Can you eat Christmas cake? (3 Crucial pieces of Advice)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, can you eat Christmas cake? We will discuss what you can eat with Christmas cake, how to make a Christmas cake, and how to store Christmas cake. 

Can you eat Christmas cake?

Yes, you can eat Christmas cake on Christmas Eve, as a customary and delicious dessert. You can eat Christmas cake with a generous serving of dried fruits, fresh fruits, or your favorite cheese. It also has layers of marzipan and icing making it extremely palatable. 

Christmas cake is very nutritious with a variety of assortments from the food pyramid, it has starch, dried fruit, cheese, and sometimes even fresh fruits. 

Cakes are relatively dense with tender crumb and sweet taste. The global cake market is expected to grow by an annual rate of 3.3% and reach USD 75 billion by 2023. Final moisture of cake typically ranges from 18 to 28%, which is lower than bread but higher than cookies (1).

What can you eat with your Christmas cake?

You can eat Christmas cake with cheese, ice cream, or custard, raisin,  candied citrus fruit, or cream.

When it comes to cheese, you have many options to choose from, including good quality white cheddar or blue cheese, White or Blue Stilton Wensleydale, Stilton, or very mature cheddar cheese.

You can also eat Christmas cake with ice cream. The flavors that go best are vanilla, chocolate, and lemon. To make things better go with Wensleydale’s own ice cream.

 Custard also makes it widely accepted as an option to be eaten with your Christmas cake. 

How to make a Christmas cake? 

Prepare your Christmas cake in early November and let it mature until Christmas arrives.

  • When you make your Christmas cake, start by adding butter, brown sugar, dried fruit, glazed cherries, orange juice, and orange zest, lemon zest, and cherry brandy to a pot. Let the contents bubble on a stovetop for 10 minutes.
  • After the mixture cools down, add ground almonds and eggs. Stir the ingredients together and bring in flour, baking powder, mixed spice, cinnamon, and allspice and stir all the ingredients.
  •  Pour the cake batter into a cake tin and bake at 150 celsius or 300 Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.
  • Bake for further 60-75 minutes at 275 Fahrenheit. Take the cake out of the oven and skewer it repeatedly. 
  • Add two spoons of brandy to the cake and wrap the cake in parchment paper, foil and rest it in a tin.
  • The last step is to feed your cake with cherry brandy every week to give the cake a moist and smooth texture and a fruity taste. 

Why is it important to feed your Christmas cake with alcohol?

Adding brandy or rum to your Christmas cake gives it a nice taste and texture while acting as a preservative. Feeding your Christmas cake with alcohol keeps it moist and crumbly. The taste and kick of alcohol booze are not obvious but it provides a hint of booze and greatly improves the taste profile of Christmas cake. 

Another thing to keep in control is the amount and how the alcohol soaks in your cake. If it is more than what the cake can soak, you need to stop feeding it. 

Ethanol is well known for its antimycotic effect in foods, particularly bakery products. This effect can be obtained either by adding ethanol directly to the product or by using an encapsulated ethanol pouch. Ethanol has been shown to increase the mold free shelf-life of bread, pasta and buns (2).

When water molecules are bound with ethanol through weak hydrogen bonds, this leaves less free water available, and microbes have less water to survive on. This resulted in a preservative effect towards certain food products, when alcohol is added as an ingredient in the food formulation, before cooking. As ethanol reduces the water activity in food, this characteristic helps preserve high moisture food by delaying microbial spoilage, as free water which is available for the microorganisms are reduced, through reduction of water activity (aw). An example of such a product is the Christmas pudding, cherry in wine alcohol or mixed fruit cake. Brandy or whiskey provide a prolonged shelf life (3).

If you overfeed your Christmas cake, it will become wet and soggy, and deteriorate its texture. The best advice you can follow is to start feeding the cake after it has been baked and feed only four times, as it matures. 

Moreover, the options for alcohol to feed to your cake are not limited. Besides the classic brandy and whisky, you could use any other liquor that has high alcohol by volume, such as Cherry brandy and amaretto. For a richer flavor and a citrus burst, you could use orange liqueur. 

How to feed your Christmas cake?

To feed the Christmas cake, poke holes in your freshly-baked cake using a skewer. Add over 2 tablespoons of alcohol, allowing it all to soak in. Feed the Christmas cake, every fortnight, remove the baking parchment paper and foil and rewrap after you are done. 

Remember to refrain from feeding the cake a week before Christmas to let the surface dry out and don’t hinder the icing process.

Can you store Christmas cake?

Christmas cake has a tremendously long shelf-life. It can keep for months and even years. Even if your Christmas cake is homemade, the alcohol helps to preserve it. Alcohol and sugar in Christmas cake prevent it from spoiling (4). 

You can keep your Christmas cake for 2-3 years. If you store it in an airtight container and feed it with either brandy, whisky, or rum regularly, your Christmas cake would last even longer. If you like, you could even freeze your Christmas cake. 

Other FAQs about Cake that you may be interested in.

How to Store Christmas Cake After Baking

How to Store Christmas Cake After Marzipan

Can you eat cake with braces?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question, can you eat Christmas cake? We discussed what you can eat with Christmas cake, how to make a Christmas cake, and how to store Christmas cake. 

Citations

  1. Xu, Jingwen, et al. Advanced properties of gluten-free cookies, cakes, and crackers: A review. Trends in food science & technology, 2020, 103, 200-213..
  2. Spence, Charles. Explaining seasonal patterns of food consumption. Int j gastron food sci, 2021, 24, 100332.
  3. Rahim, Alina Abdul, and Siti Mashitoh Abdul. The uncertain halal status of edible products with natural or added alcohol. J Fatwa Manage Res, 2014, 3, 109-126.   
  4. Shipman, M. Fruitcake – will it last forever? 2014. New York State University.