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Please help me not to have another Christmas cake disaster!!!

(8 Posts)
ColdTeaAgain Tue 10-Dec-13 14:31:34

So normally my baking is pretty good even if I do say so myself! BUT I have never made a fruit cake, let alone a Christmas cake, yet for reasons unbeknown to me, I decided to do one this year. It did not go well...

I followed Mary Berry's recipe for an 18cm cake to the letter. TO THE LETTER!! It stated 4 hours baking time but by 3 hours it was looking pretty well done, but I thought the timing can't that out so turned the oven down and left it another half hour. Next check, oh dear god its burnt! Very burnt!

As we gazed upon my cremated creation, my dad helpfully says he remembers my grandma used to wrap the tin in paper to stop it burning. No mention of this in my book hmmph Mary Berry!

I've got enough ingredients left to give it another go but please help!

How EXACTLY do you prepare the tin? And what do you wrap around it? Just round the sides or the bottom and top as well?

Given its quite late to do Christmas cake now, how long to soak fruit for ?

Should I just ignore the baking time in the recipe and just judge it myself when its done?

Sorry long post, i'm a desperate woman!

To prepare the tin, grease and line it as usual then wrap it in a double layer of greaseproof or newspaper. Mary berry recipe is lovely, as is delias, but I've found both are a little over on their times. Check after 2.5 hours and if it looks like its cooked on top, lay a sheet of paper over the top. usual check of poking with a skewer to see if its cooked

I agree with Jim. Make sure that the grease proof paper comes up about 2 inches over the height of the tin. Deffo do a little paper or foil lid if it's looking like it is catching on the top.

MelanieRavenswood Tue 10-Dec-13 15:03:35

I did a Betty's Harrogate cookery school course where they insisted that wrapping the outside is completely unnecessary and just slows down baking time so that the outside is burnt by the time the inside is done.

After your pour the batter in, go over the top with a knife making sure that no fruit is poking up - it will get burnt and taste bitter. Try to ensure the fruit is covered as much as possible.

Ignore the baking time in the recipe - just check after 2 hours and every 20 mins after that!

Soaking fruit overnight will be fine.

Lovelybitofsquirrel Tue 10-Dec-13 15:12:25

We follow Delia to the letter and our cake is always perfectly cooked, that involves wrapping outside as mentioned above and putting a double layer of greaseproof above but not directly on the cake (iyswim) with a 50p piece sized hole cut in the middle.
Good luck! And enjoy eating the burnt offering-just trim the edges off! It might not be fit for "best" but it will still be good!

nannycook Tue 10-Dec-13 18:43:14

Cold, alittle tip i use which is out of the Alan Dunn book and the xmas cake/wedding cake i always use, i've marzipaned 3 cakes this afternoon, 4 in all, is after you've made the batter, before you add the fruit is to take few spoonfuls out then after you've mixed it all together and put it in your tin and levelled it off, add the little bit of mixture on the top and smooth over so no bits of fruit are visible, then that way none of the sticky up bits of fruit gets burnt.

I used the "as you like it" recipe on the bbc good food website. Haven't tasted it yet, but I didn't wrap the tin and the time was spot on, not burnt at all.

ColdTeaAgain Tue 10-Dec-13 19:40:11

Thanks everyone, brilliant tips! Practice makes perfect as they say. Problem is with christmas cake, it's a bit expensive when half of it goes in the bin blush The middle bit was nice at least!

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