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To panic about my Christmas cake commitments?

(67 Posts)
Stravy Fri 13-Sep-13 17:48:00

I'm supposed to be making Christmas cakes as a charity fundraiser and it's just occurred to me that, as I have to make them well in advance, if I don't sell any as many as I would like then I'm going to have spent a fortune on ingredients/boards/boxes and have nothing to show for it. The ingredients are really expensive, and I'm not sure if the mark up will be that great. (my estimates as to what people will pay vary wildly)

Will someone tell me that it will all be alright and people will pay a kings ransom for a fruit cake.

FlapJackFlossie Fri 13-Sep-13 17:50:21

Nope, I wouldn't pay for a christmas cake. Sorry. Anyway, my head is still in September. Maybe ask me........say.......December 24th grin

sparkle12mar08 Fri 13-Sep-13 17:51:06

I don't think they will in this climate, sorry! And christmas cakes isn't always that popular. What exactly is the fundraising? Is it a cake stall somewhere, or are you taking pre orders etc?

spindlyspindler Fri 13-Sep-13 17:58:49

There will always be people who'll pay for a home-made cake if they don't want to make one. I would, whenever I've not got round to making my own I'm always horribly disappointed by shop ones. I would do some comparison shopping and buy the ingredients in bulk from somewhere like Lidl or similar, then do some maths and make sure I priced the cakes appropriately. (Also, I would unashamedly use the cheapest brandy I could get my scroogy mits on.)

SugarHut Fri 13-Sep-13 18:00:36

Christmas cake costs a bloody fortune. With ingredients, then various coloured icing, Drambuie, decorations, ribbon, cakeboard, mine makes me want to cry at nearly £50 each year. But when I've finished the painstaking decorating, it looks amazing, and I'm so glad I bothered...the "olds" all take the leftover as their mid walk treat for their weekly walks in the forest for a month or so. That's worth it.

On the other hand, yours will be lovely, but let's be honest, not to the effort you would go to when you are making your own "centre piece" cake. You can get (although nowhere near as nice tasting) nice Christmas cakes from the supermarket for a tenner. You'll never make, ice and present yours for less than that. I don't mean to go all bah humbug on you, but I can't see how you're going to do it without doing it at a loss sad sorry x x

flowery Fri 13-Sep-13 18:03:39

Does it have to be Christmas cakes?

spindlyspindler Fri 13-Sep-13 18:03:54

I don't ice - I'm all about the glace fruit topping. (I tried icing once, but I didn't dry out the marzipan first and it looked as though I'd spilt oil over the top of it.)

Stravy Fri 13-Sep-13 18:04:08

grin feel much better now.

Asda have an offer on baking ingredients atm and I can get stuff from the cash and carry

I've a few people who've committed to buy them (literally a few). It's the inability to bake to order that worries me. I suppose I will have to suffer and have cake for every meal until August 2020

I'll be taking pre-orders and attempting to sell through my business (I'm a chef, not a pastry chef unfortunately)

misskatamari Fri 13-Sep-13 18:05:45

I wouldn't buy a Christmas cake but probably would a different cake. Can you not make something else that is less effort and less expensive? I know a lot of people, myself included, aren't really keen on Christmas cake.

spindlyspindler Fri 13-Sep-13 18:12:56

Also, if you're making on spec, make some without peel. There are those amongst us who fear peel.

I've reduced my spending on Christmas cake massively, I think. I used to use Cointreau but then I realised that as long as it's good and boozy no one cares. Ditto whole peel/chopped peel - chopping up whole peel is a pain in the bum, the whole peel is stupidly expensive and it makes no discernible difference to the taste in my opinion.

ALSO. Don't bother with cake boards, get some flat-pack cardboard cake boxes. And if you're going the iced route, invest in some silver balls - I love the way they look and it doesn't take long to make something pretty.

(I know that my repeated posts on this are marking me out as a Christmas cake obsessive but I do not care and it is quite possible that I will come back and witter some more)

CoffeeTea103 Fri 13-Sep-13 18:14:13

Can you not make a variety of cakes, or at least an alternate option such as a popular cake in case the fruit one doesn't sell. Not many people might Favor a fruit cake. Also those that have committed, in case they change their mind? There are so many places to get cakes around Christmas time as well

CaptainSweatPants Fri 13-Sep-13 18:15:38

I wouldn't buy a Xmas cake - I'd buy pretty fairy cakes decorated christmasey though for the kids

Stravy Fri 13-Sep-13 18:16:46

Cost for 8 inch round cake = £6.70

+extra alcohol


The price of marzipan is shock Thank goodness for asda

I'm semi committed to Christmas cakes on account of a) telling various people I'm doing it and b) having a bucket of dried fruit soaking in my kitchen. I thought it was a good idea at the time on account of being able to get the bulk of the work done before Christmas is at our throats. I can pad it out with gingerbread bollocks and stuff, do less cakes possibly.

WillSingForCake Fri 13-Sep-13 18:16:54

You can always freeze some for next year!

Stravy Fri 13-Sep-13 18:22:33


Are you serious? If you are I love you!!!

I'm not wild about doing non fruit cakes for Christmas because it's my busiest time at work and I haven't got a lot of time for baking (actual time and oven time) but I could do other cakes generally, throughout the year, I think I might do that.

SugarHut Fri 13-Sep-13 18:22:36

Oooooooooh, you know what you could do? Make those little gay cake pop things. Same ingredients I presume, and you could make the pops look like little mini Christmas puds.

Whaddya think.....

Scuttlebutter Fri 13-Sep-13 18:24:32

A couple of suggestions. I'm quite partial to a slice or two, but DH doesn't so we don't get (or make) a huge 8" cake. Like many people, we no longer plough through a giant fruit cake till the middle of January. How about making some small, individual size ones for couples/smaller households? I'd snap these up if I saw them at a charity fair or Christmas event.

The other option is - how about stollen? Has now become very popular - I think tastes have moved away somewhat from heavy fruit cakes - you see this at weddings now too - a lot more sponges or chocolate cakes.

Final suggestion if you already have the dried fruit - how about making some really nice mincemeat? If you put this into pretty jars as well, it will fly out - it's a versatile ingredient and can also be purchased to give as a gift.

Stravy Fri 13-Sep-13 18:26:42

I've never made a cake pop. Not sure how it would go with fruit cake in terms of drying out. I do have some of those wee cardboard loaf tins, which only use about 60p worth of ingredients. I'm hoping people will buy those as an impulse purchase.

SugarHut Fri 13-Sep-13 18:27:14

Scuttlebutter great suggestion with mincemeat, that will 100% sell out, especially in pretty jars.

Stravy Fri 13-Sep-13 18:32:58

Never made stollen or mincemeat (I am a chef, honest grin )

Stollen is expensive because of the vast amount of marzipan, I think the mark up might be lower than Christmas cake

I was planning to make the wee loaves (65p) 8 inch (£6,70), 6 inch (£4ish) and 4 inch (£2ish)

Costs are approximate for nudey boardless/boxless cakes

I shall look into mincemeat

Stravy Fri 13-Sep-13 18:35:57

I'm popping out. Thankyou for replies.

Taffeta Fri 13-Sep-13 18:40:26

Maybe make a few without marzipan? Plenty of people don't like it, it's hard to get shop bought without, and will save you big costs.

Scuttlebutter Fri 13-Sep-13 18:40:32

You can use mini baked bean tins for small cakes or other similar size tins. 65p is far too cheap - I'd cheerfully pay a £ or more for a good quality, well decorated small home made cake, especially if it was going for charity.

Think your 4 inch is too cheap as well.

Trust me on mincemeat - it will sell!

Taffeta Fri 13-Sep-13 18:41:51

Oh and as a seasoned cake pop maker I say....

Walk away from the cake pops. They are a massive faff and a total nightmare to transport.

forcookssake Fri 13-Sep-13 18:52:48

I agree with Scuttle, I'd charge £1 for the tiny tasters, then £3, £5 and £7 at least for the round cakes. You have made something delicious by hand FGS! You will be offering a wide selection of options, with a superior taste and it's for charity - don't undersell your produce and volunteer-time smile

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