After last year’s successful Christmas cake kit I thought I’d give it another try this year. This time we opted for the Waitrose kit which where the main extra ingredients you needed were eggs, butter and an orange. Obviously they can’t pack the fresh ingredients into the box so this was fair enough. I did notice though if that you also needed to supply your own decorative silver balls which I found a bit odd, surely they could have packed some of these in the kit? I also needed to buy a little icing sugar for sprinkling, but of course they don’t sell small amounts for sprinkling in the shop so I ended up buying a whole tub. When I opened up the box I also spotted that there was no star cutter for the icing shapes, which again was a bit of shame.:-/ Luckily I own a star cutter already, as Sainsbury’s supplied one in their kit last year.
I think the benefit of a kit like this is that if you aren’t much of a baker you are simply supplied with just the necessary amount of each ingredient (with the excpetion of the icing sugar). Also the ingredients are pre-weighed, upping your chances of successful baking!
I followed the recipe carefully, starting with greasing and lining the tin and doing the prep work. Then I beat the butter and sugar together, I did this by hand and made sure it was nice and fluffy before I finished. As the sugar is so dark the finished mix didn’t go white, but it did turn a lot paler when it was ready.
Next came the eggs which you need to add very gradually to stop the mix from separating. Handy tip if you see the mix is splitting add a teaspoon of the flour and it will come back together again (see Miss Horden I did listen in Home Ecc). Then the orange rind gets mixed in at this point and I grated this straight into the bowl and stirred it in. The kitchen smelt lovely and citrusy too. The flour and spice came next and folded in easily (but don’t forget to sift). At this point the aroma from the seasonal spices meant the mix officially smelt of Christmas – result! The fruit and nuts got added next and the mix was really starting to fill the bowl quite impressively and that is about it.
We spooned the mix into the cake tin and gently pressed it in to make sure it filled every corner. We covered it with the double layer of grease proof paper (with a hole for air and this paper shouldn’t touch the cake it just rests above it). Then all you have to do is pop it in the oven and wait patiently for quite some time.
Once it’s done you can either wrap it up to ice it later or wait for it cool and get straight on with it. I was pleased to see that there was a small pot of apricot jam included in the pack so that we could stick the marzipan on. That rolled out easily on a sugar dusted surface and we chose to cover the whole cake with it. Next up was the icing, this was a little firmer, but again rolled out nicely on the sugar dusted surface. We dampened the marzipan to help the icing to stick.
Now I have to be honest, I never bought the silver balls that were suggested on the box, instead I found some pretty decorations in Waitrose and chose to use these. I also had a little icing left so rolled out a few icing stars to, and managed to create a fab looking cake.
This was a really easy to use kit, and I couldn’t be more pleased with my creation. I’m rather looking forward to tucking into it, but that delight is reserved for Christmas Eve, I will report back though. ;-)