Banana Breakfast Muffins

The boys weren’t eating well last week thanks to the teething demons and so I had a glut of bananas. I decided to make some banana breakfast muffins to use them up. They are are so quick and easy and are perfect for a weekend brekkie.  


Wet ingredients:

50g butter, melted
50g peanut butter, melted
2 medium eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125ml milk
2 large ripe bananas, mashed

Dry ingredients:

250g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 pinch salt
115g caster sugar

Topping:

Pine nuts, to decorate

Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 190 Degrees Celsius

2. Place muffin cases in a 12 hole muffin try

3. Prepare all of the wet ingredients and mix together in one bowl

4. Sift the flour and mix all the dry ingredient in another bowl

5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients

6. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases

7. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with pine nuts

8. Pop in the oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden

Perfect served with a steaming mug of coffee.

If you enjoyed this / found it useful, please share this post and maybe even tweet me and let me know! You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.


I’m linking up with  #MarvMondays

Our Winter Wedding

Two years ago today, I said ‘I will.’

Not in fact ‘I do.’

It was a fantastic day. We celebrated our love and commitment with our best friends and family. The atmosphere was relaxed and being 3 days after Christmas, everyone was in the mood for a party.

Six months after we tied the knot, we headed off on a fabulous honeymoon to Singapore and Thailand and once we got home, we  discovered  I was expecting a baby. Then five months later we found out we were actually expecting two babies! It’s been a year with the highest highs and the lowest lows. The twins battled TTTS, spent months in neonatal and Harry underwent open heart surgery when he was 3 months old, weighing only 4lbs. Bringing them both home was fabulous and it’s been crazy, wonderful, tiring chaos since then!

So with all the craziness, two years later and we still haven’t got a wedding album put together or any of our wedding photos printed and framed!

So, if no-where else right now, here’s a little collection of my favourite snaps from a beautiful day.

Happy Anniversary Mr C.

S&S 247

Our winter wedding Our winter wedding Our winter wedding Our winter Wedding Our winter wedding

Christmas – The Baby Edit

It’s 10 days until the Big Day. We’re slap bang in the midst of the hustle and bustle that is the run up to Christmas. And I love it!

Normally at this point I would have:

• been to the Christmas Market for Gluhwein and Bratwurst at least 8 times

• inspected a minimum of 25 Christmas trees before finding the perfect shape

• consumed an eye watering amount of heroes / celebrations / quality street in the seemingly unending office stash

• been to a few carol services and as a result been humming Christmas carols pretty much constantly

• danced like an eejit in the middle of the afternoon at the office Christmas Party. Lunchtime bubbles are not my friend

• written Christmas cards to everyone I know

• bought a few new Christmas clothes for all the Yuletide socialising

• rushed round the city centre shops like a woman possessed buying all my presents in my lunch hours

• enjoyed too many evenings where after-work Christmas drinks turned into dinner, dancing and trying to drag myself into work the next morning

This year has been somewhat different to say the least. Its our first Christmas with the twins. They are now almost 11 months old and an absolute delight. My run up to Christmas as a newish Mum has looked more like this:

• Pure delight when the twins learned how to clap along to Jingle Bells! Cue social media update that no-one (save their Daddy) is in anyway interested in!

• The silly Christmas jumper and old jeans has replaced the new LBD as de rigueur

• Getting very excited about the mums and tots Christmas Party. It’s the pinnacle of my social life these days! And then missing it because the babies were sick

• Looking after two babies who have been very sick with bronchiolitis and enjoying lots of sleepy cuddles by the fire

• Making mince pies at 730am in between twin bottles and breakfast!

• Realising that I have absolutely no time to buy Christmas presents and vowing that next year, I will have them all bought and wrapped in September!

• Sleepless nights are as a result of teething twins and not partying!

• Dressing the boys in the most gorgeous Christmas suits as soon as it hit December. They are super cute..


• Reading lots of ‘elf on the shelf’ blog posts and looking forward to joining in the fun when the boys are old enough!

• Making my first ever Christmas Cake and continuing the age-old tradition where each member of the family stirs the cake and makes a secret wish. I can’t confirm if the cake has magical powers just yet…

• Ditched Christmas Card writing. Something’s gotta go and this is it

• Finding lovely little gifts for the boys and looking forward to reading them their new books!

• Recording ‘Carols at Kings’ in the knowledge that actually making it to the Church Carol Service is slim

• Looking forward to a couple of days at my Mum’s over Christmas and lots more arms to help out with the boys! The joys of a large family…

• Buying my first ever copy of the Christmas Radio Times to see what TV delights are in store for us!

The biggest change is realising that all I really want for Christmas, I already have.

If you enjoyed this / found it useful, please share this post and maybe even tweet me and let me know! You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

I’m linking up with  #MarvMondays and #TheList

The List
Review of the Uppababy Vista 2015

Twin Mum Review of the Uppababy Vista 2015

As soon as I found out that I was pregnant with twins (at 21 weeks!) I spent a lot of time researching the best twin pram on the market. There’s not a huge choice of prams that are suitable for twins so the search was narrowed down pretty quickly to:

• UppaBaby Vista 2015
• iCandy Peach Twin
• Bugaboo Donkey Twin
• BabyJogger City Mini Double
• Out and About Nipper Double

The first decision was whether to buy a ‘side by side’ or an ‘in-line’ pram. I tried out the 3 ‘side by side’ prams in-store and read lots of online reviews. I quickly decided that they were just too bulky and unmanageable. None of them would have fitted through our front door whilst assembled and we would have trouble getting around any of our local shops. That meant our choice was down to the Uppababy Vista or the iCandy Peach. Both of which are very popular prams for singleton babies but also have the ability to convert into a twin.

At the outset, the Uppababy Vista probably had a slight advantage as I had heard so many first hand positive views on this pram from friends and family that had bought one. When I thought I was only expecting one baby, I was definitely intending on buying it! So when I found out we were expecting twins (at 20 weeks!) I was really pleased to learn that Uppababy were releasing the new Vista in early 2015 which could be configured for twins.

I tried both prams out and I really loved them both, both looked fantastic and were nice to push, with really comfy looking carrycots and seats. It was a hard decision but I opted for the Uppababy Vista in the end, mainly for its comparative ease to put up and down.

  
 

Best Features of the Uppababy Vista 2015

After 10 months of use, I absolutely love this pram. Here’s some of the reasons why:
• The carrycots were fantastic when the babies were small. They napped in them all day and because of the breathable base, they could even sleep in them overnight if we went away.

  
• The inner lining of the carrycot is soft and cosy. Most importantly, it’s fully washable. The entire lining of the carrycot can be removed for washing. We had two refluxy babies that vomited a lot so this was very useful. They washed up really well each time and it was fairly straightforward to put the lining back in.

• The carrycots are larger than normal and the babies were in the cots until they were about 6 months old.

• The rain-covers for the carrycots are really easy to pop on and off and there are two handy pouches in the basket where you can store them.

• Really comfortable to push. I walk about 3 miles a day with the boys and have always found the Uppababy vista very comfortable to push. The wheels are very sturdy and easy to manoeuvre.

• Large basket for picking up daily essentials. The basket space is restricted by the second carrycot/seat but it’s still larger than most prams.

• My husband is very tall (6’5) so the extendable handle was a big selling point. It extends with one simple click and makes pushing the pram very comfortable for him too.

• Easy to manoeuvre around our local shops and coffee houses. I can even manage to get a twin pram on and off the bus when I want to ditch the car!

• The twins are now in the pram seats and they love them. The straps are easy to use and the seats are nice and deep.

  
The pram seats are so easy to change position – you can do it with one hand. They fully recline when you want your baby to sleep.

• The brake on the pram is very easy to operate, it’s even flip flop friendly!

• The car-seat adaptors are very useful indeed for short trips when you don’t went to haul two carrycots with you!

• After 10 months of heavy use, it still looks brand new with the exception of a few small scratches.

Niggles of the Uppababy Vista 2015
My one and only small gripe is that I don’t like the rain–covers for the pram seats. They go on and off easily but they are not great quality. Just a little too flimsy. My twins like to poke their fingers through the air holes in the rain-cover and I don’t think it’ll be long before there is a tear in the cover. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the pram which is evidently built to last with a sturdy frame and parts.

Uppababy Vista 2015 – Should you buy it?

Buying a twin pram is a big decision, requiring serious expenditure so make sure you know what features you want before you commit! After 10 months of constant use, I would whole heartedly recommend the UppaBaby Vista. I love it and am absolutely convinced I made the right purchase.

**Please note, I have not been asked to provide a review of the UppaBaby vista and I purchased this pram myself. All views are my own.**

If you enjoyed this / found it useful, please share this post and maybe even tweet me and let me know! You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

  

We're going on an adventure

12 Reasons Not to Bring Your Baby to a Wedding

Last weekend we played a game of babies vs. wedding.

It wasn’t a fun game.

And the babies definitely won.

This was our second attempt at wedding frivolity with the twins in toe. The first was semi successful. There were no major screaming/vomit/poo related incidents. But did we enjoy it? Not so much.

We did a lot of pre-wedding preparation, we packed a car very very full of stuff, we rushed to get bottle feeds and spoon feeds fitted in between the ceremony, the meal, the speeches etc. It was a lot of work. And there wasn’t much pay-off.

I was determined that this wedding would be fun.

My cousin was getting married and I’d been looking forward to the wedding for ages. It was in the most gorgeous location, all my family were going and we were all staying over. The ceremony was beautiful (I left the boys with their Daddy for this part), the bride was stunning, the venue was charming and the speeches were witty.

But for us, the wedding was a lesson in how our lives had changed irrevocably. Weddings will never be the same again!

Here’s 12 reasons you should never bring your baby / twin babies to a wedding:

1. Fantasies of fairy-tale days out with beautifully dressed babies that smile and coo all day are just that. Fantasy.

2. Every second of the ceremony will be spent on high alert. Waiting to grab the baby bag and run out as soon as the baby makes the slightest noise. If you don’t, you’ll get disapproving looks all day from at least 5 guests…

3. You will end up with vomit / snot / poo (delete as appropriate) on your favourite dress.

4. You won’t actually get that catch up with your long lost university friends. If you do, it’ll not be like the old days over a nice bottle of wine. It’ll be 2 minutes snatched here and there between bottle feeds / nappy changes / spoon feeds etc.etc.

5. The military planning required to get you all to the wedding on time, in clean clothes and with enough supplies for the day requires serious forethought, time and mental energy.

6. Unless you’ve booked to stay over, you can expect a heated debate / row with your other half about who’s driving home. If you’ve booked a room, add another day to the planning of the excursion!

7. Wedding venues do not provide baby entertainment. A day without a play gym, jumperoo and a baby walker = a very long day indeed.

8. Babies do not like schedules that are not built around their needs. Weddings are all about the schedule. You’ll spend the day trying to fit all the baby stuff around the ceremony, drinks reception, meal, reception, speeches, first dance etc.etc.

9. If you are not the designated driver, expect to lapse into baby babble and/or an attack of the yawns after a few sips of champagne!

10. You will get indigestion. As you try and shovel the lovely meal down as quickly as is humanly possible so you can pick the baby up so they stop disturbing the peace!

11. You will be the couple that you used to write off as party poopers. As you try (unsuccessfully) to slip out of the party at 9pm, when everyone else is just about to hit the dance floor!

12. You’ll feel really guilty when you get home and realise you hard about 100 photos from the wedding, all of which feature the babies looking cute; none of which feature a bride or groom.

I have learnt two main lessons from our babes at wedding experiences:

One: avoid bringing babies to weddings at all costs. My best friend is getting married in a few weeks time and Granny and Granda are well and truly booked In to babysit!

Two: social media is a liar. A big fat liar. Here’s some of the photos that Mr C posted on Facebook. He managed to capture some of the few moments that the boys were relaxed, happy and not vomiting. So everyone now thinks we are the model family, with model babies. Until they read this post.


I’m linking up with  #MarvMondays and #coolmumclub

Mummuddlingthrough

Zesty Lime and Coconut Drizzle Cake

I love a traditional lemon drizzle cake but this weekend I had a few limes that needed to be used up so I thought I’d try something a bit different. I decided to try a lime and coconut drizzle cake, using a recipe I spotted on the Sainsbury’s online magazine. The addition of coconut to the cake batter really appealed to me. I thought the sweet, creaminess of the coconut would complement the lime perfectly. And it does.
The result was truly delightful. Unfortunately, I can’t upload a sniffometer to this post! If you could smell it cooking, you’d be nipping out to buy the ingredients straight away.
5 days later and it’s all gone. I think the ‘cake baking’ flare went up and I’ve had quite a few friends popping in for a coffee this week! It’s gone down really well with everyone – even with Mr C who claims to hate coconut! My mum was a bit disappointed to have missed it, so I’ll have to get another one made pronto.


So here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

125g soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing

250g caster sugar

zest of 3 limes

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

200g self-raising flour

50g desiccated coconut

150ml coconut milk

For the lime drizzle:

juice of 3 limes

100g caster sugar

How to:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C. Get the boring tin lining out of the way first – butter a 2lb/900g loaf tin that measures about 20cm x 9cm x 8cm deep, and line with a strip of baking paper to help remove the cake. ( If you are feeling lazy, I’ve just discovered you can buy packs of loaf tin liners that you simply set into the tin. I’ve bought some ready for the next bake!)

2. Using a hand held or stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar and lime zest until it’s light and creamy.


3. Lightly beat the eggs and add to the butter and sugar mixture a little at a time, beating until fully combined before adding more.

4. Put the self raising flour and the desiccated coconut into a separate bowl and mix together. Add half of the flour and coconut mixture to the eggs and beat in well.

5. Then add the coconut milk and beat again until it is all combined. You can then fold in the remaining flour and coconut.

6. Put the cake mixture into the tin and pop into the oven. You’ll need to bake the loaf for approximately 45 mins or until golden on top. To check that it’s cooked through, you should insert a skewer into the cake and if cooked, it will come out clean.

7. To make the syrup for the top of the cake, put the lime juice and sugar in a saucepan and heat until the sugar is dissolved.

8. Make holes all over the top of the cake using a skewer and then brush the sugar syrup over the top of the cake, allowing it to soak in. It may feel like a lot of syrup but the cake will have a lovely ‘zing’ when the zesty syrups soaks through it.

9. I removed the cake from the tin very quickly after brushing it with the syrup. Let it cool completely on a wire rack.

10. Make yourself a coffee and enjoy a slice. It’s absolutely delicious.

11. Wrap the lime and coconut drizzle cake tightly in tinfoil and keep in an airtight tin to keep it as fresh as possible.

If you liked this recipe, let me know! Comment below, tweet me or post on my Facebook page.

I’m linking up with  #MarvMondays #FabFridayPost

Ethan & Evelyn

An Autumn Stroll

There’s nothing quite like the glow of a dry and clear autumn day. The low sun lighting up the crisping leaves, highlighting the warm autumnal hues. For a few weeks, the palette of colours all around us has been breathtaking. Bright blue skies providing a perfect contrast to the leaves as they turn yellow, orange and red.
We had the most beautiful afternoon a few weekends ago, when we headed to Barnett Demesne for a dander. The boys aren’t quite ready to enjoy the crunch of leaves under their feet but they do love getting out and about and taking in new surroundings. Here’s a few snaps, courtesy of Mr C, of our day out. 

 
  
   
    
 
 

 

I’m linking this post up with #MarvMondays and #PointShoot and #FabFridayPost

You Baby Me Mummy

Ethan & Evelyn

Our first visit to the NICU –  Meeting our little miracles

Lying on the operating theatre with my husband holding me close, hearing the beautiful little cries from our wee warriors. These are moments I will cherish forever. Our miracle twin boys battled twin to twin transfusion syndrome and made it through life saving laser surgery at 21 weeks gestation. Against all odds they were born crying and able to breathe for themselves.  

Benjamin was born first, weighing in at a teeny 3lbs and 6oz. He was so delicate and had the most beautiful little round face and button nose. Harry followed very quickly, a featherweight at a minuscule 1lb and 14oz. He was perfect but so so tiny and vulnerable looking. My first sight of the boys were through my husbands photos as I lay on the operating theatre and the surgeon completed the Caesarean section. I was dying to hold them close and cuddle them in to me but once they were stabilised, they were brought straight to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).  

  

After I got out of theatre, two of the doctors from the NICU came up to the recovery ward. I will never forget the huge grins they had on their faces. They had anticipated two very sick babies who would need rushed to ICU and put on a ventilator immediately. But the boys were doing better than they could ever have expected – they were both breathing on their own! They were very early and very delicate and they would need a lot of special care but they were doing so well despite everything they had been through.

Nothing could ever prepare you for the emotional whirlwind that is meeting your newborn for the first time. Imagine that and then build in many months of worry, an emergency Caesarean section, babies being born 10 weeks too early and lots of post operative pain killers! I was a mess. Tears spilling out. I don’t think I have ever experienced such deep joy and thankfulness. My prayers had been answered and my little babies were with me. Our little family had just doubled in size!

There were a lot of wires. A lot of beeping machines. A lot of nurses for a tiny little ward with only 4 incubators. But it was warm and friendly. The nurses were so so gentle as they worked away with our precious little bundles. Both B and H had little hats on, with Velcro attachments to keep in place the little mask over their nose, which were supporting the boys breathing with some pressurised air. They both had 3 little heart monitors on their chest, an oxygen saturation probe on their foot and a drip in their arm. I was terrified that I’d dislodge something important.

Mr C and I were dying to hold our baby boys but on that first night they were too weak and fragile – they needed to recover from the trauma of the birth. We had to content ourselves with holding their teeny little hands and staring at their beautiful faces through the portholes in each incubator. Just like that, we were mummy and daddy. I was totally in love already.

The next morning, Mr C wheeled me up to the neonatal unit as soon as I could persuade the nurses that I could walk a few steps! Our little boys had had a good first night. Their little personalities were evident from Day 1. Chilled out little B spending the majority of his time sound asleep, curled up in a little ball and our wee warrior, Harry, wide awake and kicking away with his tiny sparrow like legs.

  

 
From cuddle number 1, the twin guilt started! As soon as I had one of my little beauties snuggled into my chest, I was looking at the other one and feeling bad that I wasn’t holding them too! (This was despite the fact that they were blissfully happy, purring away in Daddy’s arms.) The nurses had the perfect solution and I got to snuggle them both at once – they were tucked down my top and lying on my chest kangaroo style. These first cuddles were so so special.
 

How were your first moments with your newborn baby?

Please share this post if you enjoyed reading it!

I’m linking this post up to #FabFridayPost and #MarvMondays

Ethan & Evelyn

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Ten ways to survive the neonatal journey

My little twin boys arrived at 30 weeks – almost 3 months too early. They were tiny little tots at 1lb 14oz and 3lbs 6oz and so we faced a long stay in the neonatal unit. There’s no doubt that this is the hardest thing that Mr C and I have ever had to do – leaving our little babies every night for someone else to look after.
The first night that I was discharged and had to go home was gut wrenching. I don’t think I’ve ever cried for so long. To be honest, it doesn’t get a lot easier as the weeks and months go on and your babies are stillin hospital. But we did get through it and the joy of bringing our little babies home was life changing. Here’s a few tips that helped keep us sane throughout our neonatal journey:

1. The first time you see your baby will be overwhelming and you will feel scared

About half an hour after my emergency c-section, I was brought down to the neonatal unit in my bed. I was wheeled up to the side of each incubator to see my boys for the first time. I was terrified. They both had lots of wires and tubes poking out of them and they were so so so tiny – like little sparrows that you could cradle with one hand. I was almost afraid to touch them for fear of hurting them. After a day or two, you will get used to holding them, changing their tiny little nappies and caring for your little babies. They really are sturdy little things despite their size.

2. Take lots of pictures

Get seriously snap happy. As soon as you go back down to your ward/home you’ll want lots of pictures to scroll through. Many neonatal units only allow parents and grandparents to visit so you’ll want lots of pictures and videos to show off your beautiful new arrival(s).

3. Try ‘Kangaroo Care’ with your baby

You may not be able to hold your baby straight away but if you can, kangaroo care is a great way to bond with your baby. Kangaroo Care basically means holding your naked (well maybe leave their nappy on!) baby next to your skin.

I usually popped one or both of my babies down the front of my top and snuggled them in close. We needed a nurse to help us with this to make sure that we didn’t dislodge any of the lines or machines. There is nothing nicer than your little baby(ies) asleep on your chest. Sam loved getting some Daddy time too.

There’s been a lot of research into the benefits of kangaroo care for preemie babies – have a Google and read up on it for yourself. Living in a neonatal unit is not what any new parent wants, but you do get a lot of time to just sit and cuddle your babies. There’s no washing machine to empty or floor to vacuum. Well there is, but it’s at home at you’re not! Try and relax and enjoy the 1:1 time with your baby.

 

  

4. Send your nearest and dearest out to find you flip flops and very light clothing

Wards filled with little tiny humans are very very very warm. You will want light and airy clothing – preferably tops that are loose enough to allow you to pop your baby directly against your skin. Make this a priority – you will be so much more comfortable.

5. Look after yourself

You’ve just had a baby. You need to look after yourself and let your body recover so that you are ready to take your baby home. I had a caesarean section and it took me at least 6 weeks to feel properly mobile again. Make sure you keep eating and drinking to keep your strength up. We had a parents day room with a small kitchen where we could leave food for the day. It meant that we didn’t have to resort to the awful canteen food and we also got to know some of the other mums and dads.

6. Don’t be afraid to call the neonatal unit to hear how your little one is getting on

You can’t be at your baby’s cot-side 24 hours a day, but you can call and see how they are getting on. We were given a direct phone line for the unit so that we could call at any time of the day or night. Initially I felt like I was interrupting the nurses by phoning at 3am when I was up expressing but they were always more than happy to give me an update on my precious little boys.

7. Get to know what all the medical machinery is and what it does

We found it really helped us to get some understanding of what all the machines that the babies were hooked up to did. If you can read the monitors and have a vague understanding of what they were saying it helps you to feel like you know what’s happening and you feel a bit more in control. You’ll find that the nurses will be more than happy to explain what everything does and how it’s helping your baby.

8. Find an easy way to update friends and family

Everyone will want to know how you and the little one are getting on but constant messages and phone calls can be very draining. Setting up a Facebook page could help – so you can update everyone on progress at one time. Or you could put another family member in charge of updates and make them the point of contact.

9. Take one day at a time

This is the hardest but maybe the most important piece of advice that I was given and that I really tried to stick to. Deal with the stresses and worries of one day at a time and try not to think too far into the future.

Try not to put timelines on when you’ll get to bring your baby home – you’ll feel so much worse if it doesn’t happen. On day 1, we thought the boys were looking at a minimum stay of 10 weeks – but actually Benjamin got home after 5 weeks and Harry was in various different hospitals until he was 13 weeks. If we had known at the start what was ahead of us, I think it would have been even harder to deal with

10. Take all the help you can get

You’ll want to spend as much of your day as possible at the hospital with your babies, so when friends and family offer to help with cleaning / laundry / making dinner, accept with pleasure! It can be hard allowing other people to do your laundry and clean your bathroom but the less you have to think about, the more you can focus on just being there for your baby.

Spending the first few weeks and months with your new baby in a neonatal unit is not easy. But it’s not forever. You’ll get there and on the way you will get to spend lots and lots of time with your little baby and you’ll meet some lovely people on the way. We were so lucky to be looked after by the loveliest nurses and doctors and we will always be thankful for the fantastic care they provided.

Has your baby spent time in neo-natal? Have you anymore tips to share?

If you found this post useful, please share it or tweet me and let me know!

I’m linking this post up with #MarvMondays #thelist #fabfridaypost

The List

Ethan & Evelyn

The Best Christmas Cake Recipe

I absolutely love Christmas Cake. Although up to now, I’ve never actually made my own. I’ve rather cheekily relied on being given a few slices of the amazing cake my Mum makes every year! Now that I’m at home with the twins and not in the office, I have lots of friends popping over for a cuppa. So it’s the perfect time to make my first Christmas Cake and share the Christmas Cake love!

I’ve been soaking the fruit in brandy for the last month but if you’re pushed for time, you could soak the fruit for just one or two weeks before you make it. If you start now (18th Nov) you could easily soak the fruit for a few weeks, make the cake and still have 3-4 weeks for the cake to mature.

The cake will be in the oven for about 4 hours so you need to make sure you use a good quality cake tin that will help ensure an even bake. I used a springform, non-stick tin from Lakeland.

Mr C and I stuck into cake making on Saturday and the house was filled with the most intoxicating Christmas aroma for the rest of the weekend. I can’t wait to make the first cut!

Fruit for soaking:  

280g/10oz sultanas

280g/10oz raisins

280g/10oz currants

175g/6oz glace cherries

175g/6oz mixed citrus peel

150ml/0.25 pint brandy or rum

2 tbsp sherry (optional)

2 tbsp orange juice (optional)

Cake Mixture:

225g/8oz self raising flour

85g/3oz ground almonds

1 heaped tsp mixed spice

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

225g/8oz unsalted butter, at room temperature

225g/8oz dark muscovado sugar

6 eggs

zest and juice of 1 large unwaxed lemon

Decoration:

2 tbsp apricot jam

225g/8oz bought or homemade marzipan

250g/9oz white ready-to-roll icing

silver balls and ribbon, to decorate

You will need:

A 20cm round cake tin, about 7-8cm deep

Greaseproof Paper for lining the tin

Food processor

Stand or hand held electric mixer

Lemon zester and juicer

Large mixing bowl

Christmas Ribbon to decorate

Silver Balls to decorate

Method:

1. Put the dried fruit and peel in a bowl and pour over the brandy or rum and sherry. (I prefer brandy). Mix well and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for at least a month. Stir the fruits every few weeks. If they look dry, add more booze or a splash of orange juice.

2. Start making the cake once the fruits are plump. Heat the oven to 150C/fan 130C/gas 2. Butter a 20cm round cake tin – about 7-8 cm deep – and line the base and sides with greaseproof paper. To protect the sides from burning, tie a double layer of greaseproof paper around the outside of the tin.

3. Blitz the soaked fruit mixture in three batches in a food processor, blitzing the final batch only lightly to keep some bite and texture to the fruit. Mix the flour, almonds and spices in a large bowl and stir in the fruits. Don’t worry if it’s hard to mix.


4. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs, one by one. Stir into the fruit mixture bit by bit, along with the lemon zest and juice.

5. Tip the mixture into the tin and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Reduce the heat to 140C/fan 120C/gas 1 and bake for 3 to 3 1/2 hours (4 hours
in a gas oven). Take care it doesn’t overcook. Insert a skewer deep into the cake, if it comes out clean, it’s cooked. Cool slightly, remove from the tin, and cool on a wire rack.

6. Store in a double layer of greaseproof paper, wrapped in foil until ready to ice. You can store the cake for up to 3 months. Make sure you “feed” the cake by making skewer holes and pouring in brandy or rum every few weeks. Wrap up the cake tightly after every “feed”.

7. Brush the top of the cake with jam, roll out the marzipan to fit and place it on top. Roll out the icing to fit and place on top of the marzipan. Decorate with silver balls and ribbon.

I’m going to let my cake mature for a few weeks and once I get around to icing it, I’ll post another picture. Happy Christmas Cake Making.

Let me know how you get on and please share this recipe with your friends!

 

christmascake

I’m linking this post up with #MarvMondays

I’m linking this post up to the #FabFridayPost and #bakeoftheweek and #coolmumclub

Ethan & Evelyn

Casa Costello
Mummuddlingthrough