Festive baking: Twists on tradition
The time has come to make festive sweet treats and store them to mellow.
The earlier your Christmas cake is baked the tastier and easier to cut it will be. This year I’ve made a couple of untraditional cakes. They’re a breeze to bake as the fruit, butter and sugar are initially simmered over low heat — none of that hard work of creaming the butter and sugar is required. These cakes will keep for up to six months. Or you could freeze them for up to a year.
Tips for baking a successful festive cake
- If the cake pan is thin, wrap a double layer of newspaper around the outside and tie with string. This prevents the fruit from burning.
- I like to lightly oil or grease my cake pans before lining them with baking paper. The paper sticks to the pan and doesn’t slip as they are filled.
- Use level metric measurements.
- Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a wet hand.
- Always cook fruit cakes in the middle of the oven at a low temperature otherwise the sugary fruits tend to burn. If the top starts to brown too much, place a sheet of foil lightly over the cake, resting it on the paper that lines the pan.
Store for at least one month before cutting. Get the recipe
Commercial gluten-free pastry is available from your supermarket freezer. I used Pavillion. Get the recipe
Make-your-own gluten-free pastry
If commercially prepared gluten-free pastry is unavailable make your own.
200g gluten-free flour
125g chilled butter, diced
1 tablespoon icing sugar
Place the flour, butter and icing sugar in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles fresh breadcrumbs. Add the egg and mix until just combined. Roll into a ball, flatten then wrap in plastic film. Chill for 30 minutes.