Christmas is all about family tradition and delightful memories, so we wanted to see something classic. In the spirit of old-school Yule, we challenged Llara to bake something dripping with festive nostalgia.
Do you have baking delights of your own planned for this holiday season?
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Some love the mince pies, but if you ask me, the go-to festive baking extravaganza has got to be traditional Christmas Cake! It's perfect for pleasing family, friends and unexpected guests through the holiday season. For that reason I always make my Christmas cake early in the season, so that it's ready for the beginning of December.
In fact, the earlier you start, the better! There are a few processes to get through for the perfect cake, so lots of opportunities to get kids and friends involved.
Soaking your dried fruit gives the cake a nice moist finish. Traditionally you can use brandy or rum (or orange juice if you don't want to use alcohol). I like to use Amaretto to complement the delightful almond flavour in the marzipan. Soak for 2-3 hours at least but ideally overnight.
Slowly sieve the plain flour, spice mix and ground almonds into a large bowl, until you've removed all the lumps and have a very fine powdery texture.
Next, beat the eggs and milk together. Then, in a separate bowl, use your wooden spoon to beat the Trex (which should be at room temperature) and sugar together until you have a light, creamy texture. You can use a hand-held electric mixer for the Trex and sugar if you have one.
Using a large bowl, slowly stir in your beaten eggs and milk, the creamed Trex mix and your flour mix, taking turns with each, before adding your soaked fruit, ensuring you've drained away any alcohol or orange juice from the fruit. Take your time and mix thoroughly.
When you've mixed everything for about 10 minutes, place the mixture in a cake tin lined with greaseproof paper, and bake for 3½ hours.
After leaving your baked cake to stand for 1 week, it's time for the icing! There are a number of ways to approach the icing. I love a layer of marzipan over a layer of jam, but you can leave this off if it's not your thing.
To make your icing, simply add some water to your icing sugar. Here's a tip: when you're mixing your icing, add the water very slowly, bit by bit, to your mix. This way, you can get the consistency just right and achieve those stiff peaks that give a great snow effect.
Now it's time to get creative!
It takes quite a while to make a Christmas cake, so the most important thing I would suggest is relax and take your time. Enjoy the process. Remember, you're not in a hurry so there's plenty of scope to involve the kids!