Off Topic: Christmas Cake

Image; iStock

I was already thinking about Christmas earlier this year, so it seems only appropriate to extend the conversation to food. Or at least the food at Christmas that I really like, which is cake.

Part of the fun of Christmas is having the time and occasion to make a dessert a little more lavish, a little more rich than you would traditionally go for. Spending weeks marinating pudding or fruit loaf in some absurd rum mixture is a good example of that, although my family tends to make other desserts instead.

Which is the part where I come in.

Last year Mum kept rattling on about how much she loved marscapone, which has never been one of my favourite cream cheeses. But since she was so insistent, I had a look around for what else could be done with it.

The answer: add more cream, some sugar, a bit of maple syrup, and mix the shit out of it in a bucket. It was great and I kept grabbing a small cup for a few days, dropping a bit of fruitcake (Dad loves it) and then a dollop of my homemade concoction on top.

I've been thinking about giving pastry a crack this Christmas so I can try making my own apple pie. Alternatively, I'd like to learn how to make a chocolate mousse from egg whites. On the side, I'd get a pudding bowl and line it with ladyfingers that have been soaked in something (frangelico and coffee would be ideal, but I'll settle for frangelico and milk).

The mousse would then go in the middle, with a few berries to cut through, and then I'd cover it up with ladyfingers and then wrap it up and let it sit in the fridge for several hours. Before promptly getting fat.

Christmas desserts are the best.

What do you like to chow down on over Christmas? You can talk about anything. I just picked cake because cake's great.


    Darrell Lea Nougat Christmas Pudding.
    Or, for something homemade, I like to channel my Dutch heritage: Pfeffernaus, Olle bollen and speculaas are all delicious.

    Edit: Oh! Almost forgot my late father's favourite: Christmas pudding ice cream: rehydrate a bunch of dried fruit overnight with spirits (he used brandy, I use rum), toast a bunch of slivered almonds, grate a block of dark chocolate and add it all to some extra creamy vanilla ice cream. Easy if you've got an ice cream maker, if you don't, you can partially unfreeze ice cream and add more cream to stop it going super icy when it refreezes.

    Last edited 16/11/16 11:36 am

      Pfeffernaus is good at any time of year, very more-ish.


      I started my career working at the Darrell Lea office here in Sydney and the factory was attached. Having those nougat puddings straight off the production line... dear christ.

    I'm not a huge fan of Christmas cake, not in our climate. I usually go for something quick and light, like a frozen key lime cheesecake with raspberry coulis, or my favourite ten minute dessert:

    Whip some pure cream with a bit of orange juice, zest, and Cointreau (all Christmas food should incorporate booze).

    Dip gingernut biscuits (the harder the biscuit the better, oldschool arnotts were the best!) in some brown creme de cacao, then join them together with the cream, like an endless Oreo stack lying down. Make two stacks nestled next to each other, then cover the whole thing with the remaining cream and pop it in the fridge.

    Optional extra is to drizzle the finished thing with a liquid dark chocolate lattice.

    Or just skip all of that and do a straight 50/50 mix of maple vodka and Jack Daniels fireball. It's Christmas in a glass.

    Last edited 16/11/16 11:40 am

      Oh jeez, might have to try that booze - best if it's straight out of the freezer?

        Warm is better, as it lets the flavours out. The colder you make something, the more sugar you need.

        It doesn't even needle dilution of ice, it's so smoooooth.

          What if it's 35 degrees outside? :p
          On your point about christmas cake, see my post above for christmas cake ice cream.

    Try marscapone mixed with sugar and a pinch of cinnamon and then paired with raspberry jam on crumpets or scones. It basically becomes a super version of whipped cream.


    "On the side, I'd get a pudding bowl and line it with ladyfingers that have been soaked in something (frangelico and coffee would be ideal, but I'll settle for frangelico and milk).

    The mousse would then go in the middle, with a few berries to cut through, and then I'd cover it up with ladyfingers and then wrap it up"

    Isn't this basically trifle?

    Last edited 16/11/16 11:35 am

      Do you get a white christmas or are you too far south? Staying there or heading home?

      Needs Jelly to be a proper trifle

      Last edited 16/11/16 1:07 pm

        It's more of an Italian summer pudding; the ladyfingers cover the entirety of the mousse. Think of the mousse as the core, a beating heart almost.

    Skip the fruit cake and go straight for the homemade pavlova.

    Don't forget the penny baked in.

      Not sure about pennies (they were enormous) but we use a sixpence in our pudding :-) Brings a year of good luck to the lucky finder (unless you accidentally swallow it).

        Yeah, that's what I meant!

        Thought it'd be easier to say penny instead.

    People actually like Christmas cake? I thought it was just something you gave to people you don't like instead of coal.

    Personally I love having a good Christmas BBQ but the family tradition is usually seafood and ham.

    Christmas cakes are amazing, especially when they're full of rum or whisky, or even just accompanied with either. Bit of a fondant goes a long way too.

      Christmas cakes are amazing, especially when I'm full of rum or whisky

    Christmas Last year I made a Coconut, Fig and Apricot Ice cream Pudding.
    Ingredients - 2 tubs Ice Cream, 1 Vanilla, 1 Figgish (I made a Coconut Cream Icecream with Fig Jam and Diced Dried apricots in it)
    Put a layer of Gladwrap inside the pudding tin,
    Put the the Vanilla Ice cream in the pudding first and let it melt a little, spoon it up the sides to to create a well.
    Put the second icecream in. Cover the pudding with glad wrap again and put in freezer overnight.

    Serve the next day with an apricot glaze

    Well I just grabbed fruit mince pies from the supermarket so my Christmas food has already started.
    Saw something recently on making a christmas pudding looking cake using malteasers so night try that this year.
    Christmas dessert for me is always christmas pudding with custard. The in-laws just don't get it, but they have finally come around and at least make sure there is carton custard available. For them it is brandy butter on the pudding, which is quite nice but needs more than just that.

    Not much of a desert guys. The Christmas kind anyway. I cant go past the Christmas ham. Mum does some sort of cajun coating/glaze and i just gorge on it for the following week.

    I've been trying to learn the art of dark christmas cake the last few years, and been trying different recipes. It's so hard getting the cooking time right so that it's not too soft and not too dry.

    But last year's effort was a Dark'n'Stormy cake soaked in Sailor Jerry spiced rum with lots of preserved ginger in the mix. I loved the flavour, but it was just a bit undercooked.

    The previous year I made a Hot Toddy fruitcake for @beeawwb which had Whisky, Earl Grey Tea and orange. That smelled pretty good!

    I haven't got plans for one this year but there's still time to make one if I put the fruit in to soak this weekend.

    I've also been making Melted Snowmen cookies (thank you Pinterest) and kids can't get enough of them.

    And @alexwalker, if you want to make a christmassy pie, I recommend making a pumpkin pie from scratch - they're really really good.

    Last edited 16/11/16 2:49 pm


      Pumpkin Pie from scratch is amazing. I usually do that AND a pecan pie for gatherings around this time of year.

      Hahahaha I pinned those melted snowmen cookies this week

    Nanna used to always do the best fruitcakes for christmas. Mum's been taking it on the last several years too, we usually end up with a whole load of them in varying sizes to give to family and friends. Still haven't quite got it figured out, but they mostly turn out well. Gotta get the fruit soaking for this year soon.

    Last edited 16/11/16 4:41 pm

    Unpopular Opinion: Not a fan of Christmas Cake OR Pavlova

    *awaits the heckling*

      Christmas pudding I'm fine with, but I find Christmas Cake Dry. Pavlova I find to be too much meringue, I'd Much prefer a Bomb Alaska.

    The last couple of years I've mixed good quality (softened) vanilla ice cream with the fruit mince you get in mince tarts, put it back into the freezer to solidify, then served it with fresh berries, crushed meringues and chocolate shards.

    Time for talk about other Christmassy foods.

    I've made myself a recently new christmas tradition where we have the Christmas roast dinner at the local RSL, usually in that manic week before christmas when everyone is frazzled. For $15 you get a massive plate of roast turkey and ham, all the vegies, gravy, and a mini pudding with custard. I love it.

    But on Christmas day, it's hard to beat cold meat, salads and seafood :)

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