Topping a Christmas Cake

beetle18, Dec 7, 12:28am
Very inexperienced baker here! I've found a great Christmas cake recipe which I'm going to use, and I've got a couple of questions. I would like to decorate it with circles of cherries and almonds, glazed with jam (?) instead of icing. What stage do I put these on? Should they go onto the raw mixture and cook for the whole time the cake does, or do they get added after? What else looks nice for a non-iced topping? Second query - the recipe says it's for a 20cm round tin, but mine is 24cm - will this change the cooking time much? Finally, I know it's way later to make a Christmas cake than it really should be - how much will this affect the taste? Thanks for your help -much appreciated.


245sam, Dec 7, 1:01am
beetle18, I always ice my Christmas cake so I can't advise you from personal experience re decorating the cake in preference to icing it but last week on Good Morning a Christmas cake was made then decorated - it appeared to be a very easy straightforward process.Have a look at:-

http://tvnz.co.nz/good-morning/tony-hanks-recipes-2-december-3934826

Look for the section headed "Cake Decoration".

Hope that helps.:-))

beetle18, Dec 7, 1:08am
Thank you for that - it's not how I thought it might be done. Good job I asked!

kiwitrish, Dec 7, 1:13am
Have bumped up a thread for you.

cgvl, Dec 7, 1:15am
Cake tin size, not really all that important with xmas cakes except for height of cake. The extra 4cm may mean cake doesn't need quite so long in oven, You check doneness by inserting a small sharp knife or metal skewer into centre of cake if it comes out clean (ie no mixture sticking to it) it is done.

Decorating cake: Almonds and cherries should be placed on cake before it is put into the oven. Lightly press them into cake mix.

Glaze goes on once the cake is cold.

Some hints: put on the rack in your oven a newspaper folded in half, slightly bigger than your cake tin.
Line your cake tin, bottom and sides, with a layer of grease proof paper and grease this well, you can flour it too if you wish.
When you put cake into the oven cover the top with more newspaper.
Why? this stops the cake from drying out and or burning on top and bottom when cooking.
Fruit cakes require a long slow cook hence why most are cooked for several hours at 120C.
As to taste etc, it will be fine. I am only about to make mine now and I usually make them in August/September but this year have been far too disorganised to do it.

juliewn, Dec 7, 3:40pm
Hi.. I wait till the surface of the cake is starting to firm a little before placing cherries and almonds on the top - when I put them on at the beginning, I found they tended to sink a little, not the best when I'd carefully made them in a nice pattern! It's about 1 hr 20 minutes to 1 hr 30 minutes into the baking time that I place them on top..

I find they have a nice colour without placing any glaze on top of the cherries and almonds, so haven't used a glaze.. however, apricot jam, after it's been strained through a sieve to give a smooth texture, works well.. heat it first, then brush it over the top of the cake not long after it's come out of the oven.. leave the cake uncovered so nothing sticks to the surface of the jam.

Your cake will be fine made now.. I made my cakes last week.. and have sometimes made my cakes just a few days before needed - they've been fine - how do I know? Cos the cakes disappear with seconds - and sometimes thirds - asked for most times! lol..

I use newspaper in the same way as Cgvl.. and also cut wide strips of newspaper that are about 5-6 cm's wider than the height of the tin.. I place these, using about 5-6 layers of newspaper, around the outside of the tin, and then staple it in place so it fits around the tin firmly.. this also gives something to rest the piece of newspaper on that goes over the top of the cake/s.

I place the newspaper band around the tin before placing the mix in the tin.

I leave the newspaper under, over, and around the tins when cooling the cakes, as well as placing a large thick towel over the lot.. it cools more slowly and keeps the cake moist rather than drying it out if nothing is covering it. I leave them at least 24 hours before removing from the cakes the tins.. sometimes longer - I leave them till the cake and tins are quite cold.

Don't forget to make a wish when you have the mix ready to place it in the tin/s.. and have anyone else there have one too.. close your eyes, stir the cake while you make a wish.. and don't tell anyone what it is!

Caution.. be aware, as I am here, for those who stir the cake while they make a wish, then quickly place a big spoonful of mix into their mouths, with a big grin and a 'wow, my wish came true!'

Enjoy making your cake.. and eating it and sharing it too.. and have a very Happy Christmas.. :-)

beetle18, Dec 7, 10:27pm
Thank you very much indeed for all your friendly and helpful suggestions. Lovely to feel part of such a caring community!

beetle18, Dec 7, 12:28am
Very inexperienced baker here! I've found a great Christmas cake recipe which I'm going to use, and I've got a couple of questions. I would like to decorate it with circles of cherries and almonds, glazed with jam (!) instead of icing. What stage do I put these on! Should they go onto the raw mixture and cook for the whole time the cake does, or do they get added after! What else looks nice for a non-iced topping! Second query - the recipe says it's for a 20cm round tin, but mine is 24cm - will this change the cooking time much! Finally, I know it's way later to make a Christmas cake than it really should be - how much will this affect the taste! Thanks for your help -much appreciated.

245sam, Dec 7, 1:01am
beetle18, I always ice my Christmas cake so I can't advise you from personal experience re decorating the cake in preference to icing it but last week on Good Morning a Christmas cake was made then decorated - it appeared to be a very easy straightforward process.Have a look at:-

http://tvnz.co.nz/good-morning/tony-hanks-recipes-2-december-3934826

Look for the section headed "Cake Decoration".

Hope that helps.:-))

Edited to add:-
Re "Second query - the recipe says it's for a 20cm round tin, but mine is 24cm - will this change the cooking time much!" - because your tin is larger, the cake will be shallower so it will definitely change the cooking time but I'm not really sure how much less cooking time will be required.

Re: "Finally, I know it's way later to make a Christmas cake than it really should be - how much will this affect the taste!"Most fruit cakes improve with being made earlier but I have seen some recipes that are apparently intended to be nice last minute/short notice Christmas cakes so the taste of your cake really depends on the recipe you're intending to use.:-))

beetle18, Dec 7, 1:08am
Thank you for that - it's not how I thought it might be done. Good job I asked!

cgvl, Dec 7, 1:15am
Cake tin size, not really all that important with xmas cakes except for height of cake. The extra 4cm may mean cake doesn't need quite so long in oven, You check doneness by inserting a small sharp knife or metal skewer into centre of cake if it comes out clean (ie no mixture sticking to it) it is done.

Decorating cake: Almonds and cherries should be placed on cake before it is put into the oven. Lightly press them into cake mix.

Glaze goes on once the cake is cold.

Some hints: put on the rack in your oven a newspaper folded in half, slightly bigger than your cake tin.
Line your cake tin, bottom and sides, with a layer of grease proof paper and grease this well, you can flour it too if you wish.
When you put cake into the oven cover the top with more newspaper.
Why! this stops the cake from drying out and or burning on top and bottom when cooking.
Fruit cakes require a long slow cook hence why most are cooked for several hours at 120C.
As to taste etc, it will be fine. I am only about to make mine now and I usually make them in August/September but this year have been far too disorganised to do it.

juliewn, Dec 7, 3:40pm
Hi. I wait till the surface of the cake is starting to firm a little before placing cherries and almonds on the top - when I put them on at the beginning, I found they tended to sink a little, not the best when I'd carefully made them in a nice pattern! It's about 1 hr 20 minutes to 1 hr 30 minutes into the baking time that I place them on top.

I find they have a nice colour without placing any glaze on top of the cherries and almonds, so haven't used a glaze. however, apricot jam, after it's been strained through a sieve to give a smooth texture, works well. heat it first, then brush it over the top of the cake not long after it's come out of the oven. leave the cake uncovered so nothing sticks to the surface of the jam.

Your cake will be fine made now. I made my cakes last week. and have sometimes made my cakes just a few days before needed - they've been fine - how do I know! Cos the cakes disappear with seconds - and sometimes thirds - asked for most times! lol.

I use newspaper in the same way as Cgvl. and also cut wide strips of newspaper that are about 5-6 cm's wider than the height of the tin. I place these, using about 5-6 layers of newspaper, around the outside of the tin, and then staple it in place so it fits around the tin firmly. this also gives something to rest the piece of newspaper on that goes over the top of the cake/s.

I place the newspaper band around the tin before placing the mix in the tin.

I leave the newspaper under, over, and around the tins when cooling the cakes, as well as placing a large thick towel over the lot. it cools more slowly and keeps the cake moist rather than drying it out if nothing is covering it. I leave them at least 24 hours before removing from the cakes the tins. sometimes longer - I leave them till the cake and tins are quite cold.

Don't forget to make a wish when you have the mix ready to place it in the tin/s. and have anyone else there have one too. close your eyes, stir the cake while you make a wish. and don't tell anyone what it is!

Caution. be aware, as I am here, for those who stir the cake while they make a wish, then quickly place a big spoonful of mix into their mouths, with a big grin and a 'wow, my wish came true!'

Enjoy making your cake. and eating it and sharing it too. and have a very Happy Christmas. :-)

bev00, Dec 8, 11:15am
Handy hints

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