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Traditional English Rich Fruit Cake

RICH FRUIT CAKE

This traditional English Rich Fruit Cake recipe makes a rich fruit cake that is perfect for Weddings, Christenings and other Celebrations as well as for the traditional English Christmas Cake. With the rising popularity of traditional styled and Royal Iced cakes fruit cakes are again getting fashionable!

This fruit cake recipe gives a dark moist cake, sweet and fruity. We used this recipe at Party Animal for over 20 years and it never failed to get a good response whether used for Christmas, weddings or any other special occasion.

It is best to bake the cake at least one month and preferably about 3 months before use so that it matures and the flavours develop.

This recipe makes an 8″ square / 9″ round cake approximately 3″ deep.

Ingredients

The fruit Mix

Fruit and Nut mix for Rich Fruit Cake

  • 295g raisins
  • 295g sultanas
  • 280g currants
  • 145g dried apricots
  • 175g glace cherries
  • 100g mixed peel (some people leave this out but as long as it is well soaked
    it adds an extra ‘bite’ to the mix)
  • 100g chopped nuts (I personally use a mix of almond nibs, almond flakes and chopped walnuts)
  • 12ml finely grated lemon rind
  • 35ml fresh lemon juice
  • 60ml brandy or we use what we know as ‘soaking mix’ – 2 parts sherry: 1 part rum: 1 part brandy – a perfect mix for flavour and the alcohol content is unimportant as that will burn off during cooking – that’s why you can use this even for teetotallers!

The Cake Batter Mix

Ingredients for the fruit cake batter

  • 325g dark brown sugar
  • 325g butter
  • 30ml a mix of treacle and golden syrup – I use a 50:50 mix but if you prefer a darker less sweet cake just use treacle
  • 5 medium eggs
  • 20ml (4tspn) mixed spice
  • 70g ground almonds
  • 370g plain flour

Method

Soak the fruit

Chop the apricots and cherries to taste – You can chop finely for a more even dispersion but I like to have some larger pieces of cherry in the mix as I find this give a moister taste to the cake.
Adding Lemon Juice to the Fruit Mix
Add all the dried fruit, cherries and apricots to a bowl along with the lemon juice and rind, chopped nuts, and soaking mix. Mix well and cover or place into a sealed food box.

Leave for at least overnight but preferably for 3-4 days and up to about 1 week is fine. This will allow the fruit to soak up the liquid. Shake or stir occasionally to make sure all the fruit gets soaked thoroughly. This helps with plumping up the fruit for a moist cake finish.The fruit ready to soak

Bake the Cakes

Line a greased tin with a double layer of greaseproof paper or baking parchment and grease well.

Preheat oven to approx 140°C
cake batter for rich fruit cake
Cream together the sugar and butter then add the eggs. Mix in the remaining ingredients including treacle, spice, almonds and flour. Mix until smooth and then stir in the soaked fruit and any juice that is left. I find this is a good time to get clean hands involved! It is much easier to mix evenly using your hands when the fruit is added.
The finished rich fruit cake mix ready to bake
Fill the prepared tins with the rich fruit cake mixture and smooth with a damp spoon. (A good trick to make sure the mix is even is to bang the tins down a few times which should remove any air pockets.) The damp spoon should leave the top damp. This will help the top surface to cook without drying out.

Bake in a preheated oven at approx 140°C. for about 3 - 3½ hours.

Ovens vary greatly so if you find that the cake is beginning to peak or crack turn down the oven and cook for a little longer.

To test - press surface of cake lightly - it should feel firm to the touch. Take out cake and listen to it! If it sings (whistles) it is not quite ready so pop back in for a minute or two.
baked-fruit-cake
Leave to cool in the tin until you can pick up the tin easily without gloves. This gives the cake time to settle and set up a bit. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To Store

Brush the cake surface with some brandy or other spirit. You will need about 60ml. We usually use what we term our 'feeding mix'. This is 2 parts brandy: 1 part rum: 1 part sherry and gives a good flavour to the cakes. Unlike when you are soaking the fruit, you will need to use fruit juice or sugar syrup to feed your cakes for teetotallers as the alcohol remains in the cakes. If you pierce the cake surface with a fine skewer before feeding you will get the feeding mix deeply into the cake.

Cut some greaseproof paper for the top of the cake and then wrap in foil. Finally wrap in Cling Film and store in a cool dry place.

Rich fruit cakes can be stored for up to 6 months before using. From time to time open up and feed with more feeding mixture to add more flavour and keep moist. Do not overdo it or your cakes will be soggy and difficult to decorate.
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Novelty Firework Cake – Bonfire Night

Novelty Firework Cake

Finished_novelty_fireworks_cake

This novelty firework cake is perfect for a bonfire night tea. Shaped as 2 fireworks with ‘exploding’ stars it will make a great centrepiece, and when it is cut each person gets their own little Catherine Wheel cake. You can’t get much more bonfire themed than that!

What you will need

Tools

    • Rolling pins – one for rolling out the paste and a small pin for the decoration
    • Marzipan spacers are useful for making sure your paste is the correct thickness
    • Small and medium circular cutters
    • Sharp knife
    • Baking Parchment for templates
    • Non-Stick board
    • Star Cutters – I used the FMM Star Set
    • Alphabet Cutters – I used the FMM Art Deco Tappit set
    • Shell tool for embossing the board to give a grass effect.

Method – Preparation

Step 1: Bake your cake. You can find the recipe and instructions for baking a Fat-Free Swiss Roll here.
Colour your sugarpaste. You will need approx. 400g Purple, 250g Red, 250g Green and 100g Yellow. Cover your board with the green paste and emboss using the shell tool.

Embossing the cake board
Ideally it is best to do this step the day before so that the paste and cakes set up a little to make it easier to work.

Step 2: Make the stars – This could be done a few days ahead to make sure that they are completely dry but they certainly need to dry overnight at least.

Cut the metallic wires to the variable lengths. Roll out the white Squires SMP thinly on a non-stick board and cut out a variety of stars using the FMM Star Set of cutters. Dip the end of the wire into edible glue and fix each star onto a wire.

Either leave flat to dry or place in oasis or polystyrene to dry. Personally I like to dry them standing because it gives a bit more shape to the stars rather than them being flat although they are delicate at this stage so take care. Leave to set up completely.

Make the stars

When set brush with edible glue and dip in the glitter. I use a piece of parchment paper under them as that way it is possible to tip a lot of glitter onto each star to ensure they are well covered. Any glitter remaining on the paper can then be tipped back into the pot when finished.

Set aside and leave to dry thoroughly.

Method – Covering the Firework cakes

Step 3: Cut the swiss roll into 2. One should be approximately twice as long as the other section. This will make 2 novelty firework cakes. Using parchment paper make a template for your covering.

Mask the cakes thinly with buttercream or ganache and stand on end.

Cut the cakes and make the templates

Step 4: Roll out a small piece of purple paste and cut 2 circles using the larger circle cutter – you should chose a cutter the same size as the cake surface. Place the cut paste on the top end of each cake.

Cover the larger cake with purple paste and the smaller with red paste using the templates as a guide. Leave a small amount standing proud of the top edge.

cut out top circles of paste
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Cut a thin strip of the contrasting coloured paste and tuck into the join, fixing in place with edible glue. This gives a stripe down the back of each firework cake. When you cut the cake into the slices each slice will have a contrasting ‘fuse’.
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With the remaining purple paste roll out thickly and cut 2 circles and fix to the centre of each firework cake top with edible glue. This makes the ‘fuse’ and will be where you will fix your stars so that the wires do not go into the cake.

top_fuse

Method – Finishing Touches

Step 5: On a non-stick board roll out the black Squires SMP to make the labels for the fireworks. It is important that this paste is rolled very thinly. Cut into a strip. Rub a little cornflour under the paste to release it from the board and a little into the top surface with your fingertips to help the letters come out of the cutters easily.

Using the FMM Tapit set select the letter you need and press into the paste. Scrub it a little against the board to ensure it is cleanly cut. Lift out and then tap the end of the cutter firmly against your table top. The letter should drop out cleanly. If it sticks you may have your paste too thick or you may not have dried the top enough with your cornflour. Repeat with the remaining letters until you have all you need.

Roll out a strip of white Squires SMP paste and stick the letters onto this using a little edible glue. Trim to size and then glue the strip to the side of the larger firework cake as shown.

Making the lettering labels

Step 6: Cut out some yellow stars using the FMM star cutters and fix to the side of the smaller cake.

fireworks_with_details

Step 7: Place the cakes carefully on the covered board using a little buttercream or ganache if necessary to stick them in place. You could add a few stars to the board or else add an inscription if you prefer.

Step 8: Finally arrange the stars into the top of each cake. You can also make a few spirals using the metallic wires.
make spirals of wireSimply wrap the wire around a small rolling pin (A Cel Stick is ideal for this). Remove the wire and you will have a spiral ‘spring’. These can be used to fill out the firework topper.

Finished_novelty_fireworks_cake

So there you have your finished Firework cake with glittery stars topper.

To serve the cake cut into slices. You will end up with a plateful of little Catherine wheels thanks to the spiral of the roulade, complete with a little fuse.

Enjoy!

Variations

If you don’t want to bake a swiss roll you can of course get ready made shop ones which you can just decorate. Alternatively you could use your favourite firm cake mix baked in empty washed out cans – I love the Rich Cherry Cake for this – for 4 baked bean cans you will need about a half quantity of cake mix. Unfortunately this will not give you the pretty spirals when cut but tastes delicious!

Take care this November the 5th and enjoy the praise from all for this fabulous Novelty Fireworks Cake!

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Rich Cherry Cake Basic Recipe

Rich Cherry Cake

This Rich Cherry Cake recipe is one of our absolute favourite cakes here at Partyanimalonline. It can be used for celebration cakes as well as novelty cakes or simply as a lovely cake with a cup of afternoon tea! It is a rich madeira style cake with ground almonds and glace cherries, firm enough to shape and cut well, but moist and tasty.

This recipe makes a 8″ round or 7″ square deep cake.

Ingredients

Rich Cherry Cake Ingredients

  • 240g Caster Sugar
  • 240g Margarine or Butter
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 70g Plain Flour
  • 205g Self Raising Flour
  • 60g Cornflour
  • 60g Ground Almonds
  • 325g Glace Cherries

Method

Step 1: Preheat the oven to about 170°c / 325°f/ gas 3. Line a 8″ round (or 7″ square) greased tin with parchment or greaseproof paper. Lightly grease the paper.

Step 2: Sift together the 3 flours in a bowl and set aside. Cream the sugar and butter in a mixer until light and fluffy.

Step 3: Add the eggs slowly. If the rich cherry cake batter begins to curdle (separate and look a little lumpy) add a little of the flour to the mixture. Mix in the ground almonds. The batter should be at a dropping consistency. This when the mix will drop off a spoon when you give it a little shake. If it is too firm a little milk can be added to the mixture. Be careful not to overdo this however as otherwise you may find the cherries do not stay dispersed through the mix but drop to the bottom instead.

Step 4: Cut the cherries roughly in half, wash and dry well. Mix with the flour and then fold into the batter mixture making sure that the cherries are well dispersed.

Rich herry Cake Batter

Step 5: Tip the rich cherry cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for about 1½ hours until risen and golden brown. The cake should not form a peak as it rises but should stay nice and flat. If you find that it is rising too quickly turn down your oven a little. All ovens vary and you may need to adjust temperatures and cooking times to suit your own oven.

Step 6: When cooked place on a wire rack still in the tin until it is just cool enough to pick up without gloves. This will allow time for the cake to firm up before turning out. Do not let it cool completely or it will be difficult to remove from the tin and a thick crust may develop on the outside of the cake from sitting too long in the tin.

Step 7: Leave to cool completely before decorating to suit. This cake is firm enough to cut and shape for novelty cakes.

Variations

You can use other glace fruit such as pineapple or ginger in place of the cherries or if you want to make a light fruit cake dried currants, sultanas and raisins can be added. When using dried fruits it is advisable to soak overnight in orange and or lemon juice to plump up the dried fruit and keep the cake moist.

Fat-Free Swiss Roll Recipe

Fat-Free Swiss Roll

rolled and filled fat-free swiss roll

At Partyanimalonline we have been baking cakes professionally for many a year and we would like to share some of our basic recipes for you to adapt for your own cakes and bakes and today I present to you a fabulous fat-free swiss roll recipe:

This basic swiss roll recipe fills a tin about 35 x 25cm (13″ x 9″). Light and perfect with fruit cream and ganache for cakes and desserts. The finished size depends on your filling and how tightly you roll.

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 100g (4oz) Caster Sugar
  • 100g (4oz) plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml)hot water
  • Caster sugar for dredging

Filling

Jam and Buttercream or ganache

Method

Step 1:Preheat your oven to 220°c(425°f/gas 7).

Grease a swiss roll tin measuring approx. 3 x 9 inches and line with baking parchment or greaseproof paper. Whisk the eggs and sugar until the mix retains the trail for a few seconds. Lightly grease the paper and sprinkle lightly with plain flour. Make sure the flour covers all the surface and then tap out any excess.

Prepared fat-free swiss roll tin
Grease parchment and dust with plain flour

Step 2: Weigh out the caster sugar and place in a bowl with the eggs. Whisk on a fast speed until the mixture is light and creamy. At this point the mixture should be firm enough for a trail to remain on the surface for a few seconds

Whisked swiss roll mixture

Step 3: Sieve the flour and add half to the whisked mixture. Carefully fold in the flour. Add the remaining flour and repeat. Make sure the flour is evenly mixed but do not mix more than necessary to avoid losing the air as the more air in your mixture the lighter your finished cake will be.

folding flour into swiss roll mixture

Step 4: Tip out the mixture into the prepared tin. Tilt the tin to ensure the mixture is spread evenly into all the edges and corners.

Filled tin with fat-free swiss roll mixture

Step 5: Bake in the centre of your preheated oven for 7 – 10 minutes until the mixture is a pale golden brown. It is important not to overbake as this will cause your finished swiss roll to crack.

Baked swill-roll

Step 6: While you are waiting for your swiss roll to bake wet and wring out 2 clean teatowels. Place one flat onto your worktop. Cover with a piece of baking parchment sprinkled with caster sugar. When your cake is baked turn it out onto the paper. Trim any crisp edges with a sharp knife and then cover with the second tea towel and leave to cool for a few minutes. This top tip keeps your cakes pliable and makes it less likely that you will have cracking when you roll up the swiss roll.

Turn out the swiss roll

Step 7: When the swiss roll is cool but not completely cold remove the top tea towel and the backing paper from the cake. Use the underneath paper to roll up the swiss roll. The paper stays in the roll until you are ready to fill it. If just filling with jam you can do that even if the cake is a little warm however if using cream, ganache or buttercream you should leave the cake rolled in the paper until completely cold.

rollup_roll_2

Step 8: As soon as cool enough carefully unroll the swiss roll and remove the parchment. Spread with the filling of your choice and roll back up. Take care not to press too hard as this may cause the cake to crack. Re-roll once filled and then dust with icing sugar if serving as a dessert or simple swiss roll. Alternatively you can cover the cake and use as part of a novelty cake – such as trains, candles, fireworks and much more!

Variations

You can colour or flavour your mixture and fill with a filling of your choice.

  • Try replacing about 1 tablespoon of flour with cocoa powder for a chocolate swiss roll and fill with raspberries and fresh cream for a beautiful chocolate roulade dessert.
  • Or add a few drops of Sugarflair Hollyberry droplet colour and a few drops of Sugarflair Strawberry food flavour to the sponge and fill with strawberry jam and ganache for a pink, girly, fruity swiss roll with a chocolatey twist!

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Cute Farm Yard Cake Tutorial

Cute Farm Yard Cake Tutorial

Cute Farm Yard Cake Tutorial

Cute Farm Yard Cake Tutorial

 

Check out this super Cute Farm Yard Cake Tutorial brought to you by FMM Sugarcraft.

Using the latest cutters from FMM Sugarcraft making a super cute farm yard cake couldn’t be easier. Novelty cakes are always great fun to make!

The new cute animal cutters make it so much easier to put this gorgeous cake design together without all the extra hand cutting hassle!

Cute Farm Yard Cake Tutorial

Here’s what they look like once cut. I would definitely recommend using modelling paste here. Modelling paste is firmer and therefore much easier to release from the cutters than sugarpaste. This is even more imprtant in warmer months when sugarpaste can be very sticky making it hard to handle.

Cute Farm Yard Cake Tutorial

A quick tip to make your own modelling paste is to use 1tsp of Tylo Powder to 250g of sugarpaste, mix well then seal for 6 hours whilst it has time to work. Tylo makes your sugarpaste easier to work with and also allows it to dry firmer.

Here’s a video to show you exactly how to create your fun farm yard cake.

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Colour Flo Cake Idea

Colour Flo Cake Idea

Colour Flo food colours from Rainbow Dust have arrived and we have some inspiration and cake eye candy here for you!colour_flo1

Colour Flo are a new range of concentrated food colours released by Rainbow Dust and we arebringing you this blog to give you some information on this new fab range and a lovely vibrant cake tutorial that has been created using the Rainbow Dust Colour Flo range.

These highly concentrated food colours, suitable for mixing into Royal Icing, Buttercream, pastry, cake mixes etc. The built in drop applicator allows for precision control, making it easy to achieve a wide range of shades one drop at a time with no need for cocktail sticks!

In addition to this, Colour Flo liquids can be used with your Air Brush. Use straight from the bottle and simply flush through with water or vodka when finished.

Colour Flo Liquid Food Colours

Usage: For each 1kg of cake, you should use no more than 4ml of colour. This is to keep within the EU guidelines when decorating cakes.
Colour Flo Liquid Colours

Flower Cake Quick Tutorial

Create stunning colours when using Turquoise & Spring Green Colour Flo with royal icing.

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To make the flower decorations, we traced flower patterns onto a sheet of greaseproof paper, then piped over the pattern using a No 3 plain piping tube. Leave to dry overnight before securing onto your cake with Edible Glue. Simples!

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A lovely range that is so versatile! Why not try this lovely cake design out too.

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Edible Stripy Bow Tutorial

Edible Stripy Bow Tutorial by Shereens Cakes and Bakes.

I had to share this simple yet incredibly creative Edible Stripy Bow Tutorial by our lovely guest blogger Shereen. For more of Shereens awesome tutorials visit her Facebook Page.

stripy_bow1

What you will need:

  • Sharp Knife
  • Rolling Pin
  • 2 colours of your choice modelling paste (250g sugar paste mixedw ith 1 tsp gum tragacanth, leave overnight in a bag to settle) or you can use just sugar paste, I prefer modelling paste.

Also try switching up the colours depending on the occasion, a red and white striped bow would look fab for Christmas!

stripy_bow2

Roll your colours into a sausage shape and then flatten/stretch a bit with your rolling pin about 5mm thick, can be thicker if you like, these were about 10cm long and 3cm wide, the wider and longer the bigger the bow – tip, try and work fast with your sugarpaste or modelling paste so it stays ‘warm’ and a little tacky so it sticks together and you don’t need glue.

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Start layering 1 colour at a time.

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Your stack of icing – make however many stripes you want and press down a little on it to make it all stick together.

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Using your sharp knife, trim the edges, you can see the icing is pretty well stuck, if your icing is too dry this won’t work too well

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Cut strips from your block, these should be about 5mm thick.

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Roll it out with your rolling pin and trim the edges.

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Bring your edges in and fold and pinch them in the middle and stick down trim off the excess between the bow to give you the bow shape.

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Add some more stripy icing to the middle and glue it on – set aside to dry. This was a smallish bow so I didn’t need to add anything into the bows to get the shape. If your bow is bigger, just use some bubble wrap, kitchen paper towel or rolled cling film to place inside the bow to shape it.

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To make the ribbons roll out more icing and cut in the middle and cut each edge at an angle.

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Fold and pinch the straight sides.

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Use some glue to layer and stick them on as pictured.

Edible Stripy Bow Tutorial

Add your bow to the middle and voilà you have a VERY big stripy bow with ribbons.

I love this Edible Stripy Bow Tutorial, a big thanks to Shereen for sharing this with us. We hope you enjoy giving it a go as much as we did!!