Preparation time: less than 30 mins
Cooking time: 1 to 2 hours
110g/4oz butter or margarine
110g/4oz soft brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
150g/5oz plain flour
pinch of salt
½ tsp ground mixed spice (optional)
350g/12oz mixed raisins, currants and sultanas
55g/2oz chopped mixed peel
½ lemon, grated rind only
1-2 tbsp apricot jam
1 egg, beaten for glazing
For the almond paste: (Marzipan)
125g/4oz caster sugar
125g/4oz ground almonds
1 egg, beaten
½ tsp almond essence
- To make the almond paste: place the sugar and ground almonds in a bowl. Add enough beaten egg to give a fairly soft consistency. Add the almond essence and knead for a minute until the paste is smooth and pliable. Roll out a third of the almond paste to make a circle 18cm/7in in diameter and reserve the remainder for topping of the cake.
- Preheat oven to 140C/275F/ Gas 1. To make the cake:cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs until well incorporated and then sift in the flour, salt and spice (if using) a little at a time. Finally, add the dried fruit, peel and grated lemon rind and mix into the mixture well.
- Put half the mixture in a greased and lined 18cm/7in cake tin. Smooth the top and cover with the circle of almond paste. Add the rest of the cake mixture and smooth the top leaving a slight dip in the centre to allow for the cake to rise. Bake in the preheated oven for 1½ hours. Once baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool.
- When you are ready to decorate the cake, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 3. Brush the top of the cooled cake with the apricot jam. Divide the remainder of the almond paste into two; roll out a circle to cover the top of the cake with one half and form 11 small balls with the other half.
- Place the circle of paste on the jam and set the balls round the edge. Brush all the top with a little beaten egg.
- Return the cake to the preheated oven for about 10 minutes or long enough for the almond paste to brown.
Recipe from the BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)
Hot Cross Buns
Preparation time: over 2 hours
Cooking time: 10 to 30 mins
For the ferment starter
1 large egg, beaten
215ml/7½fl oz warm water
15g/½oz fresh yeast
1 tsp sugar
55g/2oz strong white flour
For the dough
450g/1lb strong white flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground mixed spice
85g/3oz butter cut into cubes
1 lemon, grated, zest only
170g/6oz mixed dried fruit
2 tbsp plain flour
oil, for greasing
1 tbsp golden syrup, gently heated, for glazing
Prepare the ferment starter for the dough by combining the beaten egg with enough warm water to give approximately 290ml/½ pint of liquid. Whisk in the yeast, sugar and flour, cover and put in a warm place for 30 minutes.
- Make the buns: sieve the flour, salt and spice into a large mixing bowl and rub in the butter. Make a well in the centre and put the sugar and lemon zest in the well. Pour on the ferment starter.
- Gradually draw in the flour and mix vigorously, then knead to a smooth, elastic dough.
- Carefully work in the mixed dried fruit. Shape the dough into a ball, put it in a warm, greased bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
- Turn out the dough and knead to knock out any air bubbles and give an even texture. Shape it into a ball again, put back into the bowl, cover and put back to rise for another 30 minutes.
- Turn out the dough again and divide into 12 even pieces. Shape them into buns and leave to rest for a few minutes on the work surface covered with the tea towel.
- Place the buns on a lightly greased baking sheet. Slightly flatten each bun and then cut into quarters, cutting almost all the way through the dough, so that as each bun rises, it has a well-marked cross on it.
- Grease a large polythene bag and place the tray with the buns in it and tie the end. Put in a warm place and leave to rise for 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the oven to 240C/475F/Gas 8. Make a paste for the crosses on the buns with the plain flour and 2 tbsp cold water. Mix until it is soft enough to pipe through a nozzle.
- Remove the polythene bag and pipe a cross on each bun. Bake the buns for 8 -12 minutes or until risen and golden. Brush the buns with hot golden syrup as soon as they are ready. Cool on a wire rack.
Recipe from the BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)
Blueberry-Lemon Pound Cake
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Yields: 16 servings
2 cups butter, softened
3 cups white sugar
1 cup milk, room temperature
2 teaspoons lemon extract
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 cups fresh blueberries
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the lemon extract. Combine the flour, baking powder, and lemon zest; stir into the batter alternating with the milk. I like to use a spatula and stir by hand, mixing just until blended so the batter is not over mixed. Be sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl often. Fold in the blueberries. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe from All Recipes.com (www.allrecipes.com)
Carrot and Walnut Cake
Yields: 14 servings
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9 or 10 inch tube pan.
- Sift the flour, baking soda, and baking powder together and set aside.
- Beat the eggs with the ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and ground cardamom together for 5 minutes. Stir in the confectioner's sugar and mix well. Beat in the vegetable oil and continue beating for 5 minutes.
- Alternately add the flour mixture and the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, to the egg mixture. With a spoon stir in the carrots and the walnuts. Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour. Enjoy it with a glass of milk or a cup of tea.
Recipe All Recipes.com (www.allrecipes.com)
Easter Bunny Salad
4 salad plates
1 head lettuce
1 can pears
Shred lettuce, make a bed of lettuce on each plate and place ½ pear, the round side up, in the centre of each bed of lettuce. Insert 2 almonds in the narrow end of the pear for the ears. Slice a cherry in half and cut each half into 3 parts. Insert the cherries to look like the eyes and nose of the bunny. Cut marshmallows to look like tail.
Recipe from Alicia's Recipe Kitchen (www.aliciasrecipes.com)