2010’s Christmas Cake is January’s Teatime Treat!

Dan Lepard Caramel Christmas CakeSpice Girl asked me in a comment here what happened to the cake I was making….

Full of sticky French Agen prunes, the best prunes in the world,  and even stickier cherries, whole walnuts and more fruit again, embedded in a caramel sauce, I  topped off Dan Lepard’s Caramel Cake with some Dutch marzipan. The cake is sweet and moist and could do with some more brandy in it to give it a more Christmassy feel, but it’s a delicious cake nonetheless. We only cut it yesterday so this is the first slice!

Sausage rolls, home made flaky pastry, little mince pies made with our own garden fruit mincemeat, something else I never got round to posting about.   There is still a bag of sausage rolls unbaked in the freezer.  And B wanted a stollen too, which I made with cranberries and sultanas. The gingerbread men mutated into yeti and I gave up trying to decorate them.

So as you can see, far too much food everywhere. Bring on the poached chicken soup!

Here are some prep pictures,  I didn’t take cooked ones of the sausage rolls and mince pies, but I am sure you know what they look like!  Christmas tree came down today and this is the last Christmas post from me.

Edited: 12th night – dug the sausage rolls that were left over out of the freezer and baked them off for supper with some celeriac and leek soup.

27 thoughts on “2010’s Christmas Cake is January’s Teatime Treat!

  1. drfugawe

    Damn, that cake looks really good! But, as an American, I have a deep distrust for anything that looks even a little like fruitcake – so I’m afraid I must taste a piece before I totally commit. Could you therefore send me a piece?

  2. SallyBR

    I will definitely have the sausage rolls… :-)

    (I am so behind reading your blog, and won’t be able to catch up until the weekend, but definitely wanted to say a quick hello….)

  3. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    It all looks so wonderful! Love the little birds and that fruit cake looks particularly rich and moreish. I’ve never made stollen – Pete’s staunchly anti-marzipan, so it’s never been high on the must bake list. Do you think I can make it without the marzipan, or would it just be raisin bread then? :)

      1. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

        Thanks Suelle! It reminds me of Hungarian beigli – we used to make it – although I don’t think the beigli had pieces of fruit in the dough. They’re quite easy to make if you ever want to put one together for OH (there’s a recipe on my blog). Cheers! :)

  4. Susan

    Lovely looking cake! Our more traditional one is all but finished. I’m interested in your Dutch marzipan – how does this differ from the usual marzipan?

  5. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

    Hi Doc – it’s very sweet and sticky, I don’t think you’d like it!

    @ Sally – didn’t know you were a flaky pastry fan ! – I find it hard to keep up with all my blogfriends too – lovely to hear from you :)

    Celia – Of course you can make a stollen without marzipan, is Pete anti almonds generally? Or just the taste of almond essence? This marzipan, being Dutch, didn’t have that horrible tang of artificial bitter almonds and was higher in nuts and lower in sugar, so very mild in taste, the one I put in the Stollen was white not yellow like the one on the cake. Spicy yeasted fruit bread/cake with a butter/icing sugar coating. (Shh – I still prefer panettone)

    Hello Susan – the Dutch marzipan had a different proportion of sugar to nuts and no artificial flavouring, so was much milder in taste and a bit more grainy in texture. I spent a while on Dan Lepard’s forum trying to find out how to make my own before Christmas. It’s still on my project list. I wanted to make the sort you get inside good quality German marzipan chocolate bars. I’ll still do it, it just hasn’t happened yet…

    @ Suelle, sorry to disappoint you, but I am sure you can imagine them ;) I wonder if I should have cooked the caramel a bit more for the cake, but I have quite a lot of caramel anxiety, so I pulled it off the stove once it had got to a medium toffee colour.

  6. heidi

    I’d like your recipe for sausage rolls.
    Over the holidays, my son and dil were here. I made sausage links, and asked my sons to go to the store and buy some buns for the sausage ( I didn’t have time to make any- t oo many cookies-not enough time for bread!)- I got a call from them at the store.
    ” Mom? You wanted sausage rolls? They don’t sell sausage rolls in the US.”
    I’ve made my own version of sausage rolls, but they don’t taste like the ones I had in the North of England. Could you share?

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Heidi, Brian made these sausage rolls and I can give you his recipe for the flaky pastry, I think the sausage meat part was sausage meat, chopped sage, white breadcrumbs and salt and pepper – but in the meantime can I point you to Minadott’s great sausage roll post here, it is particularly good because she talks about how to get the meat right when you don’t have ready packed english style sausage meat to hand. I was going to make Minadott’s and then I came home one day to find Brian had already made his own pastry… and one never looks a gift batch of pastry in the mouth ;)


  7. cityhippyfarmgirl

    Joanna if you make some marzipan, I will too. It’s been on my list of things to do and I’m just not sure about it. I have a 1950’s cookbook of sweeties and it says very strongly not to bother making your own, but to go out and purchase marzipan instead as it was far too tricky to make…pah!
    Your stollen looks lovely. I’d trek through waist deep snow to get to some.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Brydie, I will try to collate what I have gleaned about marzipan making :) The stollen looks very Christmassy and B is very keen on it, he is the big dried fruit fan here.

  8. jan trounce

    Oh, that cake looks so good and the description of the fruit and nuts is a killer. Unfortunately for moi, I fiddled with a body-mass chart at work today and put in my own really very tiny body mass and it said “overweight”. What would it know, stupid thing. Trouble is I can’t throw the BMC out, it did make a good frisby, but I had to put it back.

    1. jan trounce

      PS: your gingerbread men sound like my sort-a guys – love the notion of little yetis – Zeb would think you were brilliant!

      1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

        Ah Jan, I found myself watching ’10 useful tips about weight loss’ on the TV last night. Not going to diet, but….

        Anyway, the ones I remember were… thick soup is better than thin soup with bits in for staving off hunger pangs. something to do with stomachs fililing and emptying and water and something called grellin. OK I can do that. Use smaller plates and you will eat less. Hmm, not convinced…. Having a lot of choice, variety as in a buffet type meal or smorgasbord for lunch means you eat more than if you are looking at one thing that is the same, something to do with our hunter/gatherer/scavanger origins… Fruit salad has calories, don’t over do it and think because it is fruit it has magic calorie free powers…and at that point I nodded off :) Of course that cake has an outrageous number of calories, and I don’t know if we will ever get to the end of it, I’m hoping many people will come for tea and help eat it.

        1. jan trounce

          If I met a grellin I would probably try to swat it, but if it comes to the need to hunt, gather and scavenge – I was clearly born to survive, so follow me (I’m the one with the squirrel cheeks)!

  9. fiona robyn

    What bagnidilucca said ; )
    Can’t leave a comment at your small stone site so came here to say how much I enjoyed your stone today. Happy weekend.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Hi fiona – that’s very kind of you. I wonder why the comments don’t work on the other site, I will have a look tomorrow. Happy weekend to you too!

  10. Choclette

    That cake looks and sounds jolly delicious and glad to see a nice thick slab of marzipan on top. The mince pies look tres elegantes.

    Happy eating :)

  11. narf77

    I am salivating looking at that fruitcake…fruitcake is one of my weaknesses. Mum even sent me one the 3986.8km that we were apart every single year. A good cook can be measured by their fruitcake in my opinion. Dry mealy cakes or unctuous rich fruity rich moist cakes are the order of the day in most households and I MUCH prefer the latter. I also love marzipan and Agen prunes? I adore them! :). You can forget the fluffy cream cakes and lots of icing, give me a slab of heavy rich moist fruitcake and a good cuppa any day and this girl is in cake munching heaven :). Cheers for the link to Dan’s amazing caramel fruitcake and did you do a post on that stolen? I made my first stolen (well 3 of them) last Christmas (not ready to do the Christmas cakes yet) and gave some away. I found that they dried out awfully quickly but that if you ate them quickly enough they were lovely. Thankyou again for sending me to Dan’s amazing recipe. I might not be up to baking mums cakes quite yet but I think I might have a bash at making Dan’s cake this year for Christmas :)

  12. Joanna Post author

    Australian fruit cakes are famous for being wonderful, I bet your Mum’s one was just the best. I am sorry to hear that she has passed away, the year after my Mum died we had a lunch with all her favourite foods on the table.

    Fruit cake, fruit bread, teacakes, mixed peel, are all big favourites here too. Here iis the simple fruit cake we make, differs every time depending on what and which of us is making it https://zebbakes.com/tag/boiled-fruit-cake. I have tried various Dan Christmas cakes, one of them is much darker, has cocoa in it. He also has a recipe for moist stollen, search the Guardian Dan Lepard files, which might work for you. I have gone off stollen, find them a bit much, and tend to obsess about panettone and pandoro. I like the challenge of making them, especially with a sourdough starter and I like the way you can have a huge piece and it melts to nothing being all air. I will look for the other recipe and see if have saved it somewhere x Jo

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