Image by Sabrina Ripke (via Pixabay)
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without food being the star of the show, and it’s not complete with a cake to celebrate. The traditional Christmas cake began as Twelfth cakes, which were eaten at Twelfth Night parties. But over time, it’s evolved as being a larger cake, decorated with marzipan and either fondant or royal icing.
After the year we’ve had, I think it’s time that we stopped pretending fruit cake is the best choice to eat at Christmas and treat ourselves to something much more delicious. From red velvet to chocolate fudge, carrot cake to lemon drizzle- we’re not exactly short of cake flavours that are miles better than fruit.
So, if you’re with me that it’s time for an upgrade, here are some of our favourite Christmas cakes for you to get baking!
Red Velvet Candy Cane Cake
Nothing says Christmas quite like a candy cane, and red and white are such festive colours that red velvet cake is the perfect choice for Christmas. For an easy decoration idea, simply pipe cream cheese frosting in between the red cake layers and leave the sides naked. On the top, sprinkle some crushed candy canes around the edge of the frosting, or place them on whole.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can use a cake comb to make the icing striped. It’s better to use buttercream rather than cream cheese frosting for this design because it will give crisper lines and hold better. Simply fully ice the stacked cakes with a thick layer of buttercream, and draw a cake comb around the edge to create indents. Then, pipe red buttercream into the grooves, and smooth out with a cake scraper until you have crisp lines.
If you want both the look and taste to resemble a candy cane, add in some peppermint extract into the cake and buttercream. It will work well with the red velvet cake, because the flavour of red velvet is quite subtle.
Snow Globe Cake
If you’re a big fan of decorating with fondant, then this is the cake for you. And, it’s not too complicated either, so it’s a great cake to make if it’s your first time using fondant. First, decorate the cake like the base of a snow globe, and then use an overturned plastic fishbowl on top, filled with Christmas figures (homemade or shop bought is fine). To create a snowy effect, draw small white dots on the inside and outside of the fishbowl with an edible marker.
The beauty of this cake design is that you can use any cake flavour you want under the fondant- just make sure it’s a cake that won’t get misshapen by the weight of the fondant and snowglobe. Chocolate fudge or madeira are both good choices, because these are slightly more dense than other options.
Giant Hot Chocolate Cake
Hot chocolate is a delicious drink to cosy up with on a winter’s evening, so what better cake to make for Christmas than a giant version? Of course, the cake can be any flavour you like, but chocolate would be the obvious fit. If your favourite part of a hot chocolate is the marshmallows, you could fill the cake layers with marshmallow fluff, and decorate the top with giant marshmallows- cutting some of them into smaller pieces will make them look like they are floating in the top of the hot chocolate.
Chocolate cake is a great option to add another flavour into- orange, mint, or caramel are all great ideas, and you could flavour the cake, frosting (or both!) with the additions. To make the cake look like a mug, I used fondant icing, with CMC powder added to the fondant for the handle so it sets hard. If you’re feeling extra fancy, you can decorate the mug to match your favourite one to drink hot chocolate out of. Coloured fondant, edible felt pens or edible paints are all good options to decorate the mug face with.
Christmas Pudding Rocky Road
Although technically not a cake, I had to include this in the article because it’s such a good idea- and a delicious alternative to the traditional Christmas pudding. Given the option between rocky road and yet another dried fruit and nut cake, I know which one I’d be choosing!
The fact that this doesn’t need baking means it’s super quick to make, so it’s a great low-stress option if you’re planning on cooking a lot over the holidays. Simply make a batch of your favourite rocky road, and place it into a small basin, lined with clingfilm. When it’s fully set, pop it out of the bowl and pour over some white chocolate, coaxing it down the sides a little so it looks like custard. If you want, you can decorate with some fondant or buttercream holly sprigs, and a couple of red Smarties for berries. The perfect Christmas pudding to finish your Christmas dinner (with not a raisin in sight!).