supergolden bakes

Friday, 27 November 2015

Festive Cranberry, Orange and Walnut Layer Cake

Festive Cranberry Orange and Walnut Layer Cake

Okay I give up. I am in full Christmas holiday mode and I just can't hide it any longer! It's been a couple of weeks of working on festive recipes, pinning ideas on Pinterest and trying to decipher my kids' Santa list (which might as well be written in another language – no idea what half the toys they want even are). So instead of sensibly saying "it is still November" I have embraced the whole shebang and put twinkly lights in the living room, festive candles on the mantle and even some Christmas tunes on the playlist. Whether this means I have peaked too soon and will be wanting to run an hide in December remains to be seen...

I had some leftover fresh cranberries from making cranberry sauce earlier this month and so this Festive Cranberry, Orange and Walnut Layer Cake idea was born. I wanted this to be the blog's anniversary recipe (Supergolden Bakes turns 3 on December 1st! ) but when I decorated the cake today everything went slightly pear shaped. So I decided to post the recipe now and make something else special for the blog's birthday. Maybe something other than a cake for once. Any ideas or requests, leave a comment below : )

Festive Cranberry Orange and Walnut Layer Cake
Festive Cranberry, Orange and Walnut Layer Cake

This cake is small (baked in 15cm/6in tins) but really tall. You can bake in larger tins – the layers will be slightly thinner. The frosted cranberries are simply gorgeous and so festive but just there for decoration - they are too tart to eat so make sure you remove them before serving the cake (to children especially - they think it's candy). Instead of the cranberries you could use caramelised orange or clementine slices which are equally pretty and actually edible. Or a combination of the two!

Festive Cranberry Orange and Walnut Layer Cake
Makes 3x15cm | 6in cakes
Dry ingredients
330g | 12.6oz plain flour
330g | 11.6oz caster sugar
60 | 2oz walnuts, ground to a powder
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch ground cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs
200g | 7oz cold unsalted butter, cubed
200ml | 7fl oz whole milk + 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
140g | 10oz fresh cranberries, halved if big + 1 tbsp flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 orange

For the frosting
300g | 10.5oz full fat mascarpone 
300g | 7oz whipping cream
200g | 7oz icing (powdered) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
about 1/2 jar cranberry sauce to fill 
handful fresh cranberries to decorate
1 tbsp egg white 1tsp sugar 
granulated sugar to frost the cranberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease and line your cake tins. Dust with flour.
  2. Grind the walnuts to a fine powder in a food processor or blender. 
  3. Add all the dry ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to combine.
  4. Add the cubed butter and mix for a couple of minutes until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  5. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. Gradually add the milk, vanilla extract and orange zest and beat together on low speed. Once the milk has been incorporated, increase the speed and mix together for a few minutes, stopping the mixer and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  7. Toss the cranberries in the flour to coat, then fold into the batter. 
  8. Divide the batter between the prepared tins and level. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean and the tops are firm and springy. Cool completely before frosting. You may need to level the layers before assembling the cake.
  9. Whip the mascarpone, vanilla and icing sugar on low speed until combined. Increase the speed and beat together until smooth. Gradually add the cream and whip until the frosting is smooth and you have firm peaks. Take care not to over whip. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a plain round tip.
  10. Pipe a ring of frosting around the rim of the bottom layer and fill the centre with cranberry sauce. Top with the second layer and repeat. Add the final layer.
  11. Smooth some frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Leave some of the cake showing through to achieve the 'naked' cake look, or do a crumb coat then chill the cake, then add another layer of frosting and smooth over the cake.
  12. Use a fork to whisk 1 tbsp egg white with 1 tsp of sugar until frothy. Brush over the fresh cranberries and leave to dry slightly. Sprinkle with granulated sugar to achieve the 'frosted' look. Arrange over the top of the cake (do not eat!).
Linking with this month's Christmas cake club over at Kerry Cooks. 
Festive Cranberry Orange and Walnut Layer Cake
Festive Cranberry Orange and Walnut Layer Cake

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Marley Spoon Review and Giveaway

Marley Spoon Review and Giveaway

The proliferation of the 'recipe kit' companies that have flooded the UK recently makes me think that they must have found a real gap in the market. Marley Spoon, which I had the chance to test out recently, offer the usual convenience that is part and parcel of recipe box delivery services but with a difference – they have a new family plan. The plan offers 5 different recipes to choose from weekly, all very easy to prepare and tailored to suit families with even fussy children (ahem, Sam). You can choose how many meals you want delivered per week and the price per meal ranges from £6 for 2 to a very reasonable £4.35 if you choose 4.

The family recipes I chose to test were pork and sticky apple with spinach and mash and baked meatballs in tomato sauce with orzo. The delivery arrived very promptly – two big brown bags containing the all the ingredients required for each recipe (apart from an egg and staples like salt and pepper) carefully measured out and labelled. I love that all the packaging is recyclable and the (reusable) wool insulated cool bag is pretty genius – everything arrived perfectly fresh.

Marley Spoon Review and Giveaway

Cooking the recipes is very, very simple. They come with cards which break the method down into illustrated steps and there's even a hotline number supplied should you get stuck. Makes me think this would be perfect for teenagers to wet their feet in the kitchen and ideal for students sharing a flat! What about the food though? Well, I have to admit I wasn't the biggest fan of the pork with sticky apple – possibly due to the flavour combination when eaten with creamed spinach. The baked meatballs were a big hit though – even the children ate them without any fussing and that is worth its weight in gold. What's more, they were ready in 40 minutes including prep time, which meant I was able to make and serve them quickly on a weekday after arriving home late.

Marley Spoon Review and Giveaway

What impressed me most about Marley Spoon was the quality of the ingredients – the beef mince and pork steaks were flavourful and very fresh, miles better than what you would get pre-packed at a supermarket. The recipes where slightly too simplistic for me, but they were aimed to please children as well as adults and in that respect they succeeded admirably. Since Marley Spoon offers you the flexibility to choose as many recipes as you like or skip some weeks it would be a good option for busy families with little time to shop. It definitely cuts down on food waste too since you use everything supplied – another big plus. I don't think recipe boxes are really 'me' though, I love experimenting with food and making up my own recipes – even grocery shopping – too much.

What do you think of recipe box delivery services? Sound off below and enter the Marley Spoon giveaway for a chance to try the service for yourselves. Can't wait for the giveaway to end? Use discount code supergolden20 to enjoy 20% off (expires at the end of January).

Win a Marley Box Family Box (includes 3 meals)