I got back from France on Wednesday and last Saturday whilst I was there we had planned to go to a Christmas market in one of the local towns. This is also the town where my little brother now lives as he's just got his first job as a qualified carpenter and has moved into his own little studio flat so we were planning on picking him up as well to come home for the weekend. However it turned out that the local paper was in error and the market is actually this weekend. I was a bit disappointed as I was hoping to see lots of lovely, festive French foodie stalls. In the end we had a look round one of the shops which seems to sell everything, a bit like Wilkinson's in the UK. Mum was after some bits and pieces for the house and I found some cake tins and I had a few Euros to spend to I treated myself to an early Christmas present.
I bought a Christmas tree shaped tin for 2 Euros which was a bargain and I used it to bake this cake in. I also bought a set of mini silicone moulds for 8 Euros which came with a free book. I don't really know any French but I do know the words for most foods/ingredients and with a few translations from my Mum I think I'll be able to bake from it. It also helps that I've read and written a lot of recipes so I can pretty much figure it out. I keep telling myself that one day I really should learn French, but Mum and Dad aren't fluent yet so I get away with it. I haven't got any plans for the mini moulds just yet but I have a feeling that I might have a go at making some chocolates in them at some point.
The Christmas tree cake is a chocolate chip sponge but I had to make it with bread flour as I used up all my self raising and plain flour before I went away. I did a lot of baking to fill the freezer up and I'm going to try and get those recipes posted before Christmas Day. I wasn't sure if it would work but I'd already been to the shops and didn't want to go out again just for flour. It turns out that bread flour does work with some baking powder added but the texture is a little denser than usual. So it's good to know that in an emergency you can get away with substituting bread flour. To be honest I didn't need to bake today but I knew that there wouldn't be much point using this tin after Christmas.
You might have noticed that the plate is also Christmas tree shaped. My Grandma recieved this as a gift one year from a relative but decided that it wasn't to her taste so she passed it on to me. I think that was around 3 years ago and I've been using to serve up Christmas bakes every year. I think it's quite cute with all the cats on.
115g caster sugar
115g white bread flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g chocolate chips
NB. You can try making this with bread flour if you want but normally I would self raising flour and omit the baking powder.
Preheat the oven to 180C and lightly grease a non stick 24cm long (interior measurement) Christmas tree shaped cake tin. Put all the ingredients except the chocolate chips in a mixing bowl and use a hand held mixer to beat everything together until smooth. Fold through the chocolate chips and then spoon the mixture into the tin and then bake for 30-35 minutes until golden, risen and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
To decorate the cake I used around 150g of holly green sugar paste that I reveiwed recently for Sugar & Crumbs. I also used a tiny star shaped plunger cutter to make the stars from yellow sugar paste, the baubles are Dr Oetker shimmer pearls which I just lightly pressed into the green sugar paste.
I'm entering this into Tea Time Treats hosted by Karen and Kate where the theme this month is chocolate and also into Calendar Cakes where the theme is Christmas, hosted by Laura and Rachel.