The Origin of Cakes
While the exact origin of the word cake is not certain, the closest guess is it probably comes from Old Norse kaka. On entering the English language in the early 13th century, the word denoted a small, flat and round bread loaf. It was later in the 15th century that cake begun to denote and more or less look like our contemporary cake, eventually turning in to a celebratory elaboration of bread.
Timing is essential for all Christmas cakes given that all Christmas cakes are prepared in advance. Usually, Christmas cakes are made in November keeping the cake upside down in an airtight container. Considerable amounts of brandy, sherry or whiskey are poured in the cake temporary holes per week until the long-awaited Christmas day.
Christmas is that time of the year when you would love to treat your loved ones to a mouth watering taste of cake. Well, you need to try out these traditional cake recipes to enjoy the birth of Jesus Christ and this time of festivities with your loved ones.
Cake: The Masterpiece of Celebrations
Celebrations are closely associated with food and eating. Even though different types of food are used to celebrate different occasions in different homes, cake still takes on the lead role in celebrating special occasions and holidays such as Christmas.
Four Traditional Cake Recipes for Christmas
Nigella Lawson's traditional Chritmas-Spiced Chocolate Cake recipe
Are you thinking of making that cherished Christmas cake? Well if you are, there is this amazing Nigella Lawson's traditional spiced chocolate cake that you must give a try.
Ingredients for Spiced Chocolate Cake
For the cake
- One cup plus one tablespoon of all purpose flour
- 100 grams of light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of mixed spices
- 120 ml of full-fat milk
- 60 ml of vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder and
- 4 table spoons of chocolate powder
For the cake topping:
- 200 grams of light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon of mixed spice
- 6 teaspoons of unsalted butter at room temperature
- 500 ml of boiling water and
- 350ml of heavy whipped cream
Steps to Make the Cake
- Step 1: Preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius or 428 degrees Fahrenheit and put a baking sheet on the shelf. Begin making the sponge by putting the flour, brown sugar, chocolate powder, baking powder, ground ginger, mixed spice, milk, oil and egg in a wide bowl and use a mingling stick to mix these ingredients.
- Step 2: Pour the mixture inside a greased, round baking dish that could be around 23 cm in diameter and 6 cm deep and set the dish aside.
- Step 3: For the topping side, get a small bowl and mix the brown sugar, ground ginger and mixed spice and sprinkle over the batter that was set aside in its baking dish. Gently dot the butter on top and pour boiling water over the mixture.
- Step 4: Place the dish on to the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. When ready, wait for the cake to stand for 10 minutes before serving and ensure that you scoop out the sauce beneath the sponge in the dish.
- Step 5: Serve to 6 or 8 people with the whipped cream on top.
Moist Fruit Cake Recipe
This is the kind of cake that is ideal for the lovers of fruits during the Christmas season.
Ingredients for Moist Fruit Cake
- 500 g of all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons of baking powder
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder
- 200 g of sugar
- 1 sachet of vanilla sugar
- 4 drops of sweet almond extract
- 1 tablespoon of rum
- Half a tablespoon of ground cardamom
- Half a tablespoon of ground nutmeg
- 2 eggs
- 175 grams of butter
- 100 grams of dried currants
- 50 grams of candied ginger or orange peel
- Zest of 1 orange
- 250 quark (or sour cream/ cream cheese) and
- 50 grams of ground almonds
For the icing, use the following:
- 50 grams of butter
- 50 grams of powdered sugar
Steps to Make the Moist Fruit Cake
- Step 1: Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, almond meal, cardamom and nutmeg in a processor and whiz it. Add in chilled grated butter and process until you get breadcrumbs formed.
- Step 2: Get a medium sized bowl and whisk together quark, eggs, almond extract and rum. Add wet ingredients to flour mix, and stir together until all the dry ingredients are moistened and combine together in to a dough ball that is sticky and workable.
- Step 3: Knead on well-floured work surface, putting extra flour until it forms a good, soft, smooth and not so sticky dough.
- Step 4: Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees Celsius. Bake for 45 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius and then for more 15 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius.
Traditional Irish Christmas Cake
Ingredients for Traditional Irish Christmas Cake
- 450 g sultans
- 225 g currants
- 100 g glace (candied) cherries, halved or whole, not chopped
- 50 g mixed candied peel, finely chopped
- A half tablespoon of ground mixed spice or pudding spice
- Half teaspoon cinnamon
- Half tsp vanilla essence
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
- 1 large or 2 small apples, finely grated
- 100 g slivered almonds
- 1 tablespoon golden syrup
- 4 tablespoons of Irish Whisky
- 280 g of Irish butter
- 225 g soft brown sugar
- 5 eggs
- 280 g plain (all-purpose) flour
- 50 g ground almonds
- Half teaspoon of salt
Utensils and equipment needed:
- 2 large mixing bowls
- An electric mixer
- A 9" round or 8" square cake tin that has straight sides
- Greaseproof paper, brown paper and string
It will take you up to 3 days to bake and finish making the traditional Irish Christmas Cake.
Making the Irish Christmas Cake
- Prepare the fruits. A night before baking the cake, put all the ingredients down inclusive of whiskey into a bowl and mix well. In an overnight, cover and leave the fruit to soak in the whiskey and fruit juice. Now and again lift the cover to relish the amazing smell. Pre-soaking adds immensely to the moistness of the finished cake.
- When preparing the cake tin, carefully first line the tin with silicone or grease-proof paper that is smeared with butter and extend the paper a little over the top of the cake tin. Afterwards, fold a length of brown paper to have of paper with several thick layers. Around the outside of the tin, wrap this paper and tightly tie it securely in place with a string. Your tin should be almost invisibly wrapped up.
- Cut an extra piece of silicone paper, fold it into two and cut out a square or circle about the size of your cake tin. In the double sheet centre, make 2 cuts in the shape of a cross and set this and the tin aside for the next day.
- Pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees Celsius and 280 degrees Celsius for fan ovens. A long slow cook does not let the fruit burn. Add butter and sugar into a bowl and whisk with a mixer till a pale color arises. Add and mix one egg at a time to avoid curdling of the mixture. In the event of curdling, simply add a dessert spoonful or two of flour, mix that in and then add a spoonful of flour with each subsequent egg. Mix the ground almonds, flour and salt together and fold in to the butter/sugar/egg mix without using a mixer. Add the fruit and mix up everything by your hands or even a wooden spoon and the resulting mixture should be thick and quite sticky.
- Spoon the mix in to the lined cake tin, smoothing the batter out as you go. Once it is all in, use a large metal spoon that is dipped in cold water to smooth the surface so that around the edges of the tin, the mix is slightly higher than it is in the centre.
- Tuck the square of silicone paper with the cross shaped cut in it loosely over the cake top to stop the cake from over browning.
- Put the cake in to an oven for 3 and a half hours. Check for cake readiness by inserting a metal skewer in to the cake center. In case the skewer is dry, then the cake is ready. For a half cooked cake, bake it for 30 more minutes.
- When the cake is done, set it aside to cool completely in the tin until the next day before removing it.
- Carefully remove the cake from the tin by letting a palette knife in between the cake tin and paper lining paper off the cake. Now, turn the cake upside down and pierce it in 5 to 6 places using a thick skewer. Pour half a teaspoon of whiskey in to each hole. Repeat the cake feeding process every week to 10 days towards Christmas.
- Wrap the cake completely and fairly tightly with silicone or grease proof paper held by an elastic string and put the cake in an air tight tin.
Use Marzipan as Icing on the Cake
- Marzipan icing is added about a week before Christmas. You can either buy the marzipan or make it yourself. This is the recipe for making marzipan icing.
- 300 g castor caster sugar
- 100 g icing sugar
- 500 g ground almonds
- 2 medium or large eggs
- One orange
- A few drops of almond essence and
- A little apricot jam
Steps to make marzipan:
- Making marzipan icing is a simple process. Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and beat the eggs. Add orange juice to the eggs and the almond essence if you so like. Mix everything altogether till it is very stiff and quite hard to bring together and can make a firm ball. Warm a little apricot jam and brush over the cake top so that the icing sticks to the cake. Pull off lumps of icing about the size of an egg and push them flat with your fingers to cover the cake top and sides. Leave to dry for 2 days before adding the final layer of icing.
Plum Cake Recipe
Christmas is that time of the year when we want to excite our taste buds to sweet stuff like a plum cake.
Traditional Irish Plum Cake
- 250 g of refined flour
- 150 g unsalted butter
- 150 g brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of powdered cinnamon
- 30 g of almond
- 100 g of prunes
- 30 g of walnuts
- 5 drops of vanilla essence
- A quarter cup of milk
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
Steps to make plum cake
- Step 1: Sieve the flour and baking powder together and set aside. In another bowl, mix the brown sugar and butter until you dissolve the sugar completely. Beat the cake mixture till light and keep adding the eggs one by one in the mixture. Gradually add the flour to the mixture in small bits and keep stirring to obtain a smooth mixture. Add the milk and vanilla essence and mix well. Also add cinnamon powder and blend well. Leave the batter untouched for 10 minutes.
- Step 2: In the meantime, finely chop the nuts and prunes and mix some of them in the batter and beat them well once again. Reserve some nuts to put on top of the cake. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees for 15 minutes and prepare a baking tray by lining it with butter paper. Grease the tray with oil or butter and dust some flour. Add in the butter in the tin.
- Step 3: Bake at a temperature of 180 degrees for 1 hour. Insert a fine knife to check for the readiness of your cake. If the fine knife comes out clean, take out the cake and place it to cool on a wire rack. After cooling your cake is ready for serving. Serve slices of the cake with vanilla ice-cream.
5 Favorite Christmas Cake Designs
Olaf Cake Design
Do you want a cake that is as white as snow to celebrate Christmas? The solution for you is to try out this olaf cake design. Your cake topper will comprise of small olafs with colors such as white, black and orange sugar paste. These olafs are firmly held together with toothpicks and a fine gauge wire which are not to be eaten.
Meringue Kisses Christmas Cake
Enjoy the difference in the Menringue Kisses Christmas Cake. This cake lets you have your Christmas party in style as the cake top is filled with plain meringue kisses piped out using a star tip nozzle. Never made meringue kisses before or do not have the time to? Simply buy them from a store that sells baking supplies, or swap them with another kind of cake decor. You can also follow the link to find a recipe that shows you how to make the kisses. You and your loved ones will enjoy taking selfies with this cake as it is worth showing off on social media as a definition of class.
Lets Party Christmas Cake
If a 3D effect on your Christmas cake if what you really want this year, look no further than this 'Lets party Christmas cake' design which looks all lit up and full of creativity. It is remarkably simple to execute and can be made to look as flamboyant as you wish. Replace the sparklers with candles or other sparkling decor or add a spalsh of festive colours to make this design your own.
Mary Berry Christmas Cake
This cake is one that you will want to feast on every other Christmas day. Ensure to prepare this cake design a day before the d- day. Your photos will look awesome on taking selfies with a finished Mary Berry Christmas cake.
Choose a marzipan cake design on Christmas. Marzipan has a flavour that is exquisite and its appearance looks so cool beyond expectation. Marzipan is long lasting and suits a variety of occassions.
Tips on How to Store a Christmas Cake
Ideas for Giving out Christmas cakes
- For that mini festive cake treat for your guests, bake the Christmas cake in a loaf tin and slice it in proportions to be served with tea.
- Make extra Christmas cakes so that they can be served to your vistors who come to celebrate Christmas holidays with you.
- Make small sized customised cakes with individual names written on top so that you surprise your guests to cakes with their names on .
- Ensure to bake extra cakes so that your spouse takes a piece of cake to work and share it with the workmates.
Ideas to Help You in Decorating a Christmas Cake.
- Use little marzipan fruits to decorate your Christmas cake and make it more attractive.
- Apply ribbons and silver balls on the cake so that they bring color and life to a Christmas celebration.
- Have it in mind to spread the cake with some apricot jam before you marzipan it to enable the marzipan stick on the cake.
- You can cut out little marzipan stars and simply brush them with edible gold.
A Christmas Cake is not just an Ordinary Cake, It's a Ritual
When it comes to a Christmas cakes, it takes a lot and sometimes more time than what it takes to prepare a regular cake. All the effort and the preparation that goes in, makes it different and appropriate for a festival. If you decide to go all in, then you can ask for some help from a more experienced person or some of your friends. Even if you wouldn't be able to make it as delicious the first time, it would definitely be fun.