Festive Cranberry and Apricot Sponge Pudding with Caramel Sauce. In a household who take Christmas baking to obsessive levels can you believe I’m the only person who likes traditional Christmas Pudding. So, I have to eat a two-pound pudding over the space of several days. To be honest nobody else has my almost unhealthy love of mince pies either and I eat most of them. Do they count towards one of my five a day as they do contain fruit? I think a diet may be called for come January.
Stir-Up Sunday and Festive Baking
Earlier in the year I wrote an article on Stir Up Sunday, for my local newspaper, the Jersey Evening Post. This was the time when families traditionally gathered together and made their Christmas pudding. I thought it would be good to come up with an alternative that was lighter but still very in keeping with all the other festive recipes I love so much. After some experimenting in the kitchen, I think I came up with a great alternative.
So today was a Sunday off and the girls wanted to bake Christmas cupcakes. If you follow the blog you know I have a great, go to chocolate cupcake recipe ( see my Scary Halloween Double Chocolate Cupcakes ). So, it was just a matter of finding some fun way to decorate them. Flicking through magazines and online in the run to the festive season is a great way to find inspiration and I had already seen an idea for Christmas Tree light cakes I wanted to put a spin on. We all got to work and created a recipe!
Why Christmas Pudding Triple Chocolate Cookies? The family loves baking biscuits and cookies ( and eating them! ) and this year I wanted to do something different. As the girls are getting a little older, we can be a bit more ambitious in our bakes and these are really delicious. Who doesn’t like a classic slightly chewy chocolate cookie loaded with chocolate pieces?
Festive Cranberry and Apricot Sponge Pudding with Caramel Sauce
Cranberries scream Christmas, alongside spices such as ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. To make the pudding lighter in colour I have used a small amount of dried apricots, a personal favourite and golden raisins. For a lighter texture I have made an almond sponge with gold caster sugar instead of the more normal muscovado or demerara sugars and molasses. To finish serve with a rich homemade caramel sauce and to be truly indulgent some thick cream.
Cranberry and Apricot Sponge Pudding with Caramel sauce
- 1 Festive non-stick cake tin
For the Pudding
- 150 gr Self-raising Flour
- 200 gr unsalted Jersey Butter at room temperature
- 200 gr Golden Caster Sugar
- 200 gr free-range Eggs ( 4 medium sized eggs )
- 50 gr ground Almonds
- 75 gr Dried Cranberries
- 75 gr Dried Apricots cut into small pieces
- 50 gr Sultanas or Golden Raisins
- Juice and zest of 2 Lemons
- ½ teaspoon Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground Ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground Cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground Nutmeg
For the Caramel Sauce
- 250 gr Caster Sugar
- 60 ml cold Water
- 150 ml Jersey Double Cream
- 50 g butter
- Heat oven to 165C / 325 F / Gas Mark 3. Grease a twenty-centimetre cake tin and sprinkle with a little extra caster sugar to prevent the cake from sticking. I used a Christmas tree shape tin.
- In a large bowl beat the softened butter and sugar together. Then add in the eggs and sift in the ground almonds, flour, baking powder and spices. Beat together until smooth and creamy.
- Gently stir in the fruit and tip into the prepared cake tin. Tap a few times on the work surface to remove any large air bubbles and level out the mix.
- Place in the centre of your preheated oven and bake until golden brown for approximately thirty minutes. At this time cover the top of your pudding with a piece of pre-cut baking paper, to prevent burning and return to the oven for another ten to fifteen minutes.
- Carefully prick the centre of the pudding with a small metal knife or skewer and remove. If the knife is clean the pudding is done if not return to the oven for a few more minutes.
- Remove from the oven using oven gloves and allow to cool for ten minutes before tipping onto a plate.
- For the caramel sauce
- Pour the sugar into a medium sized, heavy-bottomed pan and add the water. Set over a gentle heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
- Stop stirring, increase the heat and bring to a boil and bubble until you have golden brown caramel. Quickly remove from the heat, and then carefully stir in the cream and butter.
- Leave to cool before adding the vanilla then serve with the warm sponge and some thick Jersey cream.
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