The C Word

You might not want to hear it yet. In fact, some of you may be determined to ignore that what I’m about to say is true. But, true it is, and say it I must. Christmas is less than seven weeks away. I know, I know, that’s still 47 days and it’s only just November, but, for the rich fruit cakes we Brits like to have at Christmas, that’s not very long at all.

 As you may or may not know, the beauty of Christmas cake is that it is soaked in brandy (or sherry or whatever tipple you prefer) for the weeks leading up to the big day. Yes, weeks. Not days, not hours, but weeks. So really, time is of the essence, and if we want a big boozy bash come 25 December, we need to get baking.

We have taken it upon ourselves to find some of the best Christmas cake recipes out there, so that you can seize the day and get cracking with your festive bakes. Our top tip? Before you start baking, soak your dried fruit in tea, rather than alcohol for a much richer flavour. Don’t worry, you can still feed it with booze between now and C-day! Or you could alternate between tea and tipple! Go on, give it a go…

 First off, the Dundee cake.

dundee

This is the Scottish version of a traditional Christmas cake that features almonds arranged as a pretty decoration. There is no icing in sight for this recipe, so opt for this one if you aren’t much of a sweet tooth, or if you think you will have had enough sugar with all the other Christmas treats. For a modern twist, we think a cup of Roobios would go down well with this particular cake.

A wise man once said that good things come in small packages, and we think he might have been onto something.

mini cake

If you haven’t got hoards of family members descending on you this December, or if some of your group aren’t really into fruit cake (it sounds bizarre but it happens) then you aren’t going to want a massive cake lying around until Easter. Instead, here is a genius way of baking small but perfectly formed versions. Want to know the secret? Of course you do – baked bean tins!

Ok, let that sink in.

Good. To properly enjoy this little wonder, you need to crack out your most dainty tea set and the most elegant of teas, Earl Grey. It would just be wrong any other way, wouldn’t it?

Now, it wouldn’t be a round up if we didn’t include the classic, the staple, the oh-so-wonderful, calling out to be topped with royal icing, fruit cake.

 traditional

From painstakingly chopping blanched almonds to waiting the epic 3 hours for it to bake, this recipe includes every step you need to make a beautiful Christmas cake to astound your guests. An old family tip (which you might hate me for) is to chop the almonds into matchsticks. It takes forever but it’s such a wonderful textural element. Plus you’ll be making my Nana proud. This old favourite has to be enjoyed with a pot of good strong English Breakfast tea. It’s the law.

 So there you have it. Plenty of ideas for a scrummy treat this Christmas. If you are feeling brave you could even have a go at icing it like this…

 robin

Let’s get baking! Pop the kettle on.

 

Let’s get baking! Pop the kettle on.

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