Christmas Elf messes about with flour and makes “snow” angels
We came home yesterday to find the kitchen table covered in flour and a rather dusty Elfin rolling about making snow angels. I moaned and cleared the mess while my two year old daughter lectured our Christmas Elf “Not to make everywhere dirty”. I was about to pounce on Elfin with a damp cloth to clean him up when the children pointed at a tasty looking Christmas cake cooling on the work top!
Elfin had been baking again and just couldn’t resist playing with the flour. It turns out that the little imp is a baking expert and spends a lot of time helping Mrs Claus in the kitchen.
If your Christmas Elf is no baker and you want to make Elfin’s Christmas cake yourself – here is the recipe.
This Christmas cake recipe will serve 16 and takes about 3 ½ hours including cooking time.
- 225g / 8 oz of butter or margarine softened at room temperature
- 225g / 8 oz of dark muscovado sugar
- 225g / 8 oz of plain flour
- 4 eggs beaten
- 50g / 2 oz of ground almonds
- 100ml / 3 ½ fl oz of Sherry, Brandy or orange juice for an alcohol free version
- 85g / 3 oz of candied peel – chopped
- 85g / 3oz of glacé cherries – chopped
- 500g of your favourite dried fruit – Elfin used dried strawberries, mango, cranberries and raisins
- 100g / 14oz of chopped pecan nuts (replace with an additional 100g of fruit for a nut-free version)
- 1 ½ teaspoons of mixed spice
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
Note: If you like your Christmas cake moist, soak the dried fruit the night before in brandy or orange juice.
- Preheat the oven to 160C / Gas 3 / Fan oven 140C. Fully line a deep 20cm round cake tin
- Cream the butter and sugar, stir in one spoon full of flour and the beaten eggs. Progressively add the rest of the flour and the baking powder until well mixed. Stir in the ground almonds
- Mix in the Sherry, Brandy or orange juice. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well
- Spoon the mixture into the cake tin, smooth to top of the tin and bake in the oven. After 30 minutes, lower the temperature to 150C/ Gas 2/ Fan oven 130C and bake for an extra 2 to 2 ½ hours, until a skewer inserted comes out clean
- Once cold remove the cake from the tin and discard the greaseproof paper. Wrap well in cling film and foil and store in an airtight container
For the icing you will need:
- One pack of marzipan – we used ready rolled
- 3 tablespoons of apricot jam
- Fondant or royal icing – you can mix your own icing sugar or any ready to roll icing
Store your cake until Christmas and ice it the week of Christmas so your icing doesn’t dry or lose its colour
- Warm the apricot jam and remove any fruit pieces – brush over the top and sides of the cake
- Roll out the marzipan and cover the cake
- Prepare the icing according to the instructions on the package and ice the cake
- Decorate to taste!
Elfin’s tips to bake a great Christmas cake (learned from Mrs Claus)
- Don’t bake it too much in advance… the best time make your cake is mid-November
- It you’re using nuts, roast them before adding to the cake mixture. It will add extra flavour and crunch
- Use good quality ingredients, good quality dry fruits, natural glacé cherries are best (the dark red ones). Unrefined sugar will give your cake more flavour too
- If you use alcohol, use good quality brandy in your Christmas cake. You could feed your cake an extra tablespoon of alcohol roughly every two weeks before icing but don’t over-do it as it could become soggy
- Serve your cake with a cheese platter in the evening… a perfect combination
- Make a quick dessert by crumbling left-over Christmas cake over vanilla ice cream