Christmas cake has always been a traditional favourite in Irish households. Although many consumers are looking at smaller cakes, or individually portioned cakes, there remains strong sales in the area according to 2015 (UK figures) sales.
This growth would indicate that the “centre piece” cake is still an important element of the Christmas table but even becoming more in vogue with the “bake off” effect and the focus on the theatre of well presented baked goods.
In 2015 the biggest sales surges of the last two weeks of trading before Christmas came from the Christmas cake, pudding and confectionary area with a total spend of £219 m in the two weeks leading up to Christmas. Cakes and puddings were up 6.3% to £46.9m and confectionary was up 8.8% with sales totaling £172.2 m.
Kells Wholemeal are Ireland’s leading manufacturer and developers of cake blends, our aim is to create delicious and easy to use mixes to suit your business. Our Kells Farmhouse Cake blend makes a delicious Christmas cake, just add your own personal twist!
Here is our adaptive recipe to make Christmas Cakes that are sure to impress your customers.
Suggested Christmas Cake Conversion Recipe for Kells Farmhouse Cake Mix
~ Premix 1000
~ Oil 390
~ Water 490
~Treacle 20 (ADJUST IF LIGHTER OR DARKER CAKE IS REQUIRED)
~ Sultanas 1400
~ Mixed Candied Peel 320
~ Cherries (Whole & Broken) 90
~ Orange and lemon Zest (optional, zest of 3 lemons & 3 oranges, deduct amount used from water)
Follow method on bag for mixing:
Place mix in bowl with beater attachment, place treacle in the water and stir into water.
Add in oil, treacle and water gradually over one minute.
Scrape down and mix for four minutes on second speed.
Then stop mixer. Scrape down.
Blend fruit together and add fruit gradually to batter over 1 minute to clear through the batter thoroughly. Stop mixer and use your hands to finish clearing if necessary. Do not mash the fruit.
Fruit can be washed and dried before use to clean it and plump it up. Ensure fruit is well drained before use though.
If desired a spirit (brandy, whiskey) can be used to further enrich the cake. This can be added to the batter before baking and /or diluted in a light sugar syrup and brushed into the baked cake after cooling. Quantities are very much a personal matter, but I suggest no less than 8g of spirit in the above mix.
Traditionally Christmas cake is baked in square or round shapes and is decorated with marzipan and white icing (royal icing or increasingly softer white icing pastes). You need to select the shapes you want. Ensure they are lined with greaseproof paper and are themselves lightly greased.
Bake time and temperature will vary depending on the size of cake you have decided to bake. Fill the shape to 2/3rds the height of the tin as a guide. Suggested baking settings are 140-160C until the cake is baked through (you can put a knife or prong into the centre of the cake and with draw it with no batter or cake sticking to the knife or prong. For a 900g batter cake this may take 1.5 hours or longer.
There is a risk with larger cakes that the tops and bottoms will get a little scorched while being baked. I recommend a sheet of cardboard under the shapes to prevent the bases burning (put the card board in the baking tray that the shapes are placed in).I also suggest that you put a card over the tops of the tins for the first half (at least) of the bake to reduce scorching on top.
Once baked and cooled wrap tightly in grease proof paper and store in a cool dry place for several weeks before use to allow the cake mature.
Cakes baked in too hot an oven have peaked tops, high colour, streaks under the crust.
Cakes baked in too cool an oven will have flat tops, poor colour and will stale rapidly. The recipe above is for use with a deck oven.
If a baker is planning to use a rack oven or fan assisted catering oven the bake temperature and time will need to be adjusted. The same applies if different sizes of cakes are being baked.