How to Make a Holiday Christmas Cake
Christmas is one of the most anticipated holiday celebrations every year when friends and families gather and share a sumptuous meal. But what is a Christmas dinner without a Christmas cake? The old English tradition started Christmas Eve as a night to feast on a plum porridge after fasting for a day.
As years passed, a simple porridge gradually transformed into a tastier and more appealing food. Honey, spices, and dried fruits became great additions to the mixture until the porridge turned into a pudding. At the dawn of the sixteenth century, some ingredients were added to the original recipe. These ingredients include eggs, butter, and wheat flour. On the other hand, oatmeal was eliminated.
The wealthy families started baking fruit cakes in their ovens, and when Christmas came, they added spices and seasonal fruits to their cake. The spices were representatives of the eastern spices carried by the three Wise Men; hence, the birth of Christmas cakes.
Christmas cakes come in different variations, but they are all fruitcakes.Some Christmas cakes can be dark, light, spongy, dense, dry, or moist. They are baked in different forms, with dusting, glazing, and frosting. Other variants of Christmas cakes have a mincemeat and apple creme cake. A mincemeat has vegetarian or traditional mincemeat while an apple creme has raisins, apples, whipping cream, and cream cheese.
Now that we have a background on the history and variations of Christmas cakes let’s get to the preparation and cooking.
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 hours and 30 minutes
- Small melted butter for greasing purposes
- 800 grams of dried mixed fruits
- 2 cups flour (plain)
- 1 cup flour (self-raising)
- ⅓ cup brandy
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 ½ tsp mixed spice
- Blanched almonds
- 1 tbsp of orange rind finely grated
- 250 grams butter preferably unsalted
- 2 tbsps of apricot jam
- ½ cup orange juice
- 410 g mince jar fruit
For the dried mixed fruits, I used the following:
- Sunbeam flame raisins
- Ocean spray craisins
- Red cherries
- Pitt dates
- A Quarter cup of mixed peel
- Cake pan
- Baking paper non-stick
- Large saucepan
- Large tea towel
First Step: Preheat
Preheat the oven to a temperature of 150 deg Celsius. Using your melted butter, grease the cake pan. On the base and side of the cake pan, place three layers of your baking paper non-stick, extending on top of the edge for about 5 centimeters.
Second Step: Mix
Mix the following ingredients: orange juice and rind, fruit mince, and dried fruit in a big saucepan. Place the mixture on a medium-low heat. Cook everything for ten minutes. Make sure to stir the mixture continuously until you achieve the soft texture of the fruits. Once the fruits are soft, take the pan off the heat. Let it cool for about 30 minutes. Then, pour the brandy into the mixture. Continue stirring.
Third Step: Add the other ingredients
Put the sugar into the mixture. Add butter. Stir everything together. Then, add the mixed spice and flours. Continue stirring. Then, add four eggs one at a time. Stir until the mixture is properly combined. Transfer everything in a pan. Smoothen the surface. Tap the pan lightly to allow the mixture to settle. Place almonds over your cake.
Fourth Step: Bake
Bake everything in the oven for three hours and 30 minutes. Remove the finished product from the oven if the skewer comes out clean after inserting it into the cake. Cover the cake using foil. Brush the cake using your apricot jam or any jam of your preference. Wrap the completed cake in a tea towel and let it cool overnight.
Fifth Step: Transfer
Transfer the cake to a platter. Once ready, serve!
Here’s a video that shows how to make a Christmas cake.
Secrets to Making Christmas Cake Perfect
Your Christmas cake should be prepared in advance of the occasion in which they will be utilized. Store the cake for at least a month to bring out all the tasty ingredients. If your storage equipment is dry and cool, two to four months of preserving the cake is not a long period at all. Christmas cakes freeze extremely well. Nonetheless, before freezing, Christmas cakes should be approximately four weeks from the time they were made because they do not soften at all when they are frozen. The texture remains the same.
Preparing the ingredients for your Christmas cake is relatively easy. But in some aspects, it can also be daunting. Before making your Christmas cake, you need to prepare the fruits that you want to incorporate in the recipe as well as the nuts. Pour the liquor that you have chosen to use for your Christmas cake and cover your mixture. Leave it for about two or three days.
When baking your Christmas cake, make sure to use a low temperature. Avoid setting the temperature more than 325 degrees. Make sure to use the brown or waxed paper in lining your pans to prevent burning, particularly during long hours of baking. Place a pan of warm water on your oven’s floor to prevent drying out of your cake. Constantly check the cake for doneness. When it is ready, you will notice that the skewer will be moist and not doughy.
Allow your Christmas cake to cool well. Once they are cooled, remove it from the pan and peel off the brown paper you used in lining the pan. If you do not have any intention of decorating your Christmas cake, cover them using a cheesecloth. Moreover, try to sprinkle using wine or liquor. Cover the Christmas cake using a plastic wrap. To retain the cake’s delicious aroma and flavor, spray the cake with liquor for at least once a week.
Other Ways To Make A Tasty Christmas Cake
There are several other strategies you can employ to make sure you make only the perfect Christmas cake. Let us begin with the recipe. Are you the type of person who sticks to what is indicated in the recipe instruction? That’s fine, and that is not bad at all. However, you can always improve what you do by being more experimental and creative. That’s right! Do not be afraid to be inventive.
Did the recipe indicate that you use a brandy? Do you have it? If you don’t, then relax. There are alternatives. You can substitute brandy with wine or an orange fruit juice. Does the recipe tell you to use fruits that are not available in your location, find other substitutes for those fruits? So, you hate raisins too. That’s fine. You can use chopped dates instead.
What kind of ingredients are you using? Are they all fresh and in good condition? Try soaking up your nuts and fruits in liquors or fruit juice overnight. Empty the container and utilize the remaining liquid in your recipe. If there is excess flour, shake them off. If you are changing pan, know that the baking time will differ as well. Most importantly, grease your pan all the time before starting.
Pick out only the first-class dried fruit as well as nuts: double-check that nuts are crisp without the taint of rancidity. For a good consistency in the cake, slice all fruits. Any mixture of fruit works extremely well - it should be equivalent weight to that utilized in the recipes. Ensure that the flavors compliment each other well. Soak fruit, when necessary, at least overnight. Wrap fruit when immersing to avoid evaporation of fluid.
Decorate Your Christmas Cake
What a better way to make the celebration more festive than making the cake look like it. Christmas is a joyous celebration, an occasion that makes us remember the light of this world - Jesus. Spreading the habit of giving and sharing each year, here are ways to decorate your fruitcake and ensure smiles on the receivers’ faces. Decorating the cake comes in various forms, and the choice is entirely up to you.
Traditionally, the ginger men are one of the symbols of Christmas. But to make it as a decor on a Christmas cake is indeed a big twist. When I gave a Christmas cake to a friend, he was all stunned and amazed at how wonderfully the ginger men cake was made. If you have little tots at home, this ginger man decorated Christmas cake will make a perfect choice. You can top it up with snowball and candy canes decorations.
Do you prefer a non-traditional Christmas cake and get away from the green and red colors? A winter woodland is just great. You may add designs such as sprayed pine cones, deer, bears, mushrooms, and evergreens. This is an eye-catching decor that will mesmerize your little kids at home.
Chocolate Christmas Cake
Who doesn’t love chocolates? This type of decor can truly make everyone in the family involved. No matter what, the cake will have a static appearance once the cake is added with a modern and special decor.
A sparkling glitter or blue icing ready to eat is one of the best additions to you Christmas cake. The snowflakes may come in different sizes. You can use a ready-made biscuit and cover it with a white fondant. This will surely give an impressive and classy appearance.
Have you seen those round green wreaths hanging on the doors during Christmas season? You can add that feel to your cake by decorating the fruitcake with green wreaths. For a twist, you may add small multi-colored balls that will represent the Christmas balls placed on wreaths.
What is Christmas without the man believed to be a representative of giving and sharing? Santa Claus has been a consistent giver during holiday season, making children anticipates what they will be getting. Decorate your Christmas cake with this old bearded guy in a red suit and black belt and see how your children would react.
Christmas cakes have been part of the Christmas tradition. There are other ways to make the basic fruitcake, and the creativity will solely depend on you. But to make the cake look more festive, decorate it. How do you make your Christmas cake? What additional ingredients do you use to make it tastier? Share your ideas with us and together let’s make the coming holiday season a memorable and more festive one.
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