Recently I was asked by Waitrose if I would like to create a twist on a traditional Christmas cake or pudding. Well, I love Christmas cakes and puddings and so I was delighted to have a go at something a little different but decided to still use the traditional Christmas cake elements: fruit cake, marzipan and icing. And chocolate. Hello Christmas cake pops!
What I love most about Christmas cake is the marzipan. Of course I love the cake but the marzipan has to be my favourite bit and so one of the best things about these Christmas cake pops is the ball of marzipan in the centre. It’s the last bit of the cake pop you eat and don’t we all save the best till last?
You may be reading this and wondering where the icing is. After all, Christmas cakes are normally covered in a layer of white icing. Well, when I eat Christmas cake I often peel a lot of the icing off and just eat the cake and the marzipan. You may disagree but I’d say the icing is there to look good and the marzipan is there to taste good. With that in mind I’ve left just a little icing in the form of a few festive sprinkles.
I know chocolate is not traditional in a Christmas cake but no one could complain about chocolate though could they? I’ve coated the cake pops with a layer of dark chocolate. I normally prefer milk chocolate but for these cake pops it has to be dark. The brandy along with the sweetness and richness of the fruit in the cake goes so well with a bit of dark chocolate.
If you’re making these for children you could leave the alcohol out or use a little orange juice instead. I rarely cook with alcohol but I felt these cake pops needed it. I have used cider in my Christmas cake for the last two years but for these Christmas Cake Pops I’ve gone traditional.
You may notice in the recipe that I’ve made enough cake to make two cakes. I’ve gone both modern and traditional. One of the cakes is wrapped up and waiting for Christmas. I’ll be feeding it liberally with more brandy over the coming weeks. It will definitely be coated with a generous layer of marzipan, although now I’ve tasted these cake pops I may do away with the white icing altogether and have a chocolate coated Christmas cake instead.
Of course, if you don’t want a traditional cake at all simply use both cakes for the Christmas cake pops, just double the amount of marzipan and chocolate. And if you’re feeling inspired but don’t feel this is quite the right recipe for you, then do take a look at Waitrose’s Christmas Puddings with a Twist page for more seasonal inspiration.
After all, stir up Sunday, when Christmas cakes and puddings are traditionally made, is fast approaching on 22 November so now is a great time to start thinking about what to make this Christmas.
For the Christmas Cake
- 450g currants
- 175g raisins
- 175g sultanas
- 60g mixed peel
- 60g glace cherries, roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp brandy
- 225g plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 225g soft brown sugar
- 225g unsalted butter
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
For the Cake Pops
- 50ml Brandy
- 70g marzipan
- 200g dark chocolate
- Sprinkles to decorate with.
- The night before making the Christmas cake put the currants, raisins, sultanas, mixed peel and glace cherries in a bowl and pour over the brandy. Cover with clingfilm.
- Sift the flour, salt and spices into a bowl. Set aside.
- Using either a stand mixer or by hand, cream together the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs a little at a time and beat them into the sugar and butter mixture.
- Fold the flour mixture in.
- Stir in the dried fruit and golden syrup.
- Grease and line two 15cm cake tins. Divide the mixture between the two tins. Alternatively put all the mixture into a 20cm tin to make one larger cake.
- Bake the cakes in the oven for approximately 3.5 hours at 140C. Keep checking the cakes after 3 hours and testing with a skewer so they don't overbake.
- Cool the cakes on a metal rack.
- Wrap one of the cakes up in foil and save till christmas.
- Crumble one of the cakes a little, put it in a bowl and pour over the brandy.Cover with cling film until the next day.
- Cover a baking tray with baking parchment. Divide the marzipan into 10 equal pieces. Roll each one into a ball and insert a cake pop stick into it. Put the sticks onto the baking tray. Put in the freezer to set.
- A couple of hours later, squash the Christmas cake mixture between your hands and fingers until it becomes like soft sticky crumbs.
- Take handfulls of the christmas cake mixture and squash them onto the ends of the cake pop sticks around the marzipan. Put the sticks back in the freezer for a few hours.
- Melt the chocolate slowly in the microwave until is has just all melted.
- Put the sprinkles in bowls.
- Line another baking tray with baking parchment.
- Take a cake pop. Dip it in the chocolate and turn it around so it is completely covered in chocolate. Use a spoon if you need to spoon the chocolate over the cake pop. Let any excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.
- Dip the cake pop into the bowl with the sprinkles. Again use a spoon to reach the area where the cake pop meets the stick. Put the cake pop on the new baking tray. Repeat with all the cake pops.
- Put them in the fridge for the chocolate to set and for the centre of the cake pop to defrost.
If you're short of time you could replace the homemade Christmas Cake with a ready-made one.
I am linking these to Bunny Eats Design’s Our Growing Edge, hosted this month by Lauren from Sweet and Southern Lifestyle. I am also linking to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum, Cook Blog Share on Hijacked by Twins and Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too. I am also linking to Festive Food Friday at Taming Twins and Kerry Cooks.