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cranberry chai and walnut cake with chai poached pears and dark muscovado cinnamon frosting

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I wanted to make a Christmas themed cake to share with you as I haven’t made a cake for a while. this one has cranberry walnut and chai flavoured sponge with dark muscovado cinnamon frosting and chai poached pears and sugared cranberries. it smells really fragrant from the chai tea I used to poach the pears. I feel like I need to mention the log it is on, my mum found it in the woods for me, I can picture her trying to lug it home with the dog lead in one hand ha ha. thanks mum I love it, any way if you are looking for a cake recipe for Christmas then I think you may like this one. to get the sponge really soft and airy I let the stand mixer (with the balloon whisk attachment) mix the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes so its really creamy then I let the mixer go for about 2 to 3 minutes at high speed before adding each egg, then I fold the flour in with a spatula so I don’t over work it and build up the gluten. it makes the sponge really lovely and puffy trust me. I cant believe it is almost Christmas I still have so much to do. I have shopping to get still, I haven’t wrapped any thing or actually even bought wrapping paper for that matter. I’m starting to panic a bit, because I went on holiday I feel like everything has got pushed to the last minute. I hope you are all a bit more organised and less stressed than me so you have time to play in the kitchen and bake this cake.

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for the sponge

  • 330g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 130g soft light brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 330g self raising flour
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 chai tea bag emptied
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts chopped

for the frosting

  • 500ml double cream
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 150g dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (plus more to your taste if desired)

for the pears

  • 4 pears
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 chai tea bags
  • slice of lemon peel

to poach the pears peel them and place them in a pan and cover with water, add the sugar, cinnamon, lemon peel and tea bags and heat on a medium heat for about 25 minutes, or until tender. remove from heat and leave in poaching liquid for 10 minutes then remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate to cool. reserve 3 tbsp of the liquid and place in a bowl and add another 2 tbsp of sugar to and stir until it dissolved it add a cup of cranberries into it and toss to coat them. then drain the liquid and coat the cranberries in sugar and spread out on a cooling rack until the sugar has dried hard.

for the sponge

preheat the oven to 160c

grease and line 4 11cm tins and set aside. in a stand mixer with the balloon whisk attachment cream together the butter and sugar for 5 minutes then stop the mixer and scrape around the sides of the bowl with a spatula and mix again for two minutes, add one egg and mix at high speed for 2 minutes then add the next one and continue this process of leaving 2 to 3 minutes between adding each egg. remove the bowl and sift in the flour and cinnamon, ginger and chai and fold in with a spatula add 2 tbsp of milk and fold in to loosen the mixture, then fold in the cranberries and walnuts. separate between the 4 tins and spread out with a spatula then place in the oven and bake for approx. 25 minutes until golden and puffed up. let cool.

to make the frosting add the cream, icing sugar, dark muscovado sugar and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and whip until peaks form.

to assemble the cake slice three of the pears thinly. spread on some of the frosting them top with one of the sliced pears and add the next layer and continue the same steps then decorate the top with one whole pear and the sugared cranberries.

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