To be frank, I have never been a big fan of Christmas Cake & Christmas pudding always finding them in the past to be too heavy, especially after a huge Christmas meal… However as I have never made one before I gave it a go this year as my contribution to my partners Christmas work function. For anyone who has made a Christmas Cake out there, the process takes absolutely ages, well that’s if you want it to be full of alcohol and tender loving care that is!
I did a fair bit of research on the subject of this particular cake, way back in October, there are so many recipes out there all claiming to be the perfect Christmas cake, some say you should make up to three months before, some are for quick cakes, that require no soaking of the fruit and the adding of the alcohol after the baking. With so many conflicting choices, its hard to decide what to do.. In the end it came down to which one looked best in the picture!
So I went for the recipe found here at taste, these cakes have so many ingredients, and to be honest I can understand why a lot of people decide to go out and buy them at $20.00 from the supermarket or a good baker as they do cost a fair old whack to make, After you have bought the dried fruit, the alcohol and the icing and decorations I spent over $60 just making it, that’s not counting the hours of TLC too! haha. It may sound like I begruge these hours but I Dont.. making this cake was definitely a learning curve, but still was a lot of fun!
So as I said I made the base of the cake by first soaking the myriad of fruit in brandy for 7 days (You Dont have to wait this long, I just happened to forget I had left it soaking), then you can make the cake. The cake in itself is a fairly simple affair, I was very surprised how little flour goes into the batter, the batter basically just holds the cake shape, the main tastes coming form the fruit and alcohol.
Once the cake has cooled, make some holes using a skewer and store in a cake tin wrapping the cake in foil and then 2 layers of baking paper. Set yourself a reminder to add 2-3 Spoons of hard liquor every 5 days.. I used a reminder in Outlook, which was kind of embarrassing when my boss was sat next to me, and this reminder pops up on my screen saying ‘ Feed the Cake’!.. haha effective though. I used a combination of dry sherry and brandy for my cake.
I’m no expert, but I stopped feeding my cake alcohol about a week ago and began teh process of icing it.
Having never worked with Royal icing before, I found it really difficult. It seemed near on impossible to me to get that nice even shiny flat surface that you see on Christmas cakes in the shop. The marzipan was fairly easy as I just used a ready bought block from the supermarket and rolled over the top of the apricot glaze. there were a few holes, and it could have probably done with being thicker, next time I would use two blocks.
The first layer of icing set, however there were some patches, so I watered down the the icing that was left and poured it over the top for a second layer, smoothing it out flat, I still ended up with some bald patches, but I personally think that gives it character. Lol.
I finally finished off with some store bought festive icing tokens, and I used a Happy Christmas stencil to spray on the background using Wilton Colour Mist and finished using the stencil background as a guide using icing pens to write Happy Christmas. This wasn’t the initial plan, as I was hoping to just use the spray for the happy Christmas, but the spray didn’t come out all that well defined, so quick improvisation and I am pretty happy with the results.
All that’s left now is to attend the Christmas lunch with my partner with the cake and see what everyone thinks.. Very excited to see what everyone thinks….
Untill Next Time Eat Well!