Christmas ‘Cake-Off’

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My Christmas Cake 2008

Star-Shaped Festive Sprinkles

After a month of virtuous living, I’m afraid to admit that I’m back to old habits. Part of me feels like I’m making up for lost time, all those delicious treats that I was unable to create or savor.

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Stollen Cupcakes

This festive season I made gluten-free Christmas cake, mince pies, mini star-shaped stollen cupcakes & shortbread cookies as a gift for my neighbours. I went a bit star & sprinkle mad…my gluten-free mince pies despite their lack of prettiness tasted great. More work needs to be done on the stollen cupcakes, they needed about 5 hrs proving time but didn’t increase in size at all. This resulted in a rather dry & heavy consistency. Shortbread cookies used normal wheat flour so no problems there, though I did manage to burn a few…

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Shortbread Cookies

Christmas ‘Cake-Off’

For the past 4 years I’ve made Christmas cake to rival my Mother. Last year I made the mistake of combining too many different flavours – I infused the dried fruit with brandy, rose water and grapefruit juice. My Mum was initially disadvantaged by sending my Dad out to buy the cake ingredients only to come back with the wrong type of flour. This actually worked fantastically to produce a really lovely crumb. A couple of years back I’m convinced my mum accidentally added curry powder in her cake thinking it was cinnamon…I won that year and deny all allegations of sabotage, I would never stoop that low.

This year, I made my cake at the beginning of October to allow 3 months for the cake to mature. I adapted a recipe for Christmas Cake with Drambuie Soaked Vine Fruits courtesy of Waitrose

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As I couldn’t afford a bottle of Drambuie, I soaked my fruit in a cocktail of dark rum, white wine & sherry for 2 days until the dried fruit were nice & plump. For the flour, I used a blend of cornmeal, rice flour & tapioca starch. I halved the sugar and reduced the butter. The glace cherries with dried cranberries I also threw in some crystallized ginger. I baked two 7” cakes instead of one large one. Every fortnight I fed the cakes with a capful of dark rum.

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I had my fist slice on Christmas evening and it was a great way to end the festive feast. Although falling apart easily, this cake is very moist & tastes great with custard or yoghurt. It’s also not sickly sweet though I think I could get away with using even less sugar next year.

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Arms aching from a couple hours of rolling rock-hard marzipan & icing, I wonder how my cake will fair tomorrow when I present it to my Mother. I even spent some time constructing a box covered in cute pandas…I’m determined to win this year!

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