How to Bake by Paul Hollywood
is a great way to start, it’s a comprehensive guide to baking bread covering everything from different types of flour, through techniques and tools. I liked the use of step by step pictures as
well as written instructions.
loaves, Pecan loaf, and Hot Cross Buns.
are worried about technique there is a double page spread of photographs showing how to make the croissant dough, they are clear and easy to follow.
Who is it for?
Pros and Cons
Ease of use
As I hadn’t yet made my Christmas cake, I decided to try Paul’s recipe, the photograph above is from the book.
How to make Paul Hollywood’s Christmas Cake
- 450 g sultanas
- 225 g raisins
- 225 g dried apricots chopped
- 115 g prunes chopped
- 55 g glacé pineapple
- 225 g glacé cherries chopped
- 225 g chopped candied peel
- 115 g blanched almonds toasted and very roughly chopped
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
- 70 ml brandy
- 225 g unsalted butter softened
- 200 g light muscovado sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 280 g plain flour
- To finish
- 2 tbsp apricot jam
- 500 g quantity marzipan see page 255, or a 500g packet ready made marzipan
- Icing sugar for dusting
- 500 g quantity royal icing see page 255, or a 500g packet ready-to-roll fondant icing
Combine all the dried and glacé fruit, candied peel and almonds in a large bowl. Add the orange zest and juice, and the brandy. Mix well,cover and leave for several hours or overnight.
Heat your oven to 150˚C. Line the base and sides of a 20cm round deep cake tin with a double thickness of baking parchment, cutting it so that it stands a good 5cm proud of the top of the tin.
In a very large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together for several minutes until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a little of the flour with each to prevent the mixture from splitting.
Stir in the fruit mixture. Sift the remaining flour over the mixture and fold in, using a large metal spoon. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and level the surface.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 3 hours, then check by insert a skewer into the centre – if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. If not, give it a further 15–30 minutes. Leave the cake to cool before removing it from the tin.
When your cake is completely cooled – and ideally after a couple of days – you can marzipan and ice it. Warm the apricot jam gently in a saucepan with a splash of water to thin it down, sieve, then brush all over the cake.
Roll out 300g of the marzipan to a large circle, about 4mm thick. Using the cake tin as a guide, cut a round of marzipan to fit the top of the cake and position it.
Roll out the other 200g marzipan with the trimmings and cut 2 long strips to fit around the side of the cake. Position these, then smooth the marzipan and mould the edges together.
If you are using ready-to-roll icing, roll it out on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar to a thickness of about 5mm. Lift it over the marzipan, smooth down and trim off the excess at the base.
If you are using homemade royal icing, smooth it over the cake with a palette knife. You can leave it smooth or swirl it into peaks with the back of a spoon or your palette knife, as you choose. Leave to set.
Wrap a ribbon around the side of your Christmas cake and finish as you wish with festive decorations.
Here is my cake, it is much lighter than the one I usually make but it is packed full of fruit. There seemed to be a lot of mixture, too much for my 20cm tin, so I baked the remaining mixture in a small loaf tin.
The advantage of this was that I was able to taste the cake without cutting into my Christmas cake! In fact, the cake cuts very well as the texture of the cake is quite dense but moist and not over sweet. As an apricot and prune fan, I particularly enjoyed the dried fruits. I’ll be interested to see how the cake matures.
How to Bake by Paul Hollywood is published by Bloomsbury RRP £20, Popular On line Retailer £8.86
Thanks to Bloomsbury for the opportunity to review this book
More Christmas Cake Recipes
Tin Can Mini Christmas Cakes – Eats Amazing
Pumpkin Fruit Cake – Fab Food 4 All
Rosca de Reyes, Spanish Epiphany Cake – Fuss Free Flavour