Our First Birthday Photo Album

Better late than never. I just realised I never actually posted one of the most significant episodes in ‘Our Big Firsts’ series. Our big (not so much) first birthday! It is a tad late..

It also nearly didn’t happen. We have been contending with a lot of snot, chesty coughs and puke for what seems like forever. The boys just seem to pick up one bug after the next. I can’t wait for spring and summer. Hopefully the warmer air will help put all these colds to bed once and for all. But their birthday week was particularly bad. They were sick, I had the cold and Mr C was getting over a nasty flu. It wasn’t good timing. But we ploughed on!

I’m a firm believer in keeping birthday parties as small as possible, for as long as possible! So we just planned a lovely little afternoon tea with our families. I’m not sure how long we’ll get away with this but I don’t intend to hire out the local leisure centre anytime soon!

We feasted on delicate sandwiches, mini chocolate and raspberry scones, birthday cake and yummy malteaser buns. Not to forget the rose and prosecco bellinis for the adults! We weren’t simply celebrating the birthday of our beautiful miracle boys. We were also rejoicing that we had survived this far. We survived our first year as new parents with baby twins! We are super heroes!

Despite the sleepless nights and snot, we had a lovely afternoon and a lovely birthday week with the joys. With lots of present opening, silly party games and the obligatory birthday tea!

Here’s a few snaps from their 1st Birthday week.

    

    
  

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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

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

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