Portadown woman Rachelle Liggett’s recipe for a Christmas cake has won her one of two top prizes in the Great Ulster Bake Off competition.
Rachelle, from the Gilford Road, was voted the ‘People’s Choice’ after her recipe for a frosted Christmas Red Velvet Layer Cake proved to be a favourite with readers.
The competition was run by firmus energy in association with Johnston Press, with recipes from readers printed in nine regions across Northern Ireland.
The winners of each region were then entered into the final where the top two - the People’s Choice and Chef’s Choice - were decided.
Anna McClean from Ballymena was named ‘Chef’s Choice’ by judge Paula McIntyre for her Chocolate and Beetroot Cake.
Both Rachelle and Ann will each receive £100 of Lakeland vouchers and a cookery book, Mary Berry’s Baking Bible.
Said Rachelle, “I have been baking since I was little and always helped my granny Peggy in the kitchen. My recipe is a lighter alternative to a traditional festive fruit cake in a wonderfully seasonal colour.
“I fill the cake with my own signature filling, blackberry jam, which works really well with the delicate red velvet flavours.
“I pick the blackberries in the fields behind my house at the end of every summer and make my own batches of jam, just as I did with my granny since I was little and when I incorporate this into my cakes at Christmas, it brings back those fond memories with her.”
She added, “I have really enjoyed shows such as the Great British Bake Off and the Great Irish Bake Off, whose recent winner, Stephen Chisholm, is from Belfast, and I look forward to spending my vouchers on some new exciting items in Lakeland.”
Angeline Sloan of firmus energy said Rachelle’s recipe had the perfect balance of creativity and great taste.
She said, “This competition has highlighted the talent for home-baking that is right across the province. We had family recipes that had been handed down through generations submitted as well as people’s own creations and it was so hard to call who would be voted the winner!”
Rachelle’s recipe: 350g of plain flour, three teaspoons of baking powder, one teaspoon of baking soda, pinch of salt, one teaspoon vanilla extract, 225g of my own Homemade Butter, four of my own free range eggs from my chickens, 250ml of my own homemade buttermilk, two tbsps of cocoa powder, one teaspoon of Christmas red food colouring.
To give the fruit a frosted seasonal look, use fresh cherries, red and white grapes, one large egg white and 300g caster sugar.
For the filling and topping - cream cheese frosting using 300g of cream cheese, 50g of my homemade butter, three tablespoons of wild honey and seeds from half a vanilla pod. Blackberry jam as a filling.