Christmas Leftovers- Mincemeat Loaf Cake.

I know it’s New Year now but I can’t bear throwing things out or wasting things.  As I’ve been doing Slimming World up to Christmas and hoping to start back at my local group on 4th January, I can’t really be baking things or eating leftover cake and mince pies.

But what to do with the two spare jars of homemade mincemeat which were sat taking up space in my cupboard? Mr SmartCookieSam said it would last until next Christmas but I’m not always so sure.  So I had a look through my recipe books and spotted an ideal way of using up a whole jar of mincemeat without taking too much time and effort up.

This Mincemeat Loaf Cake recipe comes from Mary Berry’s Christmas Collection. The recipe actually makes two small loaves.

As Mary says in the recipe notes: ” These are great to have on hand at Christmas time. They freeze superbly and make a nice present…. the mincemeat adds spice and moisture to the cakes,”

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The idea that the cakes freeze well was a real winner for me.  I don’t want to be eating cakes right now but there is room in my freezer to put the loaves away and bring out for another time.  They’re always useful if one of my friends pops round for a cuppa or for taking into work to share with colleagues.

The recipe was simple to make.  I mixed mincemeat, softened butter, light muscovado sugar, 2 beaten eggs, self raising flour, currants and raisins together in a large mixing bowl.  To this I also added an extra teaspoonful of ground mixed spice. This was all mixed together and put into two loaf tins lined with special loaf tin liners.

 To finish off I needed to stud whole almonds into the top of the loaves.  I realised I didn’t have any whole almonds left, only flaked ones.  I sprinkled some flaked almonds on and also added some whole glace cherries before sticking the loaves in the oven.  They baked for about 1 1 /4 hours while I got on with the ironing.  As I was doing the ironing there was a lovely smell wafting about the kitchen, very tempting but not helpful when trying to lose weight!

The loaves didn’t look that big compared to what I was expecting, I would have preferred to have baked one big loaf instead of two tiny ones.  It smelled wonderful though and once it had cooled down I was tempted to cut one of the loaves open and see what the inside looked like.  I didn’t eat any, honest!

Wrapped up in cling film they’re now in the freezer.  Let’s hope I don’t forget I’ve made them!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess- Star Topped Mince Pies.

After making mince pies for everyone else it was finally time to make some for ourselves!  It was Christmas Eve afternoon, we’d been out to the pub for our traditional Christmas Eve lunch and to be honest I didn’t feel like doing any more baking.  But the rolling pin and the flour beckoned.

I’ve always enjoyed using Nigella’s recipe for Star Topped Mince Pies from her Domestic Goddess cook book.  Nigella has always been one of my idols and I have loved baking from her books ever since I bought her Domestic Goddess book back in 2004. This book, along with her Feast book encouraged me to bake. I was depressed when my son started school as at the time my career was on hold bringing up my children and to Nigella I feel indebted.  Her books gave me the confidence to try new things and to bring me through a difficult time.

So back to 2013 and to a better place! I never make mince pies with lids as it’s always far too much pastry for me but I like these.  They don’t come out too big either but with a spoonful of brandy cream on top equals heaven to me.

Everyone who comes to our house over Christmas gets offered one of these and I’m pleased to say they go down well with most people who like mince pies.

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The pastry is sweetened with the juice of an orange, no sugar added here.
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My last precious jar of my home-made mincemeat. I swear by Delia’s recipe in her original Christmas Collection book.
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Orange squeezing for the pastry.
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The pie bases ready to go into the greased and lined tin. I grease my tins with Dr Oetker Cake Release Spray.
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Another favourite tool of the trade is this tart shaper which I bought at a Pampered Chef party over 10 years ago. It pushes the pastry into the tin easily.
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One of the trays ready to go in the oven.

Nigella says that this recipe makes 36 mince pies but I just about managed to get 24 out of the pastry.  I wondered if the pastry had to be rolled even thinner than I’d done it but I was worried about it breaking.  I do find it annoying when recipes say it makes a certain number only for it to make a lot less. I sometimes find this with buttercream when icing cupcakes. I should have made double!  I have some mincemeat spare so if I do need to make more at least I can make more!

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Leftover pastry!
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Two dozen mince pies ready and cooling down. Merry Christmas!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx