Across the world there are several traditions that we like to keep at Christmas time. In the UK many household will spend at least two months making and feeding Christmas cake with brandy or a liquor of their choice.
Having never made a Christmas cake before I felt that it was about time that I made one. I had also promised myself to make some of the Grandmothers recipes before the year was out. Having hunted through her recipe books I stumbled across two recipes for Christmas cake that I liked the sound of.
Having made some adjustments I was happy with my final version of the recipe. You can find my recipe for the cake here on my blog.
After two months of feeding the cake with brandy I was hoping for something that was going to taste sweet and rich, but also something that would be moist and as a bonus would be light in texture.
A couple of days before Christmas I was like a kid in a candy store as I removed the cake from the under the stairs and into the daylight for the first time in weeks. I carefully unwrapped it from the foil and baking paper and placed in on its cake board. I was beaming. It smelled really good and from the outside it looked moist and rich with sweet fruit and earthy nuts.
In my head I had a design in mind. I wanted to keep it simple and elegant. My childhood memories of seeing my Grandma decorate her cakes with the figures and royal icing were flooding back. But I wanted to make this my cake. So I opted for a soft roll out icing as I like the texture of it and its sweetness. I also used marzipan as a base layer. After leaving the marzipan to dry out for a day I rolled out the icing and placed it on my cake. Having learnt a trick or two from watching hours of cooking programmes I smoothed the icing over and left to settle for a couple of hours.
To me Christmas is about sparkles and having stocked up on edible glitter I sprinkled over the silver and then used gold on the outside edge of the cake. With a splash of purple in the middle I was ready to place on the figures. I then used green icing to make holly leaves and with some red icing I made a few berries. I think simple is best – it is about substance over style and not the other way round. The cake once finished looked elegant and I know that my Grandmother would have been beaming if she could have seen it. I was.
My verdict… This is really light and tasty fruit cake. Yes it’s a little crumbly in the middle, but the extra fruit that I added really helped keep the cake moist. By not over mixing the batter when assembling the cake made it not too heavy and it was one of the lightest fruit cakes that I had tasted. But I am my own worst critique and of course will make some tweaks for next years cake.
The verdict of family and friends was also pleasing… “A rich, moist and light fruit cake.” One friend was so impressed that they wanted a second slice.
Sometimes I have no idea how my bakes will turn out, but I think you just have to have experiment and trust in your own knowledge. I don’t think that this cake was perfect, but I was not disappointed with it. It tasted great and the texture was almost there. For my first christmas cake I am still beaming from ear to ear and will be for months to come.
Happy gluten free baking 🙂