I love a good Christmas fruitcake, which makes me deeply uncool, right? Wrong, stooges! Let me be clear though, I’m talking about my Christmas cake – a lighter, tastier, more-sponge-less-fruit Christmas cake.

I’m not going to be shy about this one – the recipe is utter genius, and every fruitcake-hater I’ve ever tried it out on concedes that it’s good. It has beautiful plump pieces of easily identifiable delicious dried fruits, not miscellaneous clumps of bitter, black-coloured maybe-raisins and something-like-sultanas that stick to your fillings and make your jaw ache.

Some traditions are sacred though. I do like it with a bit of rustic marzipan icing on top, and I insist on a dusting of icing sugar and a selection of random plastic Christmas figurines to jazz it up – I’ve got a Santa, half a sleigh, some trees and a deer. Failing that, you can use a good Royal icing like on Jamie Magazine’s gluten-free cake to make a snow-scape on the top.

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Baking preserved fruit into a cake is said to have originated around the Twelfth night celebration. This is the night before the last day of Christmas celebrations according to the Christian faith, and often a “Twelfth cake” was made to celebrate, incorporating any leftover Christmas pudding into the cake mix. Over time, as exotic fruits became more readily available, fruit cakes became more elaborate and often used as table centerpieces, with their decorations becoming more glamorous – think sugar-frosted whole fruits and satin ribbons.

Historically throughout Europe, dried fruit has been used in many bakes, not just Christmas cakes – for example German stollen or Italian panforte could be described as versions of a cake with added candied fruit. In the Caribbean, black cake is a still popular cake made with dried fruit soaked in rum, often over a long period of time, making for a really dark, rich and heavy cake. Mine’s not quite as intense as this – in fact it could really be called “Fruitcake for sissies” – but when it tastes this good who cares?

Merry Christmas from Bee’s bakery!

Bee’s unbelievable Christmas cake recipe

First, some tips:

  1. This recipe is really forgiving, so choose fruits that you love, as the final cake will still be a cracker! Go heavy on the apricots and cherries if you want a lighter, fresher-tasting cake, or go heavy on the figs and prunes if you fancy a rich, darker cake.
  2. Leave enough time to soak your fruits overnight before making and baking – it makes all the difference.
  3. Store your fruitcake wrapped in parchment and then foil – it’ll keep for around six weeks in a clean tin.
  4. Don’t feel you need to feed your cake with alcohol – by pre-soaking the fruit and choosing lighter and more flavoursome fruits, there’s no need to add extra the booze, in my opinion.

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons of liquid – for example a mixture of orange and cranberry juice, cool black earl grey tea or if you’re super keen, brandy or another spirit
  • 900g dried fancy fruits like apricots, dates figs, prunes, glacé cherries, dried blueberries, and candied peel, chopped into 1cm pieces.
  • 500g of your choice of dried vine fruits like blackcurrants, raisins, sultanas (those giant California flame raisins are great) or cranberries – lots of different colours are greatThe zest and juice of a large orange
and a big lemon
  • 350g soft butter, at room temperature
  • 300g of soft brown sugar – a combination of light brown and darker muscovado works well –again, use more of the former if you want a light sponge, and more of the latter if you want a bit more colour.
  • 5 large free-range eggs
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 150g shelled and roughly chopped nuts – I especially love pecans, but hazelnuts or almonds are good too, and less expensive.
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 350g plain flour (a mixture of white and wholemeal is great)

The night before you bake your cake, warm your liquid by simmering in a small pan (do not boil it), then pour over all of your dried fruit and zest in a bowl. Mix thoroughly and leave to cool and soak overnight – your fruit will be juicy and plump in the morning – perfect for baking. Leave your butter out of the fridge overnight too, to soften up.

On the day, pre-heat your oven to 160°C/325°F and double-line a round 20cm baking tin with parchment, leaving a couple of cm sticking out of the top. Combine your soft butter with the sugars in a food mixer or, if you’re working on toning up your biceps, go for it by mixing by hand in a large bowl. Cream until a light fluffy mixture forms – it’ll be lighter in colour than what you started with – the fluffier the better.

Crack in the eggs one at a time, with a little spoonful of the almonds each time to stop the mixture curdling. Once combined, add in the flour, baking powder and the remainder of the ground almonds, plus the nuts, and mix until just combined. Then add in the pre-soaked fruit – there shouldn’t be much liquid left at the bottom of the bowl, but do add in any dribbles that are left. Mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is combined.

Pour the mixture into your cake tin until it’s 3/4 full and ensure the top of the mix is flat, so you get a nice evenly-topped cake. Depending on your mix you might have lots left over, so just make another smaller cake or lots of little Christmas cupcakes.

Bake for one hour, then turn the cake around (in case your oven has any hot spots), reduce the temperature to 150ºC/300ºF and bake for another hour. Check the cake to see whether it’s done by inserting a skewer or the tip of a thin-bladed knife – when its done, there might be a couple of crumbs sticking to the knife, but there should be no raw mixture. It might need up to another 30 minutes depending on your mixture.

Leave the cake to cool inside the tin so that it keeps its shape, and when ready to serve, either dust a little bit of icing sugar on the top, or cover in marzipan and decorate however you like best! It also keeps really well, so I tend to bake my Christmas cake in early December before things go completely mad at the Bakery with Christmas orders.

The Huffington Post’s foodie-offshoot Homemade, has written a cool little article about me, my book and included a couple of recipes too, including my awesome bacon biscotti recipe!

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https://www.homemadebyyou.co.uk/recipes/baking/barbecue-bacon-biscotti

 

Here’s an excerpt:

But biscuits? Biscuits we like.

Speedy, simple, scrumptious, honest one-bowl goodness; minimal mess, maximum taste and ready in the time it takes Kanye West to tweet his way to 10 new enemies. Biscuits are the bake that needs to be revived.

Leading the charge to the biscuit tin is Bee Berrie. A microbiologist by trade, she switched petri dishes for pastel frosting in 2012, and now heads up her own bakery in London. She’s made a giant replica Kinder Egg for ITV, baked a 15-stone edible Marc Jacobs perfume bottle and shown her mad skills on telly with king of kooky chef Heston Blumenthal. With her debut biscuit cookbook out, she’s evangelical on the crumbly joy of cookies.

But according to Bee, biscuits are best. “They’re quick, easy and more versatile than cake,” she tells us. “They have short bake times, last for ages and leftover dough can be whacked in the freezer for another time.”

As for top tips, it’s all about going one of two ways: “Either pick flavours that complement each other (like chocolate and coffee), or flavours that contrast (like bacon bits and maple syrup). Rosemary works well with citrus fruits, warm spices like cardamom are a treat with butter or creamy frosting, and nut butters are brilliant with chocolate.”

And, fortunately, the biscuit train is easy to adapt to vegan/dairy-free/gluten-free needs. “I make my own blend of chickpea and rice flour for people who can’t tolerate wheat, and replace butter with avocado when I need to,” says Bee. “It works like a charm and you can’t taste the fruit at all – it just gives them a creamy texture.”

Try some of Bee’s recipes below and tweet us a picture when you’re done @homemade

Full article: https://www.homemadebyyou.co.uk/articles/cooking/put-down-that-lemon-drizzle-people-its-time-you-got-re-acquainted-with-baking-biscuits?preview=16012272

 

My first recipe book called Bee’s Brilliant Biscuits is OUT in the UK yippee!

(You can order it online here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1910496464 )

We had a little party to celebrate, at the most beautiful venue, Paper Mill Studios in Islington, and it was a little bit of a blast! Drinks were provided by Kamm & Sons, Dalston Cola, Joe’s Tea and Camden Hells Lager, and food, in the form of sweet and savoury biscuits (of course) was provided by my recipe book, with some additional amazing cheese from Daylesford Organic. (links below).

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We baked around 1000 biscuits for the event, with recipes ranging from our famous jammy dodgers, to our gluten and dairy free chocolate and avocado cookies, and we also had some takeaway dog treats on standby too.

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Around 110 people came, a mixture of friends and family (thanks for coming Mum), and some of my awesome kitchen neighbours too. It was great to finally meet Elaine Stocks from BBC Good Food, Felicity Cloake, and lovely to see Edd Kimber, Chetna Makan and Juliet Sear again too.

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We had a biscuit decoration workshop run by a member of my team called Gina, a giant biscuit mural that we coloured in with edible pens and put on the wall by Laura my kitchen manager. Charlie Philips, my good friend and prop stylist for the book, made an incredible biscuit piñata, which was filled with hundreds of iced gem cookies – here are some pics of it in action:

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Here are some kind words written by my Topshop events team client: wow!

BEE’S BRILLIANT BISCUITS.

“When you work in events and you go to events organised by other people, it’s hard not to critique where they’ve gone wrong and moan about what you would have done differently. I know it makes me sound like a prick but it’s often something I can’t help myself doing. Last night I went to an event that was absolutely perfect, it was organised better than I ever could have done myself and every single aspect made me smile.

Bee Berrie is is mastermind behind the Bee’s Bakery biscuit phenomenon and has been baking the best Jammy Dodgers in London since she gave up a career in science back in 2012. Bee has now branched out beyond just baking delicious little treats and is passing her skills onto the world with her amazing new book Bee’s Brilliant Biscuits. It’s no lie either, her biscuits are brilliant and I couldn’t recommend them more.”

Kamm & Sons: http://kammandsons.com

Dalston Cola: http://www.dalstoncola.co.uk

Joe’s Tea:http://joesteacompany.com

Daylesford: http://daylesford.com

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My recipe book is out on March 10th…but THIS is the first place in the UK you can get hold of a signed copy…and its a beauty:

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On Mothers Day, Sunday 6th March, I’ll be signing books, chatting to lots of you and doing a little demonstration at Daylesford Farm in Kingham, Gloucestershire at 11am…and I’d love to see you there!

Here’s a link to their page for directions and details: http://daylesford.com

Hello everyone!

I’ve been SO EXCITED to receive the first copy of my new recipe book, and it finally arrived this week… its not officially for sale until March 10th, but you can pre-order it on Amazon now: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1910496464?keywords=bee%20berrie&qid=1449492793&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

Here’s the cover, and a snippet of the preview images on Amazon:Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 12.29.12  cover stackBB headshot book HR  book cover copy

 

Here’s the introduction to the book, I hope you all really like it! Bee. X

Bee Berrie of Bee’s Bakery is on a mission to bring unique biscuits and cookies into everyone’s life. She believes the secret to great baking is to give your bakes a personal edge. Her biscuits are original, colourful, flavourful and so much fun – she has a flair for bringing classic recipes bang up to date and her recipes are easily adaptable. Whether you want a sophisticated digestive to dunk in your tea, a personalized jammie dodger to give as a gift, cookies iced with crystallized edible flowers or an inky tattooed sea salt and brown butter cookie, you’ll find the recipe in this exciting book. A page of tear-out templates adds to the fun. All achievable for the home cook – with some aimed at children – and using easily sourceable ingredients, the 80 recipes will increase any baker’s repertoire. Bee makes the most unique biscuits around, raising eyebrows and smiles, all in one bite.

Hello everybody!

I was asked to write a recipe or four by the Jamie Oliver gang, on the subject of a healthier type of baking…lower in sugar, no animal products and tasty as you like.

I adapted a recipe from my forthcoming book Bee’s Brilliant Biscuits for this – it uses oats and applesauce as its base ingredients and is totally vegan with no added sugar.

Here’s a snippet from the recipe, full instructions are here: http://www.jamieoliver.com/news-and-features/features/oaty-cookies-one-dough-four-ways/

Photography by James Lyndsay, styling by Elspeth Meston…nice work guys!

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Yes, I’m a baker, so  it stands to reason that I don’t have too much of a problem cooking with sugar, butter and gluten most of the time. However, if I can bake something delicious and full of energy that just so happens to NOT contain these things, I consider it a win all round!

We bake lots of different recipes at Bee’s Bakery,  including gluten-free, vegan or more health-conscious bakes. These oaty cookies are just the sort of baking I like to do when I’m making something for health-conscious friends, or with kids, or even when it’s just me at home. It’s important for me to have a reasonably healthy diet at home, to make up for all the broken biscuits I eat at work!

The recipe is adapted from my first recipe book, Bee’s Brilliant Biscuits, which is out early in 2016 and contains plenty of other vegan and health-conscious recipes, too.
Read more at http://www.jamieoliver.com/news-and-features/features/oaty-cookies-one-dough-four-ways/#t31DX3jYXtwUi3aX.99

 

 

 

Its nearly International Friends Day and Grazia magazine included our colourful cookies in their gift-list…

This picture is super cool! And you can order online at Etsy!

Grazia

A few months ago, I was asked by the team at Jamie Oliver to come up with a recipe for a dairy AND gluten free cookie recipe – no mean feat!

I don’t follow a particular diet eliminating any type of food, but I do steer clear of dairy some of the time, and what i love about this recipe most of all is that first of all, its delicious, but it also has certain health benefits, a winning combo in my eyes!

 

I discovered that avocado can be a fantastic alternative to butter in this context…so here’s the recipe that was published on Jamie Oliver.com

image: http://www.jamieoliver.com/news-and-features/features/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/09/feature-header22.jpg

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Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado (when it’s skinned and de-seeded we need around 100g)
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum (optional – without this, your cookie will be crumblier)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 150g light brown soft sugar (or caster sugar)
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 50g gluten-free flour (any combination of the following flours will work – standard gluten-free flour, rice flour, gram flour, quinoa flour)
  • 100g roughly-chopped dark chocolate (over 70% cocoa solids should always be dairy free, but check the packet)

Method

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and line a baking tray/sheet with parchment paper. Scoop your avocado into a large bowl and mash thoroughly until it’s a smooth green goo. Once smooth, add the rest of the ingredients into the bowl and beat using good old muscle power with a wooden spoon, until a nice shiny consistent wet mix forms. It’ll look like a very sticky and dark coloured cake mix rather than a firm cookie dough. If you taste a little of the mixture at this point, you’ll be amazed at how “green” it tastes – it’s literally like eating raw cabbage, but after baking, all of the vegetable taste is gone – thank goodness!

Add most of your chocolate chunks, saving some of the larger pieces to press into the top of each cookie before baking. Using two metal spoons, dollop evenly sized round-shaped cookies onto your baking tray – larger is always better with these ones, and they don’t spread much when baking. If you prefer a thicker, fudgier cookie, pile the mix high and bake for the full time, and if you like a thinner chewier cookie then spread them out more and bake for less. Press a couple of chocolate chunks into the top, then bake for around 12-15 minutes – they will still be slightly soft to the touch, but do firm up once allowed to cool


Our pretty flower petal cakes are todays “Idea of the day” from Brides Magazine! Lovely job…

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The article says:

“Bee, who also makes naked cakes decorated with fruit, nuts and flowers or edible bloom garlands, offers her top tips for floral cake perfection:

– Choose your petals carefully. Florist grade flower petals, even if taken from edible species of flowers, are not safe for human consumption, as they’ll often have been sprayed with pesticides and fertilisers – even if you rinse them in water, they’re still not safe to eat.

– Buy your petals from a certified organic grower in your country. This ensures that they are safe to eat – they’ll have been grown in real soil without pesticides or fertilisers, neither of which are safe to eat. We source our flowers from Maddocks Farm Organics, an award-winning grower in Devon.”

And there are tons more tips too…you can read the full piece here: http://www.bridesmagazine.co.uk/planning/receptions/cakes/2015/06/bees-bakery-edible-flower-cake