The icing on the cake

If you were listening to last Sunday‘s show, you’ll have heard Lyndsay Sadler sharing her recipe for a traditional English fruitcake with June and Rosalyn.

Did what she said inspire you to get into the kitchen and make your own Christmas cake this year? If it did, there’s still time – and here’s the full recipe to help you do so.

It’s a great family activity so remember to get the kids involved too and don’t forget that all-important step as you’re stirring the mixture before putting it in the tin…

Close your eyes and make a wish!

Coco's Kitchen's Traditional English Fruitcake

  • Servings: Makes a 20cm cake
  • Print


Ingredients

  • 570g mixed dried fruit
  • 75g glacé cherries, halved
  • 100ml brandy or sherry*
  • 200g butter or margarine
  • 200g soft dark brown sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 200g plain flour (all-purpose flour)
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp grated nutmeg
  • Zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
  • 50g ground almonds*

*Replace the brandy or sherry with cold tea or orange juice for an alcohol-free version – for a nut-free version, replace the ground almonds with a further 50g of flour

Method

  1. The day before you want to make your cake, put all the dried fruit in a bowl, add the brandy or sherry, cover and leave overnight.
  2. Line the inside of a 20cm tin with baking paper and use brown paper or newspaper to wrap around the outside, securing this with string, to protect the edges from the heat of the oven during the two-hour cooking time.
  3. Preheat the oven to 130 degrees.
  4. Beat the butter and sugar together until they look creamy and the butter is slightly lighter in colour. Add the eggs one at a time.
  5. Sift the flour and spices into a separate bowl then tip and slowly fold it into the butter mixture using a metal spoon.
  6. Add the orange and lemon zest and the almonds to the soaked fruits then tip it all into the cake mixture and slowly stir in. Remember to make that wish as you stir!
  7. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and gently smooth the surface. Put some baking paper on the top of the mixture so that it doesn’t brown too much in the oven. Place the cake in the centre of the preheated oven and bake. Remove the paper from the top about 15 minutes before it’s due to be done.
  8. Lightly prod the top of the cake – if it feels very soft and you can still hear a lot of bubbling, it’s not quite cooked. If it looks done and feels firm to the touch and is silent, insert a skewer or sharp knife. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. If it doesn’t, give it another 15 minutes in the oven and then test it again.
  9. Allow the cake to cool completely in the tin before turning out and then you can start feeding it! Prick the surface with a skewer and add a bit more brandy or sherry to it – do this a couple of times a week until you’re ready to add the finishing touches, topping it with marzipan, icing and your choice of Christmas-y decorations.

Let them make cake!

Turning a hobby into a business is always a popular topic on Girls Around Town and if the business in question involves food, so much the better.

Someone who’s done just that is Lyndsay Sadler, who joins June and Rosalyn in the studio this weekend to talk about how she’s now sharing a life-long passion for cooking with the young – and not so young! – in a variety of ways.

In addition to making beautiful celebration cakes and cupcakes, she passes on her skills in the kitchen to children and teenagers by giving them the opportunity to make their own tasty treats. And of course, to enjoy the results of their new-found culinary expertise too…

Lyndsay will be describing her own journey, from spending hours transfixed by the tempting cakes in her mother’s cookery books to studying for a City and Guilds in Advanced Professional Cookery and later living above a boulangerie in Lyon and getting up early to watch the bakers at work.

Now with four children of her own, ranging from one to twelve-years old, when they started growing up she knew she wanted to combine everything she’d learned with a business and so Coco’s Kitchen was born.

“I’ve always loved involving my children in what I’m doing in the kitchen,” she says.  “We cook regularly together and enjoy ourselves enormously in the process. Cooking with your kids is quality family time and the added bonus is you get the wonderful bonding experience of sharing something delicious together at the end.

“Each year, as my own children’s birthdays came around, I looked for new ideas for their parties and then it suddenly occurred to me that, with my experience of both food and children, I should start my own business to cater for this growing market.”

Tune in to 107.8FM or listen online between 10am and 12 noon to find out more about the benefits of getting your kids busy in the kitchen. Lyndsay will also be talking about some of her favourite makes and bakes – luckily for June and Rosalyn’s waistlines, there’ll be no cakes in the studio this Sunday but word is she’ll be whipping up a tasty wintry soup…

Sounds like just the job for a chilly November lunchtime!

Counting down to cake week

bake off

Just a few hours to go until it’s time to get ready, set, bake!

Twelve new contestants will be donning their aprons, rolling up their sleeves and doing their best to impress the judges as The Great British Bake Off 2016 gets underway.

And with the focus on cakes tonight, it’s no surprise that June, Tina and Sue will be joining millions of viewers across the country glued to the TV to find out what this year’s amateur bakers will be facing.

Whose buns will come out on top? Will there be any soggy bottoms? And above all, will there be chocolate?!

Rumour has it that things don’t go too well for some of the contestants, with four of them forced to ditch their cakes and start their recipes from scratch in the showstopper challenge. It sounds as though there may be a few tears and tantrums in the Bake Off tent tonight…

On their own show this Sunday, the Girls Around Town will be turning the spotlight on the phenomenon that is GBBO. They’ll be making some early predictions about favourites for this year’s title and looking at some of the reasons why a massive 15 million viewers tuned in to see Nadiya Hussain take the 2015 title last October. What’s the betting Mr Hollywood features on their list?!

Join them on air or listen online between 10am and 12 noon – and why not take part in the debate by adding your own thoughts and comments to the GAT Facebook page?