Sunday 15 December 2013

Day 3 – Christmas Fruited Quickbread Recipe

Today is the third day in my countdown to Christmas — Day 3 of my 'Twelve Days of Christmas'. Today I have a very interesting recipe for a light cake or pudding that can be served as an alternate Christmas cake.

The recipe is a fusion of my mother's recipe for a quick boiled pudding, known in Welsh as 'pwdin fwrdd-a-hi' (away you go pudding) and a classic muffin-type quickbread that yileds a rather wonderful and moist cake with a firm crust that is excellent served with coffee. This makes a rather fantastic Christmas morning day treat that can be prepared the day before.

Also, if you are looking for something lighter than the traditional Christmas cake (and which is much quicker to make), then why not try this festive cranberry and orange quickbread instead? This also makes an excellent Christmas gift.

If you put the same mixture in a pudding bowl and steam for 3 hours, you also get a light Christmas pudding. So here are two separate recipes in one.

Here you can find a link to all the Christmas and all the other Twelve Days of Christmas recipes published on this blog... a true treasure-trove of seasonal dishes.

Christmas Fruited Quickbread Recipe

Serves: 8
Christmas Fruited Quickbread: A fruited Christmas cake, based on a muffin recipe that can be prepared either as a cake or as a pudding. An excellent choice if you want a lighter Christmas cake or pudding


180g (1 1/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
65g (1/2 cup) fine maize meal
150g (3/4 cup) sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp mixed spice (pumpkin pie spice)
60ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
freshly-grated zest of 1/2 orange
180ml (3/4 cup) orange juice
1 egg
100g (1 cup) fresh cranberries, chopped
2 firm, medium-sized red plums, diced
50g nuts, chopped (optional)

For the Glaze:

1 tbsp orange juice
120g powdered sugar, sifted
extra orange juice, as needed


Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda into a bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour mix with your fingertips until well combined.

Stir in the orange zest along with the orange juice and egg, mixing until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Add the cranberries, plum pieces and nuts (if using) and stir to combine.

For the Cake:

Turn the batter (this will be thick) into loaf tin, the base of which has been greased with butter. Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 170°C (350°F) and bake for between 55 and 75 minutes (depending on the size of your tin), or until the top is lightly browned and a skewer inserted into the centre emerges cleanly.

Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

When cold, prepare the glaze. Mix together the orange juice and powdered sugar in a bowl. Then add more orange juice, a little at a time, until you have a drizzling consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the cake then set aside to harden.

Slice and serve.

For the Pudding:

Turn the batter into a greased pudding bowl. Cover either with a lid or with a sheet of greaseproof (waxed) paper. Cover with a double layer of kitchen foil and tie securely in place.

Sit the pudding either on a trivet or on an upturned saucer in a large cooking pot. Pour in boiling water to come half way up the sides of the pudding. Bring to a boil, cover the pot with a lid and steam for 3 hours (top-up the water levels as needed).

When cooked, remove the pudding from the pan and allow to cool for a few minutes. Carefully invert onto a serving plate and serve with cream, custard or brandy butter sauce.

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