Treat your sweet tooth to something a bit different this festive season…
With the countdown to Christmas beginning in just a few days, it’s time to think about the most important part of Christmas dinner: the cake.
It seems the alternative Christmas cake is on the rise. Just peer in through the windows of bakeries and supermarkets and you’ll see numerous Christmas cakes, many without a brandy-soaked raisin in sight. So this year we’ve again rounded up some of the best alternative Christmas cakes to adorn the festive spread – ones you’ll really want to eat.
Salted Caramel Chocolate Forest Cake, Marks & Spencer
Trusty M&S has created the very cake that dreams are made of. Salted caramel has been a bit of a foodie fad for the last couple of years, and now M&S have got in on the action, giving us the perfect excuse to replace that stodgy fruit-laden pud with our two favourite flavours: salted caramel and chocolate. Just looking at this cake makes my mouth water. It looks almost too good to cut, yet you know that slicing through this cake is going to be very satisfying. Top marks M&S.
Chocolate Christmas Cake, Heston from Waitrose
We’ve come to expect great things from Heston at Christmas. This year his pride-of-place cake is the Waitrose Strawberry and Lychee Frozen Gateau, which features in the advert. Lovely as it looks, though, I’m not sure it tops this scrumptious-looking alternative Christmas cake. It may not be the star of the Waitrose ad but it has all the classic elements of Christmas, given that all-important Heston twist. Decorated like a Christmas pud, it’ll really look the part on the table too.
Christmas Red Velvet Cake, The Hummingbird Bakery
This cake is simple, yet beautiful – which is just as cake should be. The Hummingbird Bakery owes much of its reputation to its red velvet cake. One TripAdvisor reviewer admitted to being reduced almost to tears by its sheer scrumptiousness, stating ‘it was so good I nearly wept.’ Such a popular recipe needs no alteration; it simply needs to be part of Christmas. Add it to the Christmas spread and marvel at its effect.
Christmas Cheesecake Cupcakes, The Cheesecake Company
Hybrid desserts are all the rage at the moment, and this latest combo is a match made in heaven: cupcakes with a creamy cheesecake filling. Order a box of these beauties and you’ll be presented with 12 little bundles of cupcakey joy: nine chocolate cupcakes filled with luxury cheesecake, and three vanilla cheesecake cupcakes swirled with special-recipe chocolate and cheesecake frosting and finished with festive toppings. What’s more, The Cheesecake Company are currently offering a 5-per-cent discount when you spend £30, 10 per cent off when you spend £50 and a 15-per-cent discount when you spend £70.
Marzipan and Sponge Christmas Puddings, Bettys
Bettys in Harrogate have long been producing exceptional cakes and, as usual, have pulled out all the stops this Christmas. This year’s yuletide treats include these wonderful French fancies, which have been beautifully crafted to look like bitesize Christmas puddings. I can imagine these going down a treat as we snuggle up to watch Downton Abbey with a cup of tea.
Hand Decorated Fruit & Nut Cluster Cake, Asda Extra Special
Yes, this is a fruit cake, but it’s also a particularly good one – it reminds me of a Patisserie Valerie-style cake, with its top jam-packed with fruit and nuts spilling over in an ultra-indulgent kind of way. Yet it’s from Asda and, as such, is one of the cheapest out there. This hand-decorated beauty will make an impressive yet pocket-friendly centrepiece, leaving you with some spare dosh to spend in the sales.
P.S. If you’re a budding baker yourself, be sure to enter our Christmas competition – there are baking-related prizes from DotComGiftShop to be won!