Choc Ripple Cake
Place cream, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and beat using an electric beater until stiff.
Spread a little cream onto the base of a serving plate. Spread one biscuit with 1 1/2 teaspoons of cream then sandwich with another biscuit. Top with another 1 1/2 teaspoons of cream then place biscuits on their side onto the serving plate. Repeat until all biscuits have been used and form a log.
Spread remaining cream over log to cover entirely. Cover loosely with foil. Place in the fridge for 6 hours to set.
Just before serving, sprinkle with grated chocolate.
Candy Cane Cupcakes
Peppermint chocolate buttercream
Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 12 x 1/3-cup (80ml) muffin pans with paper cases.
Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour, cocoa powder and milk, in alternating batches. Stir to combine. Divide evenly among paper cases.
Bake for 20-25 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside to cool.
To make the peppermint buttercream, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until very pale. Gradually add the icing sugar and milk, in alternating batches, until well combined. Add the melted chocolate and beat to combine. Add the peppermint essence and beat to combine.
Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a 2cm fluted nozzle. Pipe buttercream over each cupcake. Sprinkle with red or green sprinkles and decorate with mini candy canes.
Christmas Puddini Bonbons
For the bonbons
125 grams best-quality dark chocolate (finely chopped)
350 grams cooked and cooled christmas pudding (see intro)
60 ml pedro ximenez sherry
2 tablespoons golden syrup
For the decoration
100 grams white chocolate (finely chopped)
6 red glace cherries
6 green glace cherries (or 6 short lengths angelica)
- Line a baking sheet that will fit in the fridge with clingfilm, baking parchment, foil or Bake-O-Glide, and set it to one side while you make the bonbons.
- Melt the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl suspended above a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Crumble the cold Christmas pudding into a bowl, add the Pedro Ximénez sherry and golden syrup and stir briskly till all is incorporated.
- Pour in the melted dark chocolate and stir again: this will make the mixture much more cohesive.
- To make this step easier, put on a pair of those disposable vinyl gloves sold in hardware stores and supermarkets, pinch out small lumps of mixture and roll so that you have little rounds about the size of a chocolate truffle. You should get about 30 out of this mixture; fight the impatient urge to make these balls larger as you go.
- Cover with clingfilm and slot into the fridge to firm up.
- To decorate, melt the white chocolate either in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, then let it cool for about 5 minutes, to make it easier to work with, while you chop the red cherries into small pieces (to evoke berries), and snip the green cherries (or angelica) into miniature lengths, to represent leaves.
- Using a teaspoon, drip a little of the melted but slightly cooled white chocolate on each bonbon, then arrange the infuriatingly sticky pieces of cherry on top.
- Place in boxes to give away – if you use small boxes that will fit 6 bonbons each, you will get 5 adorable presents out of this – or on a plate to hand round with coffee, instead of dessert, after a post-Christmas dinner.
MAKE AHEAD TIP: Make the bonbons up to 2 weeks before eating or giving. Pack in boxes and store in a very cool place. If made 2 weeks ahead, add a label to say “keep cool and eat within 1 or 2 days”.
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Gradually blend in the sifted ingredients until fully absorbed. Cover dough, and chill for 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. On a clean floured surface, roll out small portions of chilled dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters.
- Bake 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are barely brown. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.
2 cups packed brown sugar
- In a medium bowl, combine cherries, citrus peel, raisins, currants, dates, and almonds. Stir in brandy, let stand 2 hours, or overnight. Dredge soaked fruit with 1/2 cup flour.
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). Grease an 8x8x3 inch fruit cake pan, line with parchment paper, and grease again. In a small bowl, mix together 2 cups flour, baking soda, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream butter until light. Gradually blend in brown sugar and eggs. Mix together molasses and apple juice. Beat into butter mixture alternately with flour mixture, making 4 dry and 3 liquid additions. Fold in floured fruit. Turn batter into prepared pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean. Remove from pan, and lift off paper. Cool cake completely, then wrap loosely in waxed paper. Store in an airtight container.