Friday, 21 December 2012

apple, mincemeat and chocolate christmas wreath cake

... neither The Viking or I are massive fans of christmas cake or christmas pudding... it's all that rich, sweet darkness that I find too cloying so i've wanted to make an alternative christmas cake for ages... one that didn't have to be made weeks in advance but that still has that christmas flavour whilst still be lighter than usual... i've been waiting for that flash of inspiration and I think I had it this morning... mincemeat... i'm sure you'll agree that mincemeat has christmas 'built-in' and my thinking is that if I could incorporate the glorious stuff into a cake then surely that would be my answer... the mincemeat also has that wonderful balance of the acidity of citrus peel with the sweet plumpness of golden currants which is exactly what you want from a christmas cake... on one of my mad christmas dashes through Sainsbury's I managed to secure myself a jar of their Taste the Difference mincemeat which also has a little added brandy for that extra special something...

... this cake is essentially as simple as a marmalade cake where all the flavour comes from the jar, except I am adding one or two naughty little extras such as desiccated coconut, grated apple and some divine nuggets of callebaut origine ecuador 70% cocoa chocolate I had left-over from my recent cooking demo exploits... i'm also using my favourite new bundt tin for that 'christmas wreath' look and some shocking food colouring for some extra cringle madness!

... if the cake lasts the weekend it will be perfect for christmas day...

apple, mincemeat and chocolate christmas wreath cake
I did actually find a Delia mincemeat cake recipe which i've adapted quite a bit as I didn't have a lot of the ingredients... I simply swapped them for what I did have, which is just the way I roll...

for the filling
1 400g jar of mincemeat
150ml brandy, sherry or your favourite christmas liquor... i used drambuie
175g mixed dried fruit
50g candied ginger
grated rind of 1 large orange
50g desiccated coconut
a handful of chopped nuts
75g chocolate drops or chopped chocolate
2 medium apples - grated

for the cake batter
100g wholemeal flour
150g self-raising flour
3 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons mixed spice
150g softened butter
100g golden caster sugar
50g runny honey
3 large eggs

- combine all the filling ingredients in a large bowl and leave overnight if you can... this is not essential

- in a separate bowl combine all the batter ingredients with an electric whisk until fluffy

- pour the filling into the batter mix and gently fold in

- pour the cake mixture into a bundt tin and bake in an oven on 160C for 1 hour or until risen and a skewer comes out clean... watch the cake though as it may catch on top... I placed some baking parchment on top after about 45 mins which seemed to do the trick

- get creative with the topping... I used a simple icing sugar and egg white icing and then went a little crazy with some green and red coloured icing... oh and then The Viking got in on the act and made the most adorable snowmen, each one with their own particular character... they're currently living in our fridge because it reminds them of home... I may let them come out on Christmas Day for some turkey...

eat and of course, enjoy!


  1. "I simply swapped them for what I did have, which is just the way I roll..." - my type of cooking! And this cake looks superb - very professional!

    I adore your snowmen - perhaps a cartoon series in the pipeline?

  2. Oh blimey Dom, this looks fantastic!

    It looks like a lovely, bit lighter alternative to Christmas Cake, and I love the decoration. That snowman is just way too cute, too!

    Have a lovely Christmas! :) x

  3. in your fridge to remind them of home - aww - you're such a pair of softies! Merry Christmas Dom x

  4. What brilliant cake. Loving your snowmen too.

  5. This looks amazing! You have hidden talents!

  6. I love the tiny snowman....
    Merry Christmas!

  7. lovely cake, not sure fondant does too well in the fridge though! Be sure to let them watch the Snowman and Snow Dog on Cmas Eve. Have you downloaded the app? it's just delightful.

  8. This cake is amazing and sounds like a good choice for a lighter alternative. Love the little snowmen too, so cute!

  9. Oh Dom Sainsbury's should put this in their Xmas range - it looks & sounds so good & those adorable snowmen waiting in the fridge to come out & play! xx

  10. That is quite possibly the sweetest little cake I've seen this week ... of all the Christmas sweets posts! Brilliant, dear Dom!

  11. Great cake Dom, I especially love the Christmas wreath effect. The cake fits in really well with this month's Baking With Spirit (my monthly challenge, orientated around spiking your baking with booze), where you can include any alcohol you like but preferably in a festive bake. If you'd like to enter this cake I'd be very grateful! Here's the link:

  12. That's a lovely cake - cakes are my favourite way of using mincemeat, if I'm honest. Although that's a great cake, no offence, Dom, but the brilliant snowmen steal the show. Have a good Christmas.

  13. A great flash of inspiration and it looks so good. Very inspirational

  14. I agree with Mummy this would go a treat in Sainsbury's! Love the bundt cake tin and how good is it when you can go with the flow and throw in some substitute ingredients.I would love a piece of this. Merry Christmas.

  15. Very impressive - and probably so much more welcome than the traditional heavy style of cake. I love the Snowman family too - Nick Park would be proud of you. Happy Christmas!

  16. I usually like british puds and cakes for an indulgent treat, but the taditional christmas cake is one that I just cannot bring myself to like. I find it much too heavy and I don't really like all that dried fruit and nuts and stuff in it. this one sounds much much better imo, much lighter, and looks gorgeous too (:

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  18. What a gorgeous Christmassy cake...all the colours are so festive and your snowman is so cute! The flavours sound lovely too...great job! Happy Christmas :-)

  19. That looks utterly fab Dom - so festive. I hope you enjoyed it! I tried Delia's mincemeat Christmas cake, decorated as she said with nuts and it was a disaster! Glad to see that it makes a good bundt cake - I'll have to try it like that.


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