Monday, 21 December 2009

Baked Bean Christmas cakes

Not literally, but we could have been. Thanks must go to Jules of The Butcher. The Baker (no longer a Domestic Goddess in Training we note!) who donated a sizeable portion of the ingredients, and several baked bean tins as well.

I should probably get the baked bean tin thing out of the way first. We wanted to make individual cakes, that the girls could make up in Patrols and I could cook for them (my oven's just that bit more reliable than the one at the Guide hut), and then after a period of resting and feeding with brandy, the girls could then marzipan and ice themselves. Research led me to the half sized baked bean tins as the perfect vehicle for such escapades and so across the country consumption of the delicacy increased considerably (perhaps I should ask Heinz for commission!) So, these are affectionately known as Baked Bean Christmas Cakes. Hopefully all is becoming clear.

I used a recipe from Imaginative Icing (thanks for that tip go to Libby of Caking Agent - seriously, how many bloggers can I namecheck in one post?!) as the site provided a variation depending on the size cake you were baking. As the baked bean tins were about 3 inches in diameter, I halved their smallest recipe to provide the ingredients per girl, and then multiplied it up for the number of Guides in each Patrol. This way each Patrol (we have Daffodils, Roses and Shamrocks) got to make up the quantity of cake mix they needed and then share it out into their tins (points go to Sharpie for making markers that stay on when baked at 180 degrees or I'd have had no hope at working out who's was whose!)

I have lovely spreadsheets, that are colour coded for each patrol showing quantities, but I'll just add a rough estimate of the ingredients for one patrol (roughly 6 girls) needed here.

Baked Bean Christmas Cake - Daffodil Patrol

450g currants
150g sultanas
150g raisins
120g chopped glace cherries
75g chopped mixed peel
75g chopped blanched almonds
1 lemon - rind only, grated
270g plain flour
1.5 tsp cinammon
3/4 tsp ground mixed spice
225g butter
225g light brown soft sugar
4.5 eggs (I used 4 extra large)
3tsp Black Treacle

Some action shots to go with the method

The girls creamed the butter, treacle and sugar (by hand - I tried to pretend this was to make authentic cakes, it was actually because I had forgotten my beaters)

We then added the eggs (with a tablespoon of flour for each egg to stop the mixture curdling) beating each in well

The flour and spices were seived in and mixed in thoroughly

All the fruit was then added and stirred in well (by this time the mixture is a little too stiff for small arms)

Everyone then has to have 1 stir and make a wish before spooning out the mixture into their greased and lined baked bean tins.

The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that the next step was clearly marzipanning - there was a break of a month between these stages. In that period I baked the cakes (an hour and a half was slightly too long I found) and fed them with brandy fairly regularly. When I say fairly regularly I mean whenever I opened the cupboard, saw the brandy and thought "Oh I haven't fed the cakes lately!"
We then marzipanned the cakes, each girl rolling out her marzipan and smoothing it over the cake. It was at this point that I realised we should have turned them upside down so that they were beautiful and flat as my levelling efforts were, shall we say... efforts?

We finished, in true Guiding style, at the last possible moment, by icing them on our last meeting. I decided to keep the decoration simple, being primarily constrained by time, but also constrained by lack of skill in icing. Each cake was iced in white royal icing and had a ribbon pinned around it's base. We made homemade cake boards and each girl took her cake home, proud of her achievements. I still have the big one on my sideboard, waiting to be taken into work.

All in, a successful (if lengthy) project, maybe next year we'll do stained glass biscuits and tree decorations!


Anonymous said...

They look great! Glad the ingredients came in use for you.

Libbs said...

Brilliant idea Penny, I bet the girls loved them.

Do you think it should be extended to brownies next year?!

Pen said...

I've only just seen your comment Libbs, I think the Brownies could do the mixing (although I'd bring in a food processor for chopping the nuts, and an electric beater for the intital stages) but I'd line the tins myself and obviously still bring them home to cook.


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