Hi, I’m Jayne, mum to three gorgeous girls and Head Chef at Halo Cakes. Ran from my kitchen at home, the business – which started simply as making celebration cakes for family and friends – took off after a picture on Facebook led to an order. Every cake is unique, and I’m always on the look-out for new ideas.
Other than being creative, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, listening to music (preferably 80’s) and reading in a hot bubbly bath.
It’s that time of year again, early October and summer has barely left us but our thoughts turn to Christmas. “Too soon”, “it gets earlier every year”, we hear a lot of people say but in the cake making business it is never too early to start the preparations for the Christmas Cake. A good Christmas Cake needs time to mature and for the fruits to soak up all the moisture from the brandy and to slowly get very, very tipsy ……………. And it is very simple to do.
I start by placing all the fruity ingredients into a large bowl with the brandy to soak, ideally over night or for a couple of days.
150g Glace Cherries, chopped into quarters
150g Ready-to-eat Dried Apricots, chopped into quarters
65g Candied Peel
6 tbsp Brandy
When the fruit is all plump, juicy and rather tipsy from the brandy, it is time to make the cake.
275g Plain Flour
½ tsp Grated Nutmeg
¾ tsp Ground Mixed Spice
275g Softened Butter
275g Dark Muscavado Sugar
5 Large Eggs
65g Chopped Almonds
1 tbsp Black Treacle
1 ½ Rind Lemon
1 ½ Rind Orange
Place the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl, mix thoroughly to combine and then fold in the tispy fruit.
Spoon into an 8” deep cake tin with base and sides lined with a double layer of greaseproof paper, for about 4¾ hours at 120oC Fan or until the cake feels firm to the touch and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool.
Once cool, remove from tin but leave greaseproof paper around the base and sides. Pierce cake with lots of holes but only insert the skewer ¾ of the way into the cake otherwise the brandy will run straight through. Using a pastry brush, cover the cake with a little brandy, approximately 2 tsp.
Wrap completely in greaseproof paper and a layer of tin foil and store in a well-sealed cake tin or a large sweetie tin.
Feed at intervals with more brandy for the next couple of weeks. If the cake seems ‘wet’ when you come to feed it, wrap it up and leave for another couple of days.
One week before decorating, cover with marzipan. You can decorate your cake in any way you choose using different icings, ribbons and shape cutters like snowflakes, holly and stars, or you could be a bit more adventurous and make a santa or a snowman to stand proudly on the top.
It is traditional to have a decorated Christmas Cake each year being the centre piece of many Christmas buffets, but of course, you don’t have to have a fruit cake for Christmas, I have made chocolate and vanilla for customers and just decorated them with a Christmassy theme.
Merry Christmas x
Recipe from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible
Decoration from Jayne Nicholson – Halo Cakes