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How to Make the Perfect Christmas Cake

Christmas cake is an item that many people choose to buy nowadays as they are worried that they will not have the time to make one themselves. Some may also be concerned that they will not be able to create a delicious, moist cake that tastes perfect. However, the wonderful thing about fruitcake is that it improves with time, especially if it contains alcohol. You can make fabulous Christmas cake weeks before the big day, and it will taste even better than when it first emerged from the oven. Whatever recipe you choose to follow, there are a few things that you can do that will help ensure that your Christmas cake will be devoured by family and friends alike.

Below are just a few tips on how to make the perfect Christmas cake:

One of the best things about Christmas cake is the fact that it can be made well in advance. Christmas day is a busy day in and of itself, but especially so if you are cooking dinner for the family. If you are having guests over for the day, then you will be even busier. Making the cake ahead of time means having less to do on the big day.
While ingredients such as dried fruit can be purchased in advance, there are others that should be as fresh as possible; these can include eggs and fresh fruit such as oranges and lemons.
Soaking the dried fruit in alcohol overnight will ensure that the fruit remains moist and has a delicious flavour as well. If you prefer not to add alcohol to the Christmas cake, soak the fruit in apple or orange juice for a similar effect. Alternatively, hot black tea will do the trick. This not only keeps the cake moist but it will also ensure that the fruit does not sink to the bottom.
Dark sugars such as muscovado, molasses and demerara are preferable to caster sugar as it ensures the cake crumb stays moist.
If you are following a recipe, then use the right equipment (think tins, etc.). If you use a cake tin that is bigger than the one stated in the recipe, you could end up with a burnt cake or one that is too soggy.
A baking tray with water in it placed on the bottom shelf will mean the oven remains ‘moist’ and will ensure the cake cooks better.
You should not open the door of the oven while the cake is cooking. If you are worried that the cake may be burning (this is common with cakes containing a lot of sugar), you can simply turn the oven temperature down and then leave the cake in longer than stated in the recipe.
If the top of the cake does appear burnt, cut these pieces away. Once you ice the cake, it will not be noticeable.
Do not place the cake in the fridge. It should be wrapped in greaseproof paper and then foil. Once you have wrapped it up, place it in an airtight container until it is time to decorate it.
To ensure the cake stays moist, you can spoon some alcohol, fruit juice or black tea over it every second week. Make holes in the cake with a skewer or cocktail stick first to ensure the liquid gets right into the centre of the cake.
It is important that marzipan is allowed to dry completely before icing is added. If your marzipan is not dry, it could discolour the icing. Those who do not like marzipan can use fondant icing instead of royal icing, or if you have the required skills, sugarcraft can be a great decoration addition.
   

The above tips can be followed no matter what recipe you are using and they will help you make the perfect Christmas cake. Just make sure you have all the correct cake decorating equipment, cake decorations, cakestands & essential ingredients before you start the baking process. 

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