Boozy cake with gin-infused fruit, sliced

Boozy Fruit Cake | Gin-infused fruit cake

This cake came about as a flash of inspiration after I’d made some festive gin liqueurs and didn’t want to waste the delicious fruit. It’s quick & easy to make, and if you haven’t made gin liqueur to give you the boozy fruit, simply soak the apples in your favourite tipple instead (see suggestion below), and use the mincemeat straight out of the jar 🙂

Boozy cake with gin-infused fruit, sliced

Ingredients

  • 115g self-raising flour
  • 100g butter (I like using salted butter, but you can use unsalted if you prefer)
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • all the fruit from the mincemeat gin liqueur and toffee apple gin liqueur, after you have sieved all the gin into bottles and squeezed out as much from the fruit as you can, plus the rest of the open jar of mincemeat that you didn’t use for the gin

If you haven’t made festive gin liqueur, you can soak the fruit in any alcohol of your choice. I have done this with Rum as follows:

Place approximately 80g of dried apple rings, 2 sweet red apples (peeled, cored and cut into segments) and a full 400g jar of mincemeat into a large glass bowl, add a couple of generous tablespoons of clear honey, cover with dark Rum and stir. Cover and leave to stand for 2 days, stirring from time to time. Then sieve the liquid into a sterilised bottle (the Rum liqueur is delicious!), squeezing any excess Rum out of the fruit. Roughly chop the fruit and use for the cake.

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan).

Whisk the butter and golden caster sugar until they become light and creamy, then gradually add the eggs, continuing to whisk as you do so. Add a little flour with the last of the eggs to avoid the mixture splitting, then fold in the rest of the flour.

Add the boozy fruit, stirring the thick mixture well, to ensure the fruit is evenly distributed.

Place the mixture into a greased 2lb loaf tin and place into the pre-heated oven for about 65 minutes (check that a wooden skewer comes out almost completely dry before taking the cake out of the oven).

Leave the cake to cool almost completely in the tin before turning it out onto a cooling rack, to avoid it falling apart.

Boozy cake with gin-infused fruit, sliced

This cake will keep for a few days, wrapped in clingfilm and tin foil – if you can keep your hands off it long enough!!!

Boozy gin-infused fruit cake – Gloriously simple, gloriously good!

Nut, chia seed and raisin bars

Nut, chia seed and raisin bars

With the Covid-19 crisis affecting our shopping habits and availability of ingredients, I found that the various nut bars I often relied on for breakfast or a quick mid-afternoon snack were not always available in the shops.

I therefore decided to have a go at making my own. I have made these a few times now and they’re a big hit with the whole family, including hubby who doesn’t usually like eating nut bars.

Please note you can use whichever nuts you like – I love cashew nuts and started making them with just those, but they are very expensive (I had a look at the price of bulk bags of pistachios and they were even worse, so I’ll stear clear of those…shame, as I love pistachios!), so now I mix cashews and peanuts and the bars are equally delicious.

Nut, chia seed and raisin bars (makes approx. 14-16 bars)

  • 600g unsalted, unroasted nuts (I use blanched peanuts and raw cashew nuts, which I buy in bulk 1kg bags, but you can use whichever nuts take your fancy!)
  • 50g raisins
  • 70g chia seeds
  • 150g white chocolate (I use Callebaut white chocolate callets as they melt really well in the microwave, but any good quality chocolate that withstands melting and chilling well will work. I buy these in bulk… my latest purchase was a 2.5kg bag, which is dangerous in a house full of chocoholics!)
  • A generous sprinkling of fine sea salt

How to make nut, chia seed and raisin bars

Line a deep baking tray / cake pan with greaseproof paper (mine is 32cm long, 21cm wide and 5cm high, but use whatever you have available as long as it allows for a suitable depth for nut bars). I find it helps to grease the pan with butter or margarine to allow the paper to stick to it and stay flat and in place.

Heat up a large non-stick frying pan on a high heat, then add the cashew nuts and peanuts (or other nuts of your choice). As they start warming up, stir them frequently and as an oily sheen starts to appear, sprinkle them liberally with fine sea salt. Continue to stir frequently as they start to roast. I like the uneven roasting of doing this in a pan, where some are blackened in some parts and lightly golden in others, but it is a matter of personal preference / taste. For a more even roasting, you may wish to do this part in the oven.

While the nuts are roasting, melt the chocolate in the microwave (with the Callebaut chocolate I use, it takes about 2 minutes on high, stirring halfway through – different chocolate may behave differently though and to be on the safe side, you may want to do this more gently in a bain marie, with a bowl over a pan of hot water, letting the steam do the job).

Transfer nuts, raisins and chia seeds into a large mixing bowl and add the melted chocolate, stirring to make sure all the ingredients are well mixed, then transfer into your lined baking tray while still warm. Spread the mix out as evenly as possible and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours or overnight.

Once the giant nut bar is well chilled and solid, take it out of the tray, remove the greaseproof paper and place it on a large chopping board. Using a large knife or cleaver, cut it into 14-16 nut bars. Some small pieces will simply break off, but that’s ok – don’t waste them. Stick them in a bowl and eat them as a snack 🙂

  • Nut, chia seed and raisin bars

Nut, chia seed and raisin bars – Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good!

Low Fat Lemon Sponge Cake with Lemon Icing | Low Fat Recipe | Reflux Recipe

A lemon cake that is reflux-friendly

and, as all reflux-friendly recipes, very low in fat!

This is a very indulgent (it’s low in fat, but packed with sugar, so not for every day!) cake that allows even reflux* sufferers to enjoy delicious cake without fear of nasty after-effects.

How is it possible to enjoy a reflux-friendly recipe containing lemon, I hear you ask…

That’s because all we’re using in this recipe is lemon rind, no juice, so you get the WOW-factor of the zesty lemon flavour, without any of the nasty acid.

Lemon Sponge Cake with Lemon Icing | Low Fat Cake | Reflux-friendly cake | Reflux Recipe | Low Fat Recipe

This is only a slight variation on the basic ‘Three Ingredient Low-Fat Sponge Cake‘ and still just as easy to make.

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs
  • 150g light brown soft sugar
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 540g Philadelphia ‘Lightest’ cream cheese (or any 3% fat cream cheese)
  • 300g icing sugar
  • Finely-grated zest of two lemons

Equipment

  • 20cm (8in) loose base non-stick round cake tin
  • Greaseproof paper, cut to a circle to fit in the base of the cake tin
  • Electric whisk
  • A drop of vegetable oil to grease the base of the tin before laying on the greaseproof paper, and to then very lightly grease the greaseproof paper before pouring in the cake mix

Method

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until the mixture more than doubles in size and becomes quite thick.  This will take quite a few minutes.   A good test is to make a dent or line on the surface with your finger or a spoon and see whether the shape holds.  Just before it gets that thick, add in the very finely-grated zest of one lemon (you will need the second one for the icing) and keep whisking.  Once it briefly holds its shape when you make a dent in the surface, it is ready for the next step.

Sift the flour and fold it carefully into the egg, sugar and lemon mixture, taking great care to be gentle and not lose the air you have whisked into the eggs.

Having prepared your cake tin as described under ‘equipment’, above, pour in the mixture and place the cake tin into a pre-heated oven at 170°C (fan) and leave it in for 25 minutes.  Test with a cake skewer or wooden toothpick before removing it from the oven to ensure the cake is cooked (the skewer/toothpick should come away dry).

Take it out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin for a little while before carefully removing from the tin and leaving to cool completely on a cooling rack if you have one.  The cake often sags a little in the middle – this is perfectly normal and won’t affect the taste or texture.

Once the cake has completely cooled, prepare the icing: Place the cream cheese, very finely-grated zest of the second lemon and half of the icing sugar in a large bowl.  Using the electric whisk on the lowest setting at first, start combining the ingredients.  Be careful as icing sugar tends to go everywhere!  Once the ingredients are amalgamated, add the rest of the icing sugar and, again, start on a low setting until the ingredients are combined, then turn up to maximum speed and whisk for about half a minute.

Carefully cut the cake in half so you have a top and bottom half.

Spread approximately half of the icing onto the bottom half, then replace the top over it and finish off by spreading the remaining icing over the top.

The icing will be quite runny at this point, so get the cake into the fridge as quickly as possible and, ideally, refrigerate overnight to allow the icing to go more solid.

Tip: Once you have cut into the cake, make sure you cover it with clingfilm to ensure it doesn’t dry out, before returning it to the fridge – that’s assuming there is any left!!

Gloriously simple, gloriously indulgent, gloriously good!

*Please note I am not a doctor, speech therapist or in any way medically qualified.  The recipes are a combination of my interpretation of the rules outlined in the ‘Dropping Acid – The Reflux Diet’ book and ingredients that work for my reflux.  If you believe you suffer from reflux, please seek advice from a medical professional to confirm your diagnosis and work out the best course of treatment/management for you.  I hope that my recipes can help you as part of this management.  The recipes are, by their nature, very low in fat, so are also suitable for anyone wishing to follow a low-fat diet.