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Thread: Christmas Cake

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    Default Christmas Cake

    Anyone here a cake maker, or perhaps just makes a Christmas cake each year?

    I just made one today, so now the whole house smells of warm cake, fruit and French brandy! It's rather nice. Last time I did this was probably in the early 90s. While I am confident in my baking skills, and it isn't a difficult recipe, it is always nice to see it coming out of the oven looking as it should. Just fed it with a bit more brandy and now waiting for it to cool completely so I can get it in storage.

    Does anyone have any hints or tips for adding marzipan and royal icing? I think that the last time I may have coated the top and sides with apricot jam and then a thin layer of marzipan, and then a thicker layer of icing. Decorating using an icing bag or similar device is something I have not tried, so I may have a go at some simple patterns.

    I love cooking generally, but as a diabetic these days I don't do a lot of baking (most recently savoury mooncakes using homemade flaky pastry and a family secret recipe, for the Chinese mid-Autumn festival - half my family are Chinese you see!).

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    Default Re: Christmas Cake

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Anyone here a cake maker, or perhaps just makes a Christmas cake each year?

    I just made one today, so now the whole house smells of warm cake, fruit and French brandy! It's rather nice. Last time I did this was probably in the early 90s. While I am confident in my baking skills, and it isn't a difficult recipe, it is always nice to see it coming out of the oven looking as it should. Just fed it with a bit more brandy and now waiting for it to cool completely so I can get it in storage.

    Does anyone have any hints or tips for adding marzipan and royal icing? I think that the last time I may have coated the top and sides with apricot jam and then a thin layer of marzipan, and then a thicker layer of icing. Decorating using an icing bag or similar device is something I have not tried, so I may have a go at some simple patterns.

    I love cooking generally, but as a diabetic these days I don't do a lot of baking (most recently savoury mooncakes using homemade flaky pastry and a family secret recipe, for the Chinese mid-Autumn festival - half my family are Chinese you see!).
    Given it is early November, by Christmas this cake will have become a metaphor for its creator.
    Stale, impermeable and totally unpalatable.

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    Default Re: Christmas Cake

    Quote Originally Posted by 724Seney View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Anyone here a cake maker, or perhaps just makes a Christmas cake each year?

    I just made one today, so now the whole house smells of warm cake, fruit and French brandy! It's rather nice. Last time I did this was probably in the early 90s. While I am confident in my baking skills, and it isn't a difficult recipe, it is always nice to see it coming out of the oven looking as it should. Just fed it with a bit more brandy and now waiting for it to cool completely so I can get it in storage.

    Does anyone have any hints or tips for adding marzipan and royal icing? I think that the last time I may have coated the top and sides with apricot jam and then a thin layer of marzipan, and then a thicker layer of icing. Decorating using an icing bag or similar device is something I have not tried, so I may have a go at some simple patterns.

    I love cooking generally, but as a diabetic these days I don't do a lot of baking (most recently savoury mooncakes using homemade flaky pastry and a family secret recipe, for the Chinese mid-Autumn festival - half my family are Chinese you see!).
    Given it is early November, by Christmas this cake will have become a metaphor for its creator.
    Stale, impermeable and totally unpalatable.




    Making Xmas cakes this early or even earlier is standard practice as the cake needs to mature. Happy to provide a little education as always.


    For those with a genuine interest the recipe I used was from the BBC Good Food guide
    Last edited by Empty_of_Clouds; November 5th, 2022 at 04:51 PM.

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    Default Re: Christmas Cake

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by 724Seney View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Anyone here a cake maker, or perhaps just makes a Christmas cake each year?

    I just made one today, so now the whole house smells of warm cake, fruit and French brandy! It's rather nice. Last time I did this was probably in the early 90s. While I am confident in my baking skills, and it isn't a difficult recipe, it is always nice to see it coming out of the oven looking as it should. Just fed it with a bit more brandy and now waiting for it to cool completely so I can get it in storage.

    Does anyone have any hints or tips for adding marzipan and royal icing? I think that the last time I may have coated the top and sides with apricot jam and then a thin layer of marzipan, and then a thicker layer of icing. Decorating using an icing bag or similar device is something I have not tried, so I may have a go at some simple patterns.

    I love cooking generally, but as a diabetic these days I don't do a lot of baking (most recently savoury mooncakes using homemade flaky pastry and a family secret recipe, for the Chinese mid-Autumn festival - half my family are Chinese you see!).
    Given it is early November, by Christmas this cake will have become a metaphor for its creator.
    Stale, impermeable and totally unpalatable.

    Why did you feel it appropriate to drop a nasty comment in this thread?


    And FYI, making Xmas cakes this early or even earlier is standard practice as the cake needs to mature. Happy to provide a little education as always.
    "Appropriate?"
    Something else you know nothing about EoC.

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    Default Re: Christmas Cake

    Sorry about this interruption to what was meant as a thread about baking. The troll above has been reported.

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    Default Re: Christmas Cake

    I plan to make mine sometime in the next couple of weeks - it will be a challenge this year as we've not switched the Aga on after the summer, and won't be doing so until early December, so I'm going to have to bake it in my microwave combi oven, which will bring a whole new set of challenges!

    My recipe is very similar to the James Martin one, but I feed with rum rather than brandy and leave out some ingredients that nobody in the family likes.

    None of us are huge royal icing fans, so I usually just ice the top (and yes, jam, then homemade marzipan before the icing). I make the marzipan mainly as an excuse to eat all the leftovers myself as I love the stuff!

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    Default Re: Christmas Cake

    Love it!

    I would dearly love to own an Aga, but too costly here. Maybe in my retirement (if I get that far). Although the recipe I used this time says to use sherry, brandy, whiskey or rum, I've always felt that brandy was a better fit for the flavours. Of course, it's a matter of taste, and the last time I baked an Xmas cake (with a different recipe) I used whiskey, which gave an interesting result. Rum I've always associated with puddings, though others go for brandy here! Perhaps next year I will try a rum approach. Do you recommend a dark, spiced or white rum?


    Royal icing was what I grew up with, so I guess that's why I stuck with it. For a while my Mum toyed with what was then known as American frosting, but it wasn't a hit in our family. We also ate our cake with Wensleydale cheese, a nice sharpy tangy compliment to the rich fruity cake. Sounds weird but if you can get some it is worth a try at least.

    And yes, eating all the sweet leftovers from the preparation of cakes is definitely one of the perks!!

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    Default Re: Christmas Cake

    The cost is why ours isn't on yet this autumn - and the kitchen feels distinctly chilly as a result. However, with gas costs as they are here right now, there's just no choice. It's been challenging to say the least as I'm so used to being able to just throw stuff in there and know it will come out as I expect.

    I use a medium dark rum - usually a Mountgay from Barbados or English Harbour 5 year old from Antigua. If I didn't have rum, I'd opt for brandy though - sherry and Madeira are strictly for the trifles.

    We also love cheese with cake - either Wensleydale or Stilton. Cheddar with apple pie too...

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    Default Re: Christmas Cake

    Fantastic! Do you mind if I ask where you are? You mention rum from Barbados and Antigua. I am familiar with rum from Jamaica (from a holiday there a long time ago!).

    Cake and cheese, who would have thought it was a great combination. My Mum's side of the family is from Yorkshire (UK, sorry if you already know that) where it is a tradition.

    Agree on the sherry/Madeira for trifles. They both definitely have the taste of desserts to me too.

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    Default Re: Christmas Cake

    Since my wife and I have recently become grandparents, we will be travelling for the week before Christmas to be with my son, his wife, and new child. I don't think that we will be able to manage many of our holiday food rituals, and this kind of cake has never been a part of it. But we will be happy, anyway!! Have fun with your baking! The descriptions here are enticing!

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    Default Re: Christmas Cake

    Two things which add to the anticipatory excitement for me are one, what is it going to taste like in 7 weeks' time, and two, how much of a hilarious disaster is my first attempt at decorative icing likely to be!

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    Default Re: Christmas Cake

    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    Since my wife and I have recently become grandparents…
    Congratulations.

    It's amazing how much panic one honest man can spread among a multitude of hypocrites.
    - Thomas Sowell

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    Default Re: Christmas Cake

    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    Since my wife and I have recently become grandparents, we will be travelling for the week before Christmas to be with my son, his wife, and new child. I don't think that we will be able to manage many of our holiday food rituals, and this kind of cake has never been a part of it. But we will be happy, anyway!! Have fun with your baking! The descriptions here are enticing!
    Congrats here too!

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    Default Re: Christmas Cake

    Congrats

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    Default Re: Christmas Cake

    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    Since my wife and I have recently become grandparents, we will be travelling for the week before Christmas to be with my son, his wife, and new child. I don't think that we will be able to manage many of our holiday food rituals, and this kind of cake has never been a part of it. But we will be happy, anyway!! Have fun with your baking! The descriptions here are enticing!
    Congratulations and best wishes to you and your wife on becoming grandparents!
    As your grandchild gets older sharing holidays, and holiday food rituals, is a never ending source of joy.
    Safe travels, and happy holidays.

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    Default Re: Christmas Cake

    Thanks, everyone, but I shouldn't have distracted the thread.

    I became distracted by what an "Aga" might be....and I learned an interesting back story....

    But back to recipes!

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    Default Re: Christmas Cake

    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    Thanks, everyone, but I shouldn't have distracted the thread.
    No worries at all TSherbs. Almost all of the threads on here are distracted to a greater or a lesser degree.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Christmas Cake

    Indeed they are @Chrissy, but don't think anyone will mind a distraction for a joyous event.

    Usually for Christmas, at least certainly as I was growing up in the UK, there would be the trifecta for desserts of cake, pudding, and trifle. In our house the cake was made by Mum, the pudding bought, and the trifle made by Nan. My wife doesn't like pudding but she is quite keen on a trifle! So I need to search out a decent recipe for that next.

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