A trio of Christmas Cakes

I am gradually catching up with my Christmas preparations, cards are written and posted, parcels posted, presents are all bought or made (I think!!) tree is up and I have just got round to decorating the Christmas cakes…

Ideally Christmas cakes are made about 6-8 weeks before Christmas, to allow them to mature and give you time to feed them with alcohol! I don’t tend to feed mine, whereas my sister feeds hers so much you can’t eat it and drive! One year she asked me to decorate a cake for a special occasion, she’d been feeding it brandy for weeks, when I put it on a cake board it seemed to slump to one side, ‘Ruth’ I said, ‘this cake is drunk!’

I made my cake a couple of weeks ago, I always follow Delia Smith’s recipe from my 30 year old cookbook, but I’ve just found the recipe on line so I can share a link with you.  For those of you not familiar with a rich fruit cake it’s basically a sponge cake made with soft brown sugar and a bit of treacle so it’s a nice dark colour, then it is just full of dried fruit, like an 8″ cake has about 2lb of fruit, currents (50%) sultanas, raisins, cut peel etc. It takes several hours to cook on a vary low heat, double wrapped with baking parchment so it doesn’t burn round the edge. Christmas Cake

I made two cakes, an 8″ hexagonal one for us and a little one for a Christmas present. I rather like the hexagonal tin, I hired one for my children’s Christening cakes and decided after hiring it twice I may as well buy one! It’s probable my most used special occasion cake tin. A couple of nights ago I covered them in marzipan, I prefer the white to the bright yellow marzipan. I melt some apricot jam to stick it on with, it’s meant to be an apricot glaze but jam is much cheaper and I can use what’s left on my toast! I learnt the hard way with marzipan that a coating of icing is only as good as the marzipan underneath, so it’s worth taking time to smooth it and polish it. I usually turn my cakes upside down so I have a perfectly flat top, some people are very against it but I prefer it to trimming the top with a knife as the crumbs stick to everything. I also fill in any little holes or gaps with little blobs of marzipan first.

Once the marzipan was on it was a simple task to cover the cake with sugarpaste, I’ve always used water to stick it on without any problems. Books usually call for clear alcohal, I never used to like clear spirits and I wasn’t going to buy a bottle just for cakes!

I wanted a fairly simple and quick decoration this year. I remembered some sugarpaste white roses I found a few weeks ago in a box in the kitchen, they were left from a wedding cake I did last year! There were just enough to make a simple arrangement in the middle, not quite Christmas roses, but close enough! I used some silver gypsophillia to fill in the gaps. A pretty ribbon round the bottom and six silver draghees finished it off.Decoarting Christmas Cakes

The second cake needed to be flat iced as I know the recipient doesn’t like sugarpaste. I’m getting better at flat icing, it’s not perfect as I didn’t have time to do the sides one night and the top the next night, but it’s good enough for Christmas! My original plan was to do a spiky sort of top but I couldn’t get the icing to peak nicely, so I flat iced it in a circle. Today I tied a tartan ribbon round it,  I then picked some osmanthus from the garden, wired a couple of red bells and tied a red ribbon round it. The bottom edge needed neatening up[ a bit so I piped a little shell border right on the edge.Holly and Tartan Christmas Cake

My final cake is a bit of a family tradition. I started making gingerbread houses about 20 years ago, I used to get them flat-packed from IKEA. I used to make about 20 and sell them at work, it helped pay for Christmas! Nowadays I use a gingerbread house from Morrisons, I don’t think the design is as pretty, but the gingerbread tastes a lot nicer and it’s a lot more convenient to buy.

Now the kids have grown up I just decorate them with white icing, rather than lots of sweets. I decorate them flat and then put the house together with a line of icing. I cover the board with a rough layer of icing too which looks like snow and helps to keep the house solid. It looks a bit rough and ready this year but it all goes down the same way !

I think I’ve just got presents to wrap and the final food shop and I’m about ready for Christmas, how are you doing?White roses Christmas Cake

About craftycreeky

I live in a busy market town in Yorkshire with my husband, kids, dogs and chickens. I love trying new crafts, rediscovering old ones, gardening, walking...anything creative really I started this blog after my New Year resolution worked so well. My resolution (the first one I've ever kept!) was to post a photograph of my garden on Facebook every day. My hope was that I would then see what was good in the garden and not just weeds and work, which was my tendency. The unexpected side-effect was that I have enjoyed many more hours in the garden. I am hoping that 'The Crafty Creek' will have the same effect. Happy creating!
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7 Responses to A trio of Christmas Cakes

  1. kathyreeves says:

    Beautiful and simple cakes, very elegant, Margaret! They sound delicious! I am finishing my Christmas shopping tomorrow, I think. Girl #1 will be home so I’m hoping she can help me sneak DH’s gift into the house! Today, I gave Max a bath, so he is all ready to snuggle up with one of his girls. 😄 Just laundry and cleaning today!

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  2. Kate says:

    Your cakes look gorgeous!

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  3. katechiconi says:

    I love both icing and marzipan on my Christmas cake, but no-one else does, so my Christmas cakes are always naked 😦 I made mine about a week ago, and it’s had almost daily feeds of booze, but not very much, just a spoonful at a time. I use sultanas, cherries, chopped dates, dried apricots and prunes and glacé pineapple, as well as orange zest and juice, so it’s a very fruity cake indeed!

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  4. MrsCraft says:

    They are all lovely. We decorate a gingerbread house on christmas eve and leave a piece of the roof out for Santa’s treat!

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  5. You are a very talented cake decorator – beautiful! I need to get my Christmas cards started!

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  6. Deb says:

    The cake is beautiful! The gifts are all taken care of here but the food I haven’t started on yet,nor finished the cleaning .. I have a few more days yet before family starts to pour in.

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  7. Pingback: A Little Bit of Sparkle | thecraftycreek

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