Learn how to make cakes for Christmas to use in celebrating this special holiday by many countries all over the world. Some of these countries traditionally, make cakes which are very similar, like various fruitcakes, gingerbread cakes and seed cakes. When I was young we always had fruitcakes for Thanksgiving and the Christmas season. Over the years I am sadden to see these traditional cakes disappearing and being replaced by simple nontraditional cakes; ones which are present any time of the year.
In Ireland, Christmas Eve is known as the “night of the cakes”. During the seventeenth century because of troubling times in the country, the people were forbidden to demonstrate any outward signs of celebration such as displaying greenery or the like. The Irish people looked for other ways to observe Joseph and Mary’s search for a place for the birth of Jesus. In the homes candles were lit, the tables were laden with food and cooks learned how to make cakes for Christmas; with doors unlocked visitors in need of food would be invited in to eat.
Young cooks were taught how to make cakes for Christmas which included seed cakes and at least three fruitcakes. The first fruitcake would be cut at midnight on Christmas Eve and served with tea or whiskey. The second fruitcake would be save and cut on midnight on New Year’s Eve. The third fruit cake would be saved for the Feast of the Epiphamy which marks the first day when Mary appeared after Christ’s birthday to go to the temple where He was blessed by the elders.
The favorite of the cakes for Christmas in England is the classic dark
fruitcake. This confection is filled with dried fruits and often has
coins or rings in them as a symbol of good luck. Another popular cake of
England (as well as Ireland and France) is the Yule log cake. This cake
for Christmas is modeled after the “yule log”; an extremely hard log
which is burned in the hearth for a traditional Christmas celebration.
The cake is made in a jellyroll fashion and filled with cream. Then it
is decorated to look like a log.
A stollen recipe is the main
cakes for Christmas in Germany. These stollen cake recipes might contain
baking powder or baking soda as a leavening or the recipe might call
for yeast as the leavening. Like the fruitcakes, these too contain
fruits and nuts. After baking they are usually dusted with powdered
sugar or topped with a thin icing; then they might be decorated with red
and green candied fruit.
In Australia, Canada, Czech Republic
and for me here in the United States you would probably find lots of
gingerbread cakes. These are often shaped in various Christmas designs
and decorated in typical Christmas fashion. I love all the great
gingerbread cake houses decorated with colorful candy and cookies.
will find the cakes for Christmas to include the “king cake” in
countries like Mexico, France, Portugal and Spain. This cake takes its
name from the three kings in the Bible. It is made to celebrate the
visit to the Christ Child. A chocolate king cake is the most popular in
Portugal; Spain is also known for its delicious almond cake recipe. I
was told that Mexico is very fond of the pineapple upside down cake for
The favorite of the cakes for Christmas in Japan is a
sponge cream cake frosted with whipped cream and topped with
strawberries. People in the Philippines love the traditional rice cake
with a butter and sugar topping; sometime topped with fruit. Several
countries including Jamaica have a traditional black cake. In South
America and Central America, flan cakes are very popular as well as
sponge cakes with ingredients like spices and candied fruit.
Cakes for Christmas in Germany include many different stolen recipes.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons flour over raisins and candied fruit; mix well and set aside.
Put flour in large bowl; make well in center.
Drop eggs in well; sprinkle baking powder and sugar over eggs.
Add vanilla, cottage cheese and butter in pieces to mixture; knead quickly into a dough.
Knead in candied fruit, raisins and nuts; roll dough out on floured surface to ¼ inch thickness.
Fold dough in thirds by folding one side first and then the opposite side.
Place cake on a greased cookie sheet.
Bake in preheated oven at 375F degrees for 55 to 65 minutes or until golden brown.
Brush melted butter over hot cake; sift powdered sugar liberally over hot buttered cake.
Seed cake recipes are among the many cakes for Christmas in the European countries. This poppy seed cake recipe with almond filling is just one example; it is very delicious.
Soak poppy seeds in water for 2 hours.
Sift dry milk, flour and baking powder together.
Cream butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until fluffy.
Alternately add dry ingredients and poppy seeds with water to creamed mixture beating well.
Fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites; spread batter into 2 greased and floured 8 inch cake pans.
Bake in preheated oven at 350F degrees for 30 minutes or until test done.
Cool 5 minutes, remove from pans and cool completely.
While cake is baking prepare filling.
Combine dry milk, cornstarch and sugar in saucepan.
Gradually blend in mixture of water and beaten yolks; mix until smooth.
Cook over medium heat stirring frequently until thick and smooth; reduce heat and cook 1 minute.
Remove from heat and stir in almond extract; set until cakes are cooled.
Spread filling between layers, on top and sides of cake; refrigerate until ready to serve.
Sponge cakes make wonderful cakes for Christmas; delicious in taste and can be decorated for the season.
Sift flour one time and measure; add baking powder and salt and sift 3 times.
Add water and lemon peel to egg yolks; beat with mixer until light and foamy.
Add sugar gradually to egg yolk mixture beating well after each addition.
Add flour mixture in small amounts blending after each addition.
Beat egg whites until foamy; add lemon juice and sugar beating until stiff peaks form.
Fold egg whites into batter mixture; pour into 2 eight inch cake pans (NOT GREASED)
Bake in preheated oven at 350F degrees for 25 minutes.
Invert cakes in pans on rack until cold.
Spread cream filling (below) between layers and sift powdered sugar over top.
Combine sugar and cake flour in top of double boiler; add egg, lemon juice, water and butter.
Blend mixture and place over boiling water; cook 10 minutes stirring constantly; chill.
Divide mixture in half; fold in lemon peel and ¼ cup of the whipped cream and spread between layers.
Use remaining whipped cream to serve on top of slices.
Put fruit in saucepan with peel, sugar, syrup, butter and water; bring to boil and simmer 3 minutes.
Dump mixture into a bowl and cool.
Preheat oven to 325F degrees; grease and line 8 inch round DEEP cake pan.
Sift flours, baking soda and apple spice 3 times; add to fruit mixture and beat in the eggs.
Spoon mixture into prepared cake pan making a slight depression in the center.
Bake for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until pick comes out clean; cool in pan and remove to plate.
Brush top and sides with warmed apricot jam.
Roll out marzipan and cover top and sides; smooth out seams.
NOTE: Wrap cake tightly and let set 1 week before frosting (recipe below) and decorating for Christmas.
EGG WHITE FROSTING
Combine corn starch, sugar and water in saucepan; cook dissolving sugar and bring just to a boil.
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy; add vanilla.
Continue beating on high speed while gradually adding hot syrup.
Beat until stiff peaks form; spread on cake flicking up into peaks with knife blade.
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