A Christmas cake is actually any type of fruitcake served during Christmas time in many countries of the world. Thus, you will often find variations of the staple Christmas cake depending on the country, which can range from diverse cultures as the United Kingdom and the United States to Japan and the Philippines.
As such, a Christmas cake may be dark or light, unleavened or leavened, crumbly and moist or sticky and wet, heavy or spongy, round or rectangular and just about decorated with all sorts of toppings and icings.
No matter the type of Christmas cake baked and served in your family, however, there are certain guidelines that must be followed to make it as perfect as possible. After all, it is Christmas and nothing less than perfect will do for such a special occasion.
Use High-Quality Ingredients
A Christmas cake is only as good as its ingredients. Come to think of it, this applies to all kinds of cooking. Anyways, always be sure that your ingredients are of the highest and freshest quality even if you have to pay a premium for it. Think high-quality candied fruits and brandy, fresh flour and baking soda, good spices and molasses.
Use Superior Quality Baking Ware
You want to avoid uneven baking as well as burning of cakes. Thus, you have to use only good quality bake ware from the pans to the bowls to the spoons. Keep in mind, too, that you have to ensure that these are very clean, dry and hygienic with no traces of oils, grease and dirt. However, it is not just the superiority of the bake ware that is important. You also have to use the right sizes of pans since it can affect the even baking of the Christmas cake. If you must substitute pans, make sure that you have a substitution chart as a guide.
Maintain Ingredients at Room Temperature
Unlike pastries and pies, the ingredients used for Christmas cakes must be used at room temperature. Take out the frozen butter well before you start baking, use lukewarm water and eggs at room temperature in order to get the best results.
Use the Oven to Your Advantage
The oven plays a big role in the making of the perfect Christmas cake. As such, it pays to ensure that it is set at the right temperature, with the right spacing between heat and cake batter, and the right baking load.
To achieve this purpose, you should install an oven thermometer, which should tell you of the precise temperature. If your oven is on the older side, the built-in thermometer may not be as accurate as it was before. You can then adjust the heat of oven depending on the recommended baking temperature for the Christmas cake.
You should also maintain constant temperature while baking the cake. This is necessary so as to ensure even baking, not to mention a nice glossy browning of the cake crust. Of course, it is also important to anticipate the period of time when you will be serving your Christmas cake. Many bakers will start preparing their fruitcakes as early as October although some cakes may require preparation in as little as a week before Christmas Eve.