Loading

wait a moment

Four winter fruit cake recipes

Clementine, polenta and pomegranate syrup cakes. Photographs: Lizzie Mayson for the Guardian. Food styling: Tamara Vos. Prop styling: Anna Wilkins.

Clementine, polenta and pomegranate syrup cakes (main picture)

Prep 15 min
Cook 2 hr
Makes 12

500g clementines (about 5-6), plus 100g clementine juice (from about 2-3 fruit)
Olive oil (or light-tasting oil), to grease
4 large eggs
150g golden caster sugar or light brown muscovado sugar
120g polenta
100g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
30g honey
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 pomegranate
, seeds removed (optional)
Edible flowers, to finish (optional)

In a medium saucepan, cover the clementines with boiling water. Put a lid over the pan, bring back to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for one and a half hours. If the water dries out, top it up with more boiling water. Drain and let the fruit cool.

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4 and grease the bottoms and edges of a 12-hole muffin tin with oil. Cut 12 x 5cm squares of baking parchment to fit in the bottom of each muffin mould, so the mix doesn’t stick to the tin. Remove any pips from each cooled clementine, put in a food processor and whizz to a puree. Add the eggs, sugar, polenta, nuts and baking powder, and blend again until the mix is smooth – a few small lumps of clementine skin are fine.

Divide the mix evenly between the muffin moulds and bake for 25 minutes, turning the tray around in the oven halfway through baking for an even bake – the tops should be golden brown and just firm to the touch.

In a small saucepan, bring the clementine juice, honey and pomegranate molasses to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about three minutes. Pierce the cakes with a fork or skewer and douse well with syrup using a pastry brush. Leave to cool, then remove from the tins, loosening the cakes around the edge with a knife if necessary. Decorate with pomegranate seeds and edible flowers, if you want, and serve.

Pear, hazelnut and dark chocolate torte

Pear, hazelnut and dark chocolate torte.
 Pear, hazelnut and dark chocolate torte.

Prep 20 min
Cook 30 min
Cool 30 min
Serves 10-12

150g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
250g hazelnuts
150g dark chocolate (85% cocoa solids)
1 pinch sea salt flakes, crushed
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g runny honey
350g pears (about 2), eg comice, peeled, quartered and cored
5 large eggs, separated
75g light brown muscovado sugar

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. Grease the base and sides of a 23cm springform cake tin with butter, and line with parchment paper.

On a baking tray, toast the nuts for five to seven minutes, until they are starting to turn golden.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a medium bowl set over a saucepan of just-simmering water, and add the salt and vanilla.

In a food processor, process the nuts until mostly ground, but some larger pieces remain for texture. Add 150g to the melted chocolate and butter.

Add 50g honey to the rest of the nuts and process to a rough hazelnut paste, a bit like a sweet hazelnut butter or praline. You will need to stop the mixer and scrape down the edges a few times.

Once ready (don’t worry if it isn’t totally smooth), add to the melted chocolate mix, along with the egg yolks, and stir well, removing any lumps.

Semi-whip the egg whites, add the sugar, and continue whisking to soft peaks. Fold the whites into the chocolate mix a third at a time, then pour the mix into the prepared tin.

Make each pear quarter into a fan shape by cutting each into 5mm slices, but still attached to the top by about 1cm. Arrange the segments evenly around the edge of the cake, and bake for 25 minutes, or until just set. Leave to cool for 30 minutes in the tin, then remove and serve.

Prune, date and raisin tea cake with salted butter and quick spiced apple jam

Prune, date and raisin tea cake with spiced apple jam.
 Prune, date and raisin tea cake with spiced apple jam.

Prep 10 min
Cook 1 hr 30 min
Serves 8–10

For the jam
500g bramley apples (about 2 large ones), peeled, cored and cut into 2cm pieces
50g light brown muscovado sugar
¼ tsp each ground cinnamon and mixed spice

For the cake
120g each raisins
, pitted prunes and pitted dates
1 black or rooibos tea bag
100g dark brown muscovado sugar
160g barley malt extract
250g plain wholegrain wheat flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 pinch sea salt flakes
, crushed
2 large eggs
Salted butter
 to serve, plus extra for greasing, or oil

For the jam, put the apple pieces, light brown sugar and spices in a small pan with 100ml water and mix well. Put the lid on the pan and turn the heat to medium. When mushy, take the lid off, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 more minutes to reduce, keeping an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn – you want a jammy thick consistency – then set aside.

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4, grease a standard loaf tin with butter or oi, and line the base and sides with parchment paper; greasing the base and bottom helps the paper to stick. Cut the prunes and dates into thirds and put in a bowl with the raisins.

Cover the fruit with 200ml boiling water, drop in the tea bag and stir.

Put the sugar and malt extract in a medium saucepan, and warm until the sugar dissolves. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the centre, add the eggs, malt mix and fruit, including all the soaking water and any extra juices from the tea bag (discard the bag). Mix well until no dry ingredients are visible pour into the tin and bake for an hour, turning the tin in the oven halfway through baking, until the top is a dark golden brown and firm to the touch – a skewer to the centre of the cake should emerge clean. Leave to cool slightly, then serve warm, spread generously with butter and apple jam. This keeps really well in a cake tin in the fridge for about five days; toast it a little when it’s less fresh.

Quince and walnut crumble cake

Quince and walnut crumble cake.
 Quince and walnut crumble cake.

Prep 20 min
Cook 1 hr 45 min
Cool 30 min
Serves 8-10

medium quince (about 450g pre-prep weight)
150g golden caster sugar, plus 3 tbsp for the quince
150g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
150g white spelt flour
150g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch sea salt flakes, crushed
100g shelled walnuts, roughly chopped
1 large egg
Golden icing sugar, for dusting (optional)

Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Peel, quarter and core the quince. Cut each quarter into about eight 5mm slices. Put the slices on a baking tray, cover with 200ml boiling water and three tablespoons of golden caster sugar, and seal with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, until just soft, then remove and set aside.

Butter the bottom and sides of a 20cm springform cake tin and line the base with parchment paper. Reduce the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4.

By hand or with a freestanding mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the butter, sugar, flour, almonds, baking powder, cinnamon and salt until they form a breadcrumb consistency. Add the walnuts and the egg, and mix until smooth.

Spread just under half the mix on the bottom of the tin, arrange the quince slices on top in a sunshine pattern, working from the edge of the tin into the middle, then crumble over the remaining mix, lightly pressing it into the quince: don’t worry if some quince is visible.

Bake for 45 minutes, turning the tin in the oven halfway through baking, until the top is golden brown and firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes, so that it doesn’t crumble too much when cut, then dust with icing sugar, if you like. You could serve it with the remaining quince baking juices, if you like, or with cream, creme fraiche or yoghurt – but it’s delicious on its own.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *