Welcome to October, home of Halloween, nights drawing in, dark mornings, colder weather, oh and the beginning of the Christmas preparations! What? I hear you exclaim. Christmas prep already? Yes, we know it seems a little early but if you like to plan ahead and be as prepared as possible for the upcoming festivities, you will understand that October actually is the best month to start your Christmas planning.
For anyone who has made their own Christmas cake before, you will know that this is one home baked cake that needs plenty of time to mature. There are arguments as to how long exactly, but this really depends on taste. Some people like to start three months in advance while others feel six weeks is enough. The choice is yours.
Home baking has boomed in popularity over the past few years, and we have TV shows such as The Great British Bake Off to thank for this. Plus the economy, which demands we shell out less on expensive, professionally made foodstuffs, combined with a raised awareness of what goes into our food that encourages us to spend less, and know more about what we’re eating by making it ourselves. Add to this that home baking is a fun pastime we can enjoy with family and a great way to entertain ourselves throughout the winter months. So what better time to try your hand at making your own Christmas cake?
Mason Cash is a name synonymous with home baking and what they don’t know about home made cakes, pies, puddings or bread is probably not worth knowing. Your mother would have known and your grandmother before her, that to be a truly devoted home baker, you must own at least one Mason Cash mixing bowl, if not a whole set. Well, if it’s good enough for Mary Berry and her Great British Bakers, it’s good enough for us.
As a first time Christmas Cake Baker, there are a few essential pieces of equipment you will need and, trust us, Mason Cash can help with all of these. There are an obvious few that anyone, even a first time student in favour of a tin of beans and a microwave would find in their kitchen cupboards, but for the rest, put your trust in Mason Cash and we promise, you won’t go far wrong. We’ll start with the easy stuff.
1. A wooden spoon Fairly standard, fairly obvious, if you want to mix anything, it’s a good idea to keep one of these to hand. If you are one of the chosen few that has not yet invested in the essential wooden spoon, Mason Cash do offer a great hard wearing environmentally friendly rubber wood version, with a nice little thumb indent to protect those pinkies while your stirring up stubborn mixtures.
2. A large mixing bowl To make the perfect Christmas cake, it is essential to have a large roomy mixing bowl to mix your fruits and booze together. You will also need a second bowl to mix up your cake mix. Mason Cash offer a huge variety of fantastic mixing bowls of all sizes, whether you’re a fan of the traditional style or a more modern, colourful version, and there is nothing better to have in the kitchen that a top quality, heavy duty stoneware mixing bowl that you can pass down to your children when you’re done baking with it.
3. Weighing Scales A decent set of weighing scales is essential to get your cake mix just right, and Mason Cash do a great 5kg scale in their Essentials range. Available in cream or red, this scale is perfect to accurately weigh out your Christmas cake ingredients.
4. Skewer Making sure your cake is done before removing it from the oven is crucial, and the Mason Cash skewer is perfect to check that your cake is cooked right through.
5. Newspaper Okay, we aren’t offering this on sale because we’re pretty sure you can find a free piece, but newspaper or brown paper is really useful when baking a Christmas cake to protect the cake when cooking. A Christmas cake contains a lot of sweet and dried fruit and sugar and the cooking of the cake can take over 4 hours. Wrapping the cake tin in newspaper and standing it on a few sheets of paper during the baking process prevents it from cooking too quickly or burning during the long slow cooking process.
6. Rolling Pin Moving onto decorating your cake, a rolling pin is essential for getting your marzipan and icing layers rolled out to perfection. Mason Cash have a fabulous non stick rolling pin which is perfect for rolling out icing and will be useful for year round cake decorating after you are done with your Christmas cake.
7. Spatula Such a simple, but useful tool. The Mason Cash 28cm spatula is perfect for levelling your cake before cutting, for decorating your cake and making sure everything is smooth, and even for removing you cake from the cake tin, if it is being ever so slightly stubborn.
8. Turntable This is very useful if you intend to get creative with your Christmas cake decorating. The Mason Cash tilted turntable allows you to easily sculpt and decorate your cake, easily without causing damage trying to turn it around.
9. Icing Bag and Nozzles Okay we may be straying away from “essential” kit here but if you want to give your cake a professional finish, then what better way that to pipe icing around the edges for a stunning finish? Mason Cash have an easy to use 6 Nozzles, Icing Bag and Scraper Set, which caters to all your decorative icing needs.
10. Cake Stand Show off your home baked creation in all its glory on a gorgeous stoneware Mason Cash cake stand. What better way to end your Christmas feast?
So, now you’ve got the equipment, here are a few Christmas cake recipes for you to try out: