I’m actually quite enjoying Nigella’s Xmas shows on the box at the mo. She’s decadent, with rich recipes and no excuses. In my opinion, Xmas time is more a celebration of getting to the end of another year, and to treat ourselves with eating whatever we desire. Her recipes aren’t complicated and she uses pre-bought items if it helps make preparation easier. One of her simple ones was mixing up fruit cake with port and melted chocolate, roll into balls and refrigerate, then decorate with white chocolate and red and green glace cherries so they look like little Xmas puds. Now that’s cute.

The vanilla cake recipe from her show was found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/sprucedupvanillacake_90703
It was lovely and moist.

225g/8oz soft butter, plus extra for greasing

300g/10½oz caster sugar

6 free-range eggs

350g/10½oz plain flour

½ tsp bicarb. soda

250ml/9oz low-fat natural yoghurt

4 tsp vanilla extract

1-2 tbsp icing sugar, to taste


1.     Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Place a baking tray into the oven to heat.

2.     Grease a 2.5 litre/4 pint 8fl oz bundt tin (fir tree-shaped, if possible) very liberally with butter.

3.     Mix the butter and sugar together in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy.

4.     Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking each one in with a tablespoon of the flour. Carefully fold in the remaining flour using a large metal spoon, then fold in the yoghurt and vanilla extract until well combined.

5.     Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and spread until level. Place the tin on the preheated baking sheet in the oven and cook for 45-60 minutes, until well risen and golden-brown. After 45 minutes, push a metal skewer into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked.

6.     Remove the cake from the oven and place onto a wire rack, without removing it from the tin. Leave to cool for 15 minutes.

7.     Gently pull away the edges of the cake from the tin with your fingers, then carefully turn out the cake onto the wire rack. Leave to cool completely.

8.     Once cool, sieve the icing sugar over the cake. Serve in slices.