Saturday, 26 December 2015

Vegan Christmas (and Easter) cake

Dinosaur footprints optional!

I'm not great at updating my blogspot. I have quite a few weddings to post on here, and I've added a Heather Hartley facebook page so I really should devote more time to social media in 2016. However, my two young boys keep me busy and I'd rather spend my evenings doing things other than going on a PC. We'll see if I stick to this resolution.

My youngest son has a dairy, egg, soya and peanut allergy. I made a vegan Christmas cake and it tastes so good I thought I should share the recipe and post it on here for longevity. I hate it when I make something delicious and don't keep a record. Even if he outgrows his food allergies, we'll be sticking to this recipe from now on. 

Vegan Christmas cake

It's basically a Simnel cake come Christmas cake so I'll be using this recipe at Christmas and Easter - I've substituted egg with pureed apricot and apple, and soak the fruit (and later cake) with brandy (dark rum would also work well). The cake is made with self-raising flour so the sponge is slightly lighter than a Christmas cake, but the addition of marzipan to the cake mix makes the cake rich and almondy. You could leave out the marzipan if you're not a fan. I make it just a week before Christmas as it doesn't need time to mature.

Ingredients and method:
Pre heat oven to 150 degrees Celsius and line an 8" round cake tin.

1. Mix the following together and leave for a few hours or overnight:

2 tablespoons of brandy
8oz sultanas
4oz currants
4oz raisins
grated rind of 1 lemon
grated rind of 1 orange
4oz glace cherries, quartered

2. Then mix the following together and stir in the fruit mixture.

8oz dairy free margarine (I use Pure sunflower spread)
8oz light muscovado sugar
6oz self raising flour
2oz ground almonds (substitute with flour if you have an almond allergy)
2 teaspoons of mixed spice
225ml apple and apricot puree (*see below)

 *Puree - heat 3oz dried apricots and 6oz dessert apples in a pan with 85ml water. Heat til soft and then blend. Makes 225ml.

3.  Place half the mixture in the cake tin and level. Place marzipan circle on top of the mixture and add the remaining mixture on top. Level.

300g marzipan rolled out into an 8" circle (omit if allergic or don't like)
4. Bake in the oven for about 1.5 - 2 hours until the cake is risen, comes away from the sides of the cake tin, and a skewer comes out clean. Cover the cake for the last hour with tin foil to stop it browning too much.

5. When cool, prod with a skewer and feed the cake with 3 tablespoons of rum / brandy.

6. A few days before Christmas, brush the cake with either warmed apricot jam or brandy / rum, and put 700g of rolled marzipan on it (I buy ready made marzipan).

7. Two days before Christmas, brush the cake with brandy or rum and put 454g of rolled out white icing on it (I use ready made icing). Decorate as desired.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Wedding at Dalhousie Castle, Scotland

 This couple married at Dalhousie Castle on the outskirts of Edinburgh. It's a lovely looking Scottish castle set in impressive grounds and has its own chapel on the lower level. There's a spa too and 35 bedrooms. The staff are always nice to work with. 

Hannah's three bridesmaids wore lemon yellow dresses and these bouquets looked great. The hand-tied bouquets are made with roses, thistle, delphinium and solidago.

 Bride's bouquet
 Thistle, variegated ivy and white heather buttonholes.

The chapel

Large pedestal arrangement of yellow roses, solidago, ivy and blue delphiniums.

I wired fresh roses and ivy on to the candelabras and placed a mirrored plate underneath
Ramsay suite
A line of small fish bowls decorated the top table
The bridesmaids' bouquets were going to be placed into the large fish bowls
In addition, each table had scattered diamonds

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Wedding at Winton House, East Lothian

 Liz had a clear idea of the kind of bouquet she wanted. Deep reds, peachy pinks, orange tulips, with a variety of foliage in an arty arrangement. The colours suited her complexion. I recommend to brides when they're unsure of which colours to pick, to go with ones that suit them - think of your wardrobe and about the colours you wear.
This was my first visit to Winton House in East Lothian and I was really impressed. It's run by the family and it did have a lovely homely feel. The bride was calm and relaxed and had everything in control - she had organised a falconry outing for the guests leaving the house free of visitors so the final preparations could take place before the ceremony.

Bride's bouquet and two flower girl bouquets

Simple calla lily and beargrass buttonholes

Bride's bouquet
Flower girl bouquets

The bride's friends made these simple table centres with flowers that I provided- gypsophila and tulips in jam jars.

Winton House has beautiful little touches like this curling stone/door stopper. I was part of a recreational curling team when I studied in Canada (we won that year) so I'd like a curling stone door stopper!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Sweet Avalanche and Vendela rose bouquet with thistles and table centre

This bride corresponded by e-mail so I  met her on her wedding day at the Tigerlily hotel on George Street, Edinburgh.

Hibs wedding, Easter Road Stadium, home to Hibernium Football club, Edinburgh

This couple are huge Hibs fans, but most of their family are Hearts supporters! The ceremony and reception took place at Hibernium Football club in Edinburgh.

Mauve and ivory rose bouquets, Hibs tartan ribbon around the stems. 

Ivory Avalanche rose buttonholes, some with loops of Hibs tartan ribbon.

Top table arrangement in front of Hibs trophies and old football regalia.