It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here – the tree is up, the lights are on and I’m doing up my Christmas menus which will include this Christmas Wreath Cake as an alternative to the traditional fruit cake
I may have mentioned that I’m not really a dessert person – give me savoury any day – but I love making desserts and watching others enjoy them! I came across this wreath cake a few years ago – in a copy of Good Housekeeping I think – and have been using it every Christmas since.
I should warn you that this is a cake for serious chocoholics and not for the fainthearted, but it makes a great centrepiece on Christmas Day!
It’s an easy cake to make and it freezes well (un-iced ) so you can make it in advance and take it out to decorate on Christmas Eve.
The only special piece of equipment you will need is a ‘wreath’ tin i.e. a 23cm spring form cake tin with a but missing in the middle! I use one I bought in Ikea but I know my local shop ‘Kit Your Kitchen‘ now stock similar .
Turn your oven to 180 C or Gas 4 before you start and grease your tin with butter.
What you need:
- 1 * 400g tin of pears (in natural juice)
- 50 ml milk
- 1 tbsp. espresso coffee
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 175g cocoa (I use Green & Black ‘s)
- 125g plain flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 340g caster sugar
- 6 egg whites
- 250g crème fraîche
- 175g dark chocolate (I use 70% )
- Christmas decorations
What you do:
- Drain the tin of pears and whizz in food processor to a purée.
- Mix the pear purée with the milk, espresso granules, oil and vanilla extract.
- In another bowl mix together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Whisk the egg whites and the sugar together at high speed until stiff and glossy
- Add in the pear purée mix to the eggs and whisk slowly to blend
- Finally fold the flour mix into egg and pear mix.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake in your preheated oven for 30 mins or until firm to touch
- Allow cake to cool slightly in tin before turning out onto rack.
- As I said, if you’re making this ahead of time , you can freeze it at this point. Just make sure you wrap it carefully!
- The icing is very simple : heat the crème fraîche in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
- Then remove from heat and add in chocolate. Allow to melt and then mix in until smooth.
- Place pieces of parchment paper under the cake to protect your cakeboard/plate. Then using a palette knife spread icing over the cake . Remember you want it to look like a wreath so it doesn’t have to be smooth
Then it’s time for your (or your children’s ) imagination to take over…..
You can make chocolate leaves …..
…. use sprinkles ….Santas…..Robins….Snowmen……..
……whatever you like!
But whatever you decide please be warned that this cake is INCREDIBLY rich and a little goes a long way!
PS I have been known to make this into an Easter Cake by covering it with flowers and mini eggs – you see a cake’s not just for Christmas!