / 400 fahrenheit. Prepare the mini bundt pans by greasing with butter and dusting with cocoa powder.
- Mix the oil (or melted butter), sugar, honey and egg together. Add the flour, ground mixed spice and salt and mix. Then add the sour cream and stir until combined.
- Put the water and chocolate in a pan and heat gently until the chocolate has melted. Carefully pour into the cake batter, stirring as you do so until it is all combined. The mixture will be runny.
- Pour into the prepared pans (transferring it into a jug to make it easier if you wish).
- Bake for 20 minutes until cooked through but still a little dense and damp.
- Cool for 5 minutes in the pans then tip out onto a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Christmas Cupcakes (How To Be A Domestic Goddess)
Just in case you missed the other two installments: