Hate using royal icing? Looking for a different way to decorate your Christmas Cake? Look no further! Scroll down for my Naked Christmas Cake with Glazed Nuts and Cherries.
If you’ve ever tried making your own Christmas Cake at home you will know the trials and tribulations of trying to decorate said cake with marzipan and roayl icing. Every year I leave it until the last minute and more often than not I sit down to decorate the cake on Christmas Eve.
Some years I’ve been pretty chilled out come Christmas Eve. Other year’s I’ve been so behind on wrapping and packing, running late for the annual Christmas Eve get together at a friends house that the moment I’ve taken the royal icing out of the packet it’s all started to go wrong.
It’s easy enough to get the marzipan on. That usually goes OK. I’ll have a lovely smooth finish until the second I lay the rolled out royal icing on top.
Past decorating disasters and triumphs
One year I decided to cut out snowflakes from the icing. I did this before transferring to the cake and ended up with strange warped cut outs that didn’t resemble snowflakes in the slightest. Another year I decided to model Santa Claus stuck in a chimney. After painstakingly covering the edge of the cakes with tiny rectangular “bricks” I had to rush the big man. It was a fun, novelty cake but definitely didn’t look professional.
Last year I was just too damn tired to even contemplate icing my cake. I left the marzipan and icing in the cupboard and instead decided a “naked” Christmas Cake was the way forward. To dress it up a little I used some warm apricot jam to stick whole and halved nuts to the top of the cake along with a glace cherry or two. I then brushed it again with the warmed up jam to give a shiny glaze. It had much the same finish as a Dundee cake but with added festive flair!
Simplicity is key
The decoration took all of 5 minutes. The hardest part was melting the jam without burning it (note to self don’t leave it in the microwave) and the most time-consuming part was picking out the best looking nuts to top my cake! We don’t want any old bashed up almonds and walnuts on our Christmas Cake now do we! Just because it’s a naked cake doesn’t mean it can’t be a show stopper!
You can arrange the nuts and cherries in any order or pattern you want. I went for simple concentric circles with the cherries in the middle almost forming a red nose, just like Rudolph’s.
At such a busy time of year I think it’s important to remember that actually, simplicity is key. So long as there’s a slice of Christmas Cake to great your guests I’m sure they won’t mind whether it’s been iced with a snowy mountainscape, a rather strange-looking Santa Claus or a few pretty nuts and cherries. After all, they’re not visiting for the cake but to spend time with someone they love. That’s what Christmas is about after all!
- 300g Dark Brown Sugar
- 300g Butter
- 6 Eggs
- 400g plain flour
- 400g sultanas
- 300g currants
- 100g raisins
- 150g mixed peel
- 100g glace cherries
- 100g chopped almonds
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp dark treacle
- 2 Glasses of Brandy (+ extra for feeding)
- To decorate
- Apricot jam
- Walnut halves
- Whole almonds
- Pecan halves
- Glace cherries
- A day or two before you intend to make the cake, put all of the fruit into a bowl and pour over the brandy.
- Cover with Clingfilm and leave the fruit to rehydrate.
- The day you wish to bake your cake, begin by beating the butter and sugar until creamy.
- Slowly add the eggs to the mixture one at a time ensuring they are fully combined before adding the next one.
- Next, fold in the flour, chopped almonds, cinnamon and then fruit (with any juices left in the bowl) and treacle.
- Line a cake tin (roughly 9” x 3 ½”), pour the batter into the lined tin and bake for 6hrs and 20 mins on Gas Mark 1.
- Leave to cool before removing from the tin.
- Over the next few days drizzle a tbsp of brandy over it each day.
- To decorate
- Melt 2 tbsp of apricot jam and brush over the cake.
- Gently push the nuts and glace cherries on to the cake in any design you wish using the sticky jam as glue.
- Leave the nuts and cherries to set on to the cake.
- Finally, heat a little more jam and brush over the top of the nuts and cherries to give a shiny finish.
Of course if decorating the cake with glazed cherries and nuts goes wrong it’s probably time to make another big batch of mulled wine or to pour yourself a brandy! I won’t tell, I promise!
Pin it for later
Christmas is just a month away! Don’t get caught short. Whilst this recipe can be made the week before, it’s better if you make it as soon as possible and top it up with a little booze. In the meantime, make sure you’ve got this pinned for the moment you need it.