The holidays are here and whatever be your calling – potluck dinners, casual get-togethers or elaborate family meals – cakes ought to be an important part of every gathering. Did you know that an average person consumes over 8000 calories on Christmas day, making it the most fattening day of the holidays? Whoa, now that’s some food for thought!
This year, if you’re looking to rustle up some sweet but unfussy and healthier Christmas cakes, here are our top 2 recipe picks:
#1 Christmas fruit cake: The best part about this one is that you can use whichever dry fruits you have – depending on what you add, enjoy a different taste each time! Here goes the recipe:
Ingredients: 650 g dry fruits of your choice (could be dates, prunes, walnuts, currants, cranberries, blueberries, raisins, figs, apricot, cherries), 200g almond meal, 3 tbsp lemon juice, 3 beaten eggs (lightly), 3 tbsp oil for glazing (could be almond/olive/ or even walnut oil), a pinch of cinnamon, sea salt, and ground ginger each, 1 tsp baking powder, 4 tablespoon coconut milk, ½ tsp soda bicarbonate, ½ cup blanched almonds, pistachios for decoration, ½ tsp vanilla powder/essence, 1 tablespoon lemon zest
1.Go for the fun part first – Mix almond meal, chopped walnuts, dried fruit, spices, baking powder, soda bicarbonate, vanilla, sea salt and lemon zest in one large mixing bowl.
Tip: The almond meal used here is a healthier version of the white refined flours generally added in store bought cakes.
2.Separately add lemon juice, coconut milk, oil and eggs together in a bowl and whisk lightly. Add the dry ingredients to wet and fold through with a wooden spoon.
3. Preheat your oven to 160 Celsius and line an 18 cm cake tin with baking paper. Spoon the mixture prepared in Step 2 into the prepared tin and press it down with your hands so it is tightly packed. Bake for an hour.
4. Open oven and place the decorations – blanched almonds and pistachios on top and return the cake to the oven for about 30 minutes. Thereafter check with a skewer to see if the cake is well done and remove. Tip: You can also add orange liqueur by poking holes into the cake surface using a skewer.
#2 Simmer and stir Christmas cake – no beating required!
Ingredients: 200g plain flour, 750 g dried fruit of your choice, 1 tbsp grated orange zest, 100 ml brandy, a pinch of cinnamon, sea salt, and ground ginger each, 1 tsp baking powder, 3 eggs, 200g sugar, 175 g butter, 85g ground almond
1. In a pan, bring to boil the butter, sugar, fruit, zests, juice and brandy, slowly stirring until all ingredients blend well together. Reduce the heat and continue stirring occasionally for 10 more minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool.
2. Stir the eggs, ground almond, baking powder, and sifted flour in another bowl and when done, mix with the mixture prepared in Step 1.
3. Repeat steps 3 and 4 as in the recipe above.
Tip: To make the cake extra rich, make holes all over the warm cake surface and pour more brandy through the holes and allow the cake to cool. When refrigerated, this cake stands good for up to 3 months!
There’s nothing more satisfying than baking your own cakes, cookies, and pies at this time of the year. So don your cooking hats, arm yourself with easy cake recipes, and get, set, bake! If you need help getting the ingredients in order or sorting the recipe to follow, get your virtual assistant to do the ground work for you, so you can focus on the meat, errr we mean the cake 😉