Christmas Cake Bites & Cake Pops
These little Christmas Cake bites are a great way to use up extra Rich Fruit Christmas Cake, and if you pop them onto cake pop sticks they make Christmas Cake Pops. Perfect little mouthfuls of Christmas for after dinner or for Christmas buffets!
You will need:
- Leftover rich fruit cake
- Apricot Jam
- Brandy (or fruit juice)
- Chocolate vermicelli
- Royal Icing for decoration- Squires Kitchen Royal Icing Mix is great for this
- Petit Fours cases and/or cake pop sticks
Because cakes vary I have not given quantities here as it will depend on how dry your fruit cake is as to how much of the apricot jam and brandy to use. I used about 500g of cake, 1 large tablespoon of apricot jam and 1 tablespoon of Brandy for mine but you will need to adjust the quantities depending on your own cake and taste. This quantity made about 30 Christmas cake bites.
Crumble the cake into a bowl and mix in apricot jam and brandy until the mixture sticks together.
Roll the mixture into balls about 1″ in diameter.
Place the vermicelli into a bowl and roll the balls into it making sure they are well coated and set aside to set up.
If making cake pops do not make the mix too wet or they will not stay on the sticks – if your cake is quite moist it is probably better not to add brandy to the mix for the cake pops as this may make your mixture too wet – you can get a similar taste without the liquid by adding a drop or two of Brandy flavouring instead or try my personal favourite Amaretto flavour from Beau Products…yummy!
Make up a small quantity of Royal Icing. I used the Squires Kitchen Royal Icing mix as this can be made easily in small quantities – just remember that like any Royal Icing it needs to be beaten well until thick and standing in firm peaks and if you are not making up the whole bag at once make sure you give the bag a good shake up before making up to make sure the ingredients are evenly distributed.
For the cake pop bites dip the end of your cake pop stick into the royal icing and fix the ball of cake mixture onto the end. Leave to set up before decorating.
Place about half of your royal icing onto a tile and paddle down with a palette knife until it is smooth. Add a few drops of water until it is at soft-peak consistency. Place in a small bag with a No 2 nozzle and pipe a little onto the top of each bite – allow it to run down a little for the best effect. Leave to set up.
Colour your remaining icing – half red and the other half green. This should be stiff.
Place the green icing in a bag with a No 2 nozzle and pipe 3 small leaves for your holly.
Place the red icing in a small bag with a No1 Tube and pipe 3 small bulbs for the holly berries and leave to dry completely.
Pop the Christmas Cake bites into petite fours cases for presentation. Serve after dinner or as a special treat during the Christmas period. They also make a lovely little gift if you wrap them in cellophane!
Snowballs – An alternative to the Christmas Cake Bites
If you want to make an alternative type of Christmas cake bite how about these snowballs!
Make the balls of cake mix as before but this time cover with a thin layer of marzipan. Roll your marzipan into a strip, roll the cake mix into it and cut to size. Pinch the ends to seal and snip of any excess marzipan. Roll in your hand to form a round ball.
Leave to set up. Then let down a little of your royal icing on a tile so that it is just at soft peak and roll each of the marzipanned bites into it before popping them on a cake pop stick and standing to dry. You can finish with a sprinkle of edible glitter for a bit of glitz!
Anyone will be impressed with these yummy little mouthfuls when you hand them round after your dinner or when you are all chilling in front of the Christmas TV.
How to Marzipan a Square Fruit Cake for Royal Icing
Royal Icing is one of my favourite coverings and it is really starting to become very fashionable again. I love the flavour and the crisp sharp appearance of a Royal Iced cake but if you want a great Royal Iced cake you need to start with a good base coat of Marzipan. this tutorial will teach you how to marzipan a square fruit cake ready for Royal Icing.
Unlike most sugarpaste cakes where we marzipan to get rounded edges by marzipanning the cake all-in-one. With Royal Icing we need the marzipan to give really sharp edges so we do the top and each side separately.
We have recorded the following video tutorial to show you the best way to professionally marzipan your square fruit cake. The cake in the video is a 7″ square cake and uses about 850g marzipan.
We start off by marzipanning the top of the cake which takes about 2/3 of the marzipan. The remaining third is used to marzipan the cake sides. This means that you do not have too much marzipan on the sides but there will be enough to seal the cake ready for the royal iced coatings whilst the top has the depth of marzipan to give great flavour to each slice.
You will need:
- Square Rich Fruit Cake
- Alcohol or orange juice for feeding
- Apricot Jam
- Marzipan (I use the Renshaws Rencol Marzipan because it is smooth and has great flavour!)
- Cake Board – Do not use the board you will be finally presenting the cake on – start with a rough board until after you have completed the Royal Icing covering
The tools you will need are:
Once you have completed the mazipanning leave the cake at least overnight. The ideal is a few days to crust over but you can leave it up to a couple of weeks before covering with Royal Icing. It can even be left longer but if you leave it too long the marzipan will dry out and lose its flavour.
How to Marzipan a Round Cake for Royal Icing
Creating Edible Christmas Penguins
These new cutters are manufactured by FMM Sugarcraft and they helped create all these cookie designs above!
FMM have been trending in versatility with their latest designs and we love them!
Make your money go further by using these cutters for a number of designs. Creating edible Christmas Penguins, Snowmen and Robins as shown on these Christmas Cupcakes.
Learn more and find out how to use them in this wonderful tutorial starring Ceri Bodham.
We are now stocking this cutter on our online shop! FMM offer a lifetime guarantee with all their products.
RICH FRUIT CAKE
This traditional English Rich Fruit Cake recipe makes a rich fruit cake that is perfect for Weddings, Christenings and other Celebrations as well as for the traditional English Christmas Cake. With the rising popularity of traditional styled and Royal Iced cakes fruit cakes are again getting fashionable!
This fruit cake recipe gives a dark moist cake, sweet and fruity. We used this recipe at Party Animal for over 20 years and it never failed to get a good response whether used for Christmas, weddings or any other special occasion.
It is best to bake the cake at least one month and preferably about 3 months before use so that it matures and the flavours develop.
This recipe makes an 8″ square / 9″ round cake approximately 3″ deep.
The fruit Mix
- 295g raisins
- 295g sultanas
- 280g currants
- 145g dried apricots
- 175g glace cherries
- 100g mixed peel (some people leave this out but as long as it is well soaked
it adds an extra ‘bite’ to the mix)
- 100g chopped nuts (I personally use a mix of almond nibs, almond flakes and chopped walnuts)
- 12ml finely grated lemon rind
- 35ml fresh lemon juice
- 60ml brandy or we use what we know as ‘soaking mix’ – 2 parts sherry: 1 part rum: 1 part brandy – a perfect mix for flavour and the alcohol content is unimportant as that will burn off during cooking – that’s why you can use this even for teetotallers!
The Cake Batter Mix
- 325g dark brown sugar
- 325g butter
- 30ml a mix of treacle and golden syrup – I use a 50:50 mix but if you prefer a darker less sweet cake just use treacle
- 5 medium eggs
- 20ml (4tspn) mixed spice
- 70g ground almonds
- 370g plain flour
Soak the fruit
Chop the apricots and cherries to taste – You can chop finely for a more even dispersion but I like to have some larger pieces of cherry in the mix as I find this give a moister taste to the cake.
Add all the dried fruit, cherries and apricots to a bowl along with the lemon juice and rind, chopped nuts, and soaking mix. Mix well and cover or place into a sealed food box.
Leave for at least overnight but preferably for 3-4 days and up to about 1 week is fine. This will allow the fruit to soak up the liquid. Shake or stir occasionally to make sure all the fruit gets soaked thoroughly. This helps with plumping up the fruit for a moist cake finish.
Bake the Cakes
Line a greased tin with a double layer of greaseproof paper or baking parchment and grease well.
Preheat oven to approx 140°C
Cream together the sugar and butter then add the eggs. Mix in the remaining ingredients including treacle, spice, almonds and flour. Mix until smooth and then stir in the soaked fruit and any juice that is left. I find this is a good time to get clean hands involved! It is much easier to mix evenly using your hands when the fruit is added.
Fill the prepared tins with the rich fruit cake mixture and smooth with a damp spoon. (A good trick to make sure the mix is even is to bang the tins down a few times which should remove any air pockets.) The damp spoon should leave the top damp. This will help the top surface to cook without drying out.
Bake in a preheated oven at approx 140°C. for about 3 - 3½ hours.
Ovens vary greatly so if you find that the cake is beginning to peak or crack turn down the oven and cook for a little longer.
To test - press surface of cake lightly - it should feel firm to the touch. Take out cake and listen to it! If it sings (whistles) it is not quite ready so pop back in for a minute or two.
Leave to cool in the tin until you can pick up the tin easily without gloves. This gives the cake time to settle and set up a bit. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Brush the cake surface with some brandy or other spirit. You will need about 60ml. We usually use what we term our 'feeding mix'. This is 2 parts brandy: 1 part rum: 1 part sherry and gives a good flavour to the cakes. Unlike when you are soaking the fruit, you will need to use fruit juice or sugar syrup to feed your cakes for teetotallers as the alcohol remains in the cakes. If you pierce the cake surface with a fine skewer before feeding you will get the feeding mix deeply into the cake.
Cut some greaseproof paper for the top of the cake and then wrap in foil. Finally wrap in Cling Film and store in a cool dry place.
Rich fruit cakes can be stored for up to 6 months before using. From time to time open up and feed with more feeding mixture to add more flavour and keep moist. Do not overdo it or your cakes will be soggy and difficult to decorate.
Novelty Firework Cake
This novelty firework cake is perfect for a bonfire night tea. Shaped as 2 fireworks with ‘exploding’ stars it will make a great centrepiece, and when it is cut each person gets their own little Catherine Wheel cake. You can’t get much more bonfire themed than that!
What you will need
- One Swiss Roll – find the recipe here
- 1Kg Sugarpaste
- Paste Food Colours to colour the sugarpaste – I used
- Edible Glue
- Squires modelling paste in black and white
- Hamilworth 24g metallic wires in gold, green, purple and red
- Glitter Colours. I used the Rainbow Dust craft hologram glitters as the stars will be removed and these colours give the best shine but if you want to ensure you use completely edible colours Sugarflair have some nice sparkle colours including red, green, black, gold and silver which you could use instead
- 8″ Round Hardboard Cake Board
- Icing Sugar for rolling out
- Rolling pins – one for rolling out the paste and a small pin for the decoration
- Marzipan spacers are useful for making sure your paste is the correct thickness
- Small and medium circular cutters
- Sharp knife
- Baking Parchment for templates
- Non-Stick board
- Star Cutters – I used the FMM Star Set
- Alphabet Cutters – I used the FMM Art Deco Tappit set
- Shell tool for embossing the board to give a grass effect.
Method – Preparation
Step 1: Bake your cake. You can find the recipe and instructions for baking a Fat-Free Swiss Roll here.
Colour your sugarpaste. You will need approx. 400g Purple, 250g Red, 250g Green and 100g Yellow. Cover your board with the green paste and emboss using the shell tool.
Ideally it is best to do this step the day before so that the paste and cakes set up a little to make it easier to work.
Step 2: Make the stars – This could be done a few days ahead to make sure that they are completely dry but they certainly need to dry overnight at least.
Cut the metallic wires to the variable lengths. Roll out the white Squires SMP thinly on a non-stick board and cut out a variety of stars using the FMM Star Set of cutters. Dip the end of the wire into edible glue and fix each star onto a wire.
Either leave flat to dry or place in oasis or polystyrene to dry. Personally I like to dry them standing because it gives a bit more shape to the stars rather than them being flat although they are delicate at this stage so take care. Leave to set up completely.
When set brush with edible glue and dip in the glitter. I use a piece of parchment paper under them as that way it is possible to tip a lot of glitter onto each star to ensure they are well covered. Any glitter remaining on the paper can then be tipped back into the pot when finished.
Set aside and leave to dry thoroughly.
Method – Covering the Firework cakes
Step 3: Cut the swiss roll into 2. One should be approximately twice as long as the other section. This will make 2 novelty firework cakes. Using parchment paper make a template for your covering.
Mask the cakes thinly with buttercream or ganache and stand on end.
Step 4: Roll out a small piece of purple paste and cut 2 circles using the larger circle cutter – you should chose a cutter the same size as the cake surface. Place the cut paste on the top end of each cake.
Cover the larger cake with purple paste and the smaller with red paste using the templates as a guide. Leave a small amount standing proud of the top edge.
Cut a thin strip of the contrasting coloured paste and tuck into the join, fixing in place with edible glue. This gives a stripe down the back of each firework cake. When you cut the cake into the slices each slice will have a contrasting ‘fuse’.
With the remaining purple paste roll out thickly and cut 2 circles and fix to the centre of each firework cake top with edible glue. This makes the ‘fuse’ and will be where you will fix your stars so that the wires do not go into the cake.
Method – Finishing Touches
Step 5: On a non-stick board roll out the black Squires SMP to make the labels for the fireworks. It is important that this paste is rolled very thinly. Cut into a strip. Rub a little cornflour under the paste to release it from the board and a little into the top surface with your fingertips to help the letters come out of the cutters easily.
Using the FMM Tapit set select the letter you need and press into the paste. Scrub it a little against the board to ensure it is cleanly cut. Lift out and then tap the end of the cutter firmly against your table top. The letter should drop out cleanly. If it sticks you may have your paste too thick or you may not have dried the top enough with your cornflour. Repeat with the remaining letters until you have all you need.
Roll out a strip of white Squires SMP paste and stick the letters onto this using a little edible glue. Trim to size and then glue the strip to the side of the larger firework cake as shown.
Step 6: Cut out some yellow stars using the FMM star cutters and fix to the side of the smaller cake.
Step 7: Place the cakes carefully on the covered board using a little buttercream or ganache if necessary to stick them in place. You could add a few stars to the board or else add an inscription if you prefer.
Step 8: Finally arrange the stars into the top of each cake. You can also make a few spirals using the metallic wires.
Simply wrap the wire around a small rolling pin (A Cel Stick is ideal for this). Remove the wire and you will have a spiral ‘spring’. These can be used to fill out the firework topper.
So there you have your finished Firework cake with glittery stars topper.
To serve the cake cut into slices. You will end up with a plateful of little Catherine wheels thanks to the spiral of the roulade, complete with a little fuse.
If you don’t want to bake a swiss roll you can of course get ready made shop ones which you can just decorate. Alternatively you could use your favourite firm cake mix baked in empty washed out cans – I love the Rich Cherry Cake for this – for 4 baked bean cans you will need about a half quantity of cake mix. Unfortunately this will not give you the pretty spirals when cut but tastes delicious!
Take care this November the 5th and enjoy the praise from all for this fabulous Novelty Fireworks Cake!
Rich Cherry Cake
This Rich Cherry Cake recipe is one of our absolute favourite cakes here at Partyanimalonline. It can be used for celebration cakes as well as novelty cakes or simply as a lovely cake with a cup of afternoon tea! It is a rich madeira style cake with ground almonds and glace cherries, firm enough to shape and cut well, but moist and tasty.
This recipe makes a 8″ round or 7″ square deep cake.
- 240g Caster Sugar
- 240g Margarine or Butter
- 4 Large Eggs
- 70g Plain Flour
- 205g Self Raising Flour
- 60g Cornflour
- 60g Ground Almonds
- 325g Glace Cherries
Step 1: Preheat the oven to about 170°c / 325°f/ gas 3. Line a 8″ round (or 7″ square) greased tin with parchment or greaseproof paper. Lightly grease the paper.
Step 2: Sift together the 3 flours in a bowl and set aside. Cream the sugar and butter in a mixer until light and fluffy.
Step 3: Add the eggs slowly. If the rich cherry cake batter begins to curdle (separate and look a little lumpy) add a little of the flour to the mixture. Mix in the ground almonds. The batter should be at a dropping consistency. This when the mix will drop off a spoon when you give it a little shake. If it is too firm a little milk can be added to the mixture. Be careful not to overdo this however as otherwise you may find the cherries do not stay dispersed through the mix but drop to the bottom instead.
Step 4: Cut the cherries roughly in half, wash and dry well. Mix with the flour and then fold into the batter mixture making sure that the cherries are well dispersed.
Step 5: Tip the rich cherry cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for about 1½ hours until risen and golden brown. The cake should not form a peak as it rises but should stay nice and flat. If you find that it is rising too quickly turn down your oven a little. All ovens vary and you may need to adjust temperatures and cooking times to suit your own oven.
Step 6: When cooked place on a wire rack still in the tin until it is just cool enough to pick up without gloves. This will allow time for the cake to firm up before turning out. Do not let it cool completely or it will be difficult to remove from the tin and a thick crust may develop on the outside of the cake from sitting too long in the tin.
Step 7: Leave to cool completely before decorating to suit. This cake is firm enough to cut and shape for novelty cakes.
You can use other glace fruit such as pineapple or ginger in place of the cherries or if you want to make a light fruit cake dried currants, sultanas and raisins can be added. When using dried fruits it is advisable to soak overnight in orange and or lemon juice to plump up the dried fruit and keep the cake moist.