Sunday, 9 December 2012

Festive Clementine Wreath Cake and Which Cookbook to buy this Christmas?

The cookbook market in the UK is worth over a whooping £87m each year. There are 131,745 titles available on that well known website named after a very long river running through South America. But which should you be asking for in your stocking this year?

<em>Scandilicious Baking</em> [Book]

Scandilicious Baking
Signe Johansen

In a parallel universe you are Sara Lund from The Killing. You were eating herrings for breakfast when you were knee high to a grasshopper/one of those ants they serve at Noma. You alone are responsible for the 30% rise in Swedish food imports over the past five years. This book is for you.

Jamie's <em>15 Minute Meals</em>: Delicious, Nutritious, Super-Fast Food [Book]

15 Minute Meals
Jamie Oliver

Bish! Bash!  Bosh! Your style of cooking is lovely jubbly mate! This book is the business and pukka for you, my mockney mate. Innit.

The <em>Great British Bake Off: How to Turn Everyday Bakes Into</em> ...

The Great British Bake Off: How To Turn Everyday Bakes Into Showstoppers
Linda Collister

Tuesdays nights have not been the same since the Bake Off ended. No matter how much enthusiasm your colleagues have shown for your idea of recreating the Bake Off each week at work no one has quite perfected the rising tension and certainly no one has volunteered to take on the rum baba. And anyway, a non-descript office block with a kitchen comprising of a twenty year old microwave and a fridge packed full of mouldy sandwiches is certainly not a giant white tent complete with Mel-n-Sue and the latest kitchen kit in the picturesque ground of a stately English home. Recreate the magic, this book is for you.

<em>Kitchen Diaries 2</em>: A Year of Simple Suppers [Book]

The Kitchen Diaries II
Nigel Slater

The antithesis of the celeb cook book, Nigel, who writes the most poetic of prose has published his second volume of Kitchen Diaries.  A journal of rumblings, recipes, irresistible photography and flavoursome food. If the weekend has been starting on Friday night with Nigel's BBC series Dish of the Day and finishing with his Observer column, then this is the book for you.

<em>Celebrate</em>: A Year of British Festivities for Families and Friends ...

Pippa Middleton

I'm almost certain that the sub-heading of this book isn't '...the £400,000 advance'. However, if 'peel' brings to mind the word 'facial' rather than 'spuds' and 'stock' brings to mind 'from good stock' as in 'his Father owns half of Northumberland don't you know' rather than 'chicken', this book is most certainly for you. 


Clementine Christmas Wreath Cake

150ml natural yogurt
3 beaten eggs
150g Sous Chef Christmas Spiced Sugar
140g self- raising flour

100g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Zest of 2 clementines
175g unsalted butter, melted

For the icing:
200g icing sugar, sifted

Approximately 75mls juice from an orange
2 tsps orange zest

To decorate:
50g dried cranberries
50g shelled pistachios
1 tsp orange zest

1. Grease and line a nine inch bundt tin and preheat the oven to 190C/Fan 170C/Gas Mark 5.
2. In a bowl mix together the yogurt and beaten eggs 
3. Pop the sugar, flours, baking powder and zest into a large bowl, mix well with a wooden spoon and make a well in the centre. Add the yogurty mix and nicely melted butter and fold together
4. Spoon the mixture, which will be quite liquidy, into the bundt tin and bake for 35-40 minutes until risen and golden in colour
5. Cool on a wire rack
6. To make the icing: place the icing sugar and zest in a large bowl. Gradually stir in the juice until you reach a nice thick, glossy icing 
7. Spoon the icing onto the cakes and decorate with the cranberries, pistachios and grate over the final teaspoon of zest

Baker's notes...

  • I used some Christmas Spiced Sugar kindly sent to me by Sous Chef. This seasonal sugar contains festive spices including cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cardamom and green anise. A lovely addition to any festive bake and a perfect little stocking filler for a fellow foodie
  • Ginger is the theme for this month's One Ingredient blogging challenge, hosted alternatively by Franglais Kitchen and How to Cook Good Food so this post will be winging its way over 

My thanks to Sous Chef who kindly sent a box of festive baking treats:



  1. I am loving the sound of that spiced sugar. Bet it smells beautiful. Your cake looks super pretty and I must get myself one of those moulds, love them!
    I really would love a copy of Scandilicious Baking out of your book list xx

  2. This looks gorgeous and so Christmassy! I love the cranberries and pistachios sprinkled on top too. Funnily enough I've just posted some Christmas Wreath Cookies for Tea Time Treats which are along the same lines! As for recipes books...I'd highly recommend the GBBO showstoppers for anyone who loves baking! :-)

  3. What a lovely idea to use spiced sugar. It sounds delicious and looks so pretty!

  4. What a pretty looking wreath. And a good book review might have to put Nigel on my Christmas stocking List - (his book of course).

  5. Another fab post full of giggles. I have Sir Nig's book but that is the only one ... I have been trying to cut back on my cook book addiction this year. Lovely wreath, it looks really effective and I bet it tastes amazing too.

  6. oooh, i'm hoping for Nigel's book this chrimbo... love your cake, it's so pretty and so festive... thanks for the recipe x

  7. What a lovely recipe. I do love your cookbook recommendations (including the tactful comments on Pippa's book...) wonderful post and Thanks for entering it to One Ingredient! Nazima x

  8. Your posts never fail to make me laugh out loud :-) As for this recipe, it looks beautifully festive - orange and cranberry is such a great combination and I need recipes to use up all the clementines I have kicking around at home.

  9. Hilarious post. You write so brilliantly. I've been watching re-runs of Nige's Simple Suppers and thinking that maybe I really should add one of his books to my collection.

  10. The recipe book that's floated my boat the most this year is Annie Bell's baking bible - I always read through books and tab the pages of recipes I want to make. About halfway through (and several hundred tabs used) Mr CC asked, "wouldn't it be easier to tab the things you don't want to make?"

  11. I have Nigel's book on my Christmas list! Lovely lovely cake Kate! Karen xxxx

  12. I rather fancy that Pippa Middleton book! It screams that there was a whole team of people writing it and she probably just turned up for a bit of brainstorming and some photoshoots but it is a beautiful book and I may HAVE to buy it anyway!! Your cake looks beautifully jewelled.


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