Last weekend was Stir Sunday, the traditional day for making Christmas puddings and cakes. Well, I originally planned on trying out our Christmas Cake Baking Kit from Whitworths at the weekend but we were still finishing off our Pudsey Bear banana bread (that we blogged about here) so it was put off until today.
I unpacked the kit and was pleasantly surprised to see that it contained pretty much everything that was needed : brown sugar, flour, dried fruit in rum, spices, black treacle, almonds and a wipe-clean recipe card. All you need to add is 3 eggs and some butter.
The recipe is extremely easy to follow, even for the kids who excitedly helped me out. As everything is pre-measured, it really is a piece of cake (if you'll excuse the pun !).
The first step was creaming together the brown sugar and butter until it was light and fluffy, which was actually quite hard going. I had arm ache afterwards !
Then you need to mix in the three eggs, one at a time. It was at this point that the girls arrived in the kitchen and unanimously cried "eurggghhh it looks like runny poo" !
I snipped the top off the bag of mixed fruit and as I breathed in the heady fragrance of rum and dried fruits, it really took me back to my childhood when my nan used to make her own Christmas cake. The bag is really weighty and they haven't held back on the rum so you're sure to get a really rich, authentic cake. I love the mix of colours in the bag too.
Time to stir in all the other ingredients - flour, fruit, black treacle (just fold the blister pack in half to get it out) and almonds. I didn't have a lemon to hand so I left out the lemon zest and juice. You get a lovely moist, dense cake mix that really smells of Christmas !
The cake is designed to be cut into 20 slices and one 73g slice contains 255 calories. That's before you add marzipan and icing so you might want to bear that in mind before reaching for another mince pie and handful of chocolates over Christmas !
After three hours - yes, three hours ! - on a low heat, it is ready to come out of the oven. If you want to ice it, you'll need to wait for it to cool so you'd be well advised to make up the cake in the morning or the day before you'll be ready to ice it, to avoid burning the midnight oil in the kitchen when your enthusiasm has already headed to bed !
A quick look at the underside of the cake reveals just how densely packed with dried fruit it is.
The top was a bit bumpy but nothing that a bit of royal icing wouldn't cover up ! I'll do a separate review about our efforts decorating the cake and the products we used so keep your eyes open for that in the next couple of days.
Our whole house smelt festive and the girls were so excited about having made their own Christmas cake. I didn't think about it until it was too late but I could have perpetuated another festive tradition and stirred in some foil-wrapped silver coins (even if that's usually in the pudding !)
Despite the very long cooking time, it's a very simple and quick cake to make and, thanks to the pre-measured ingredients, is absolutely ideal for busy cooks or for making with the kids. At £8, it works out cheaper than buying all the ingredients separately and I love the fact that you reduce food waste because you won't have little used ingredients like black treacle and Christmas spices hanging around in the back of the cupboard until you throw them out next year !
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £8
for more information : http://www.whitworths.co.uk/what_s_new/-/news/christmas-baking--its-a-piece-of-cake-with-whitworths
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