Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Cooking: A couple of Christmas cakes

Bourke St Bakery Christmas Cake
Back in September I mentioned that I'd taken responsibility for the family Christmas Cake for the first time and had started my fruit soak using the Bourke St Bakery method.

Making the cake itself was relatively easy. You soak the fruit for five / six weeks giving it a stir every once in a while. I got into the habit of mixing mine up on Monday morning and then used the same spoon for my cereal. Alcoholic? Who me?

When it came to baking the cake I was surprised how little flour you add. The cake is practically just fruit with just a bit of a binding agent. The recipe called for the finished cake to have a weekly feed of brandy in the run up to Christmas. I only bothered twice.

The finished cake was pretty great. Rich, fruity, moist and a mild smell of Christmas. Dad thought it had a bit too much brandy, although I'd disagree and I'm normally sensitive to booze in a cake. If I make the cake next year I'd be tempted to add some flaked almonds to add a different texture.

Date, coffee and chocolate cake
 My cousin was given 10kg (yes, ten) of Saudi Arabian dates for Christmas by a grateful student. I didn't realise that Saudi Arabia is a bit producer of dates, but apparently they are.

Some of the dates found their way to me and I decided to bake a cake with half of them last weekend.

I did a bit of searching online and couldn't find a recipe that inspired me until I landed on this one. I went with it because I had all of the ingredients in my cupboard rather than anything else.

I'm not usually a fan of coffee cakes (this recipe had a cup of coffee in it), but I think the end result worked really well. It might be a bit of an opinion divider though as Becks wasn't the greatest fan. Her little cousin had three slices and her uncle two though, so there are others on my side....


  1. I can't get my tastebuds around Christmas cake... but dates and coffee sound like a wonderful pairing!

  2. I agree with Jen. The coffee cake sounds good. I don't like dates on their own but I can see the attraction in a cake...

  3. Damn, that date cake looks good Richard (although so does your Bourke St one.) Ten kilos of dates as a gift? That is a fine gift indeed, and lucky for you getting a little of the sweet goodness. I think I need to give that cake a crack though, lots of dates and a whole cup of coffee- there is a lot like!

    1. Let me know what you think if you make it. I wasn't super precise with the measurents, but it still worked well.

      I'm sure a baking pro like you doesn't need any tips, but things that worked for me:
      I made mine in a food processor
      I through the stoned dates in first to chop them. They were chopped but formed a huge sticky ball.
      I took them out and put them in a bowl with the hot coffee to loosen them up again
      I then made the cake in the processor as you would any other cake

  4. I'll have to give a go at making my own Christmas cake this year! I've never been a fan, but then again I've never had a good Christmas cake. Surely it will be better if it's home made. Mm.m and that date and coffee cake sounds yummy!