I was so pleased when we were unexpectedly told we would be leaving work three hours early today! Yay! That meant that I could get home and get on with my Christmas baking, which included finishing off some cupcakes, a yule log, and chocolate houses that I’d been preparing over the weekend. Although I don’t take many orders for cakes at the moment because I’m just too busy, I still take a few and I did three for Christmas Eve this year (last year I pushed myself too hard with 7 orders!). So here’s what I’ve been baking for Christmas this year…
Salted Pecan Praline Yule Log
I made this chocolate yule log on Sunday which was made using pecan nuts, sea salt, and chestnut puree. I used this recipe and the ingredients were kindly provided to me by Stork so that I could make something festive in time for Christmas.
The instructions were simple to follow and it didn’t take long to make, although I’d forgotten how difficult it can be to roll up the sponge! I think I perhaps over baked my sponge as it was a bit hard to roll it up neatly. But once it had cooled down I filled it with buttercream and smothered it so you couldn’t see the flaws!
The buttercream was very yummy and it was then topped with the praline which was made from the pecan nuts, salt, and sugar. You couldn’t really taste the salt to be honest, but it was really chocolatey and the buttercream was lovely and sweet. I dusted the log with icing sugar to give it a snowy effect and then decorated with handmade holly decorations which I made from fondant icing. Yum! I love chocolate cake, and I believe this would go nicely with a bottle of vintage port after Christmas dinner!
Vanilla and Lemon Buttercream Cupcakes
I made a dozen cupcakes for a customer order and also a dozen for my family for Christmas day. I made some with a delicious lemon flavoured sponge and then a tangy lemon buttercream, and some are plain vanilla cakes with vanilla buttercream on. I used lots of different cutters to make the decorations from the fondant icing, and then used some sugar balls to add as baubles to the christmas trees. I love making Christmas cupcakes, and lemon cake is my favourite! I think these will go down well tomorrow.. how cute is the gingerbread man decoration?!
Chocolate Christmas Cottages
I managed to somehow make 5 of these chocolate houses last year but I’m not sure how I managed it! This year I just made two as orders for Christmas. To make them I used the Lakeland fairy tale cottage mould which I bought last Christmas. It’s only £12.99 and is really good value, as it can be used as a mould for chocolate or you can bake gingerbread in it.
To make the cottages from chocolate, I needed to melt down 12 big bars of chocolate for each house, and then pour it into the moulds and then left them to set overnight. I then built the houses and glued the pieces together using white glace icing to look like snow. This part is the hardest bit, because the chocolate is quite fine so melts easily when handled with warm hands. I hate to leave fingerprints over them so I wear vinyl gloves which makes my hands even warmer! The roof often slides off which is very stressful, so I use mugs to hold the roof in place until the icing glue has set.
Once the house is securely build, I decorate them using mini candy canes, chocolate snowmen, snowflake sprinkles and more icing. I also put the mini people and Christmas tree outside the front of the house, and glue the door into place. I finish them off by dusting them with icing sugar and then I wrap them up in clear cellophane so they can be presented as a gift. The nice thing about them is you can use a variety of chocolate types, and you can ice names onto the roof too.
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