How to make your Christmas cake a success
I think it’s never too early to start thinking about your Christmas cake. I can’t understand why humans only eat Christmas cake for Christmas but that’s a subject for a different post. Working in the kitchen with Mrs Claus, I have picked up a tip or two about baking the perfect Christmas cake. Read on for tips that will help you bake a cake as good as the one she bakes for Santa! For one of my favourite Christmas Cake recipes click here.
- Bake your Christmas Cake on the last Sunday before Advent – your cake will taste better if it has time to mature
- Double line the baking tin and wrap tin with double layer brown paper to stop cake burning on a long bake
- Preheat your oven. Mrs Claus says it is important – if a big quantity of cake mixture goes into a cold oven, it will take along time for the oven to reach the correct temperature and the cake will not cook correctly.
- Start baking the cake at a higher temperature for an hour and then reduce the temperature for the remaining time.
- Be patient. Don’t raise the oven temperature to cook the cake quicker – you’ll risk burning the top (I learned this from experience)
- Bake a practice cake, so you can make changes if needed. This is a good tip if you are trying a new recipe and my favourite tip as you get to eat two cakes!
- Take the butter out of the fridge to soften it before mixing
- Toss your fruit with a dusting of flour to stop it sticking together in clumps
- Add a large grated carrot into the mixture to help keep the cake moist – that’s not a tip from Mrs Claus but from a reindeer!
- Use unrefined sugar, it will give it more flavour and colour
- Check it is cooked inside with a skewer before you take it out of the oven
- Buy a good quality tin and good quality ingredients – your cake will taste better
Fruit, nuts and flavour ideas
- Add chopped dry apricots, dried cherries and cranberries to add colour to the mix
- Try a mix of Cranberries, pistachios, dried mango and dried pineapple for a more exotic flavour
- Roast nuts before adding as it will bring out the flavour as well as add some crunch
Liquids to feed the cake / mix the batter with
- Use orange, apple juice or tea instead of brandy to make an alcohol free cake
- Calvados will add a hint of apple flavour
- Marinate fruit and almonds overnight with tea, juice and /or brandy before baking
- Try soaking your fruit with ginger beer for a lovely spicy flavour
- Dust edible glitter on the icing for a little Christmas sparkle
- Decorate with shop bought little marzipan fruits for a cute and colourful look.
- Use ribbons and silver/gold balls
- Remember to coat your cake with a little boiled apricot jam before you cover it with marzipan so it sticks on nicely
- Make snowman cake pops to stick in the Traditional Christmas cake — Striking and popular with kids!
Last but not least
Make sure everyone in the family has a stir of the cake mix and makes a wish. It adds extra magic and makes the cake taste better!