Do you get excited about Christmas?
When I was growing up, while I was obviously excited about Christmas, as all kids are, I was nowhere near as excited about Christmas as my Mum was.
Every year she’d be up early, VERY early, trying to make as much noise as possible. When my brother and I were eventually woken by the noise we’d find her in the kitchen, claiming she was up early to do some last minute cooking for Christmas lunch, but my brother, Dad and I all knew she was up early because she was excited because as soon as we were up she’d hurry us into the lounge room to begin opening our Christmas presents.
Now my excitement over Christmas has long since passed, but I still do get excited about giving gifts, especially to my husband, Troy. I’ll come across something I know he’ll love, perhaps for his birthday or for Christmas, and I just won’t be able to wait to give it to him. Troy is exactly the same. In fact, the last two years he hasn’t been able to wait and has given me my presents on Christmas eve.
This year he’s already started talking about my present, as he seems particularly pleased with whatever it is that he’s picked out for me. I wonder if he’ll be able to make it to Christmas day this year before he gives me my gift….
No matter the gifts that are given each year though, one constant is the presence of candy canes. I don’t what it is about candy canes, but Christmas isn’t the same without them. They were one of my favourite Christmas sweets growing up, and I still have a soft spot for them now, and more often than not I usually decorate our Christmas tree with candy canes. I mean, there’s nothing better than edible decorations is there?
This year I decided to make a candy cane cake, with layers of red velvet cake, peppermint Italian meringue butter cream and decorated with crushed candy canes. The crushed candy canes take on a glittery snowlike effect, adding to that festive feeling. Pretty, don’t you think?
Unfortunately the cut slice of cake doesn’t look quite as neat as I had hoped as the cake crumbled a little when cut. I should have refrigerated the cake for a neater cut, however I was too impatient for that. Nevertheless it still tastes good!
So tell me, do you get excited about Christmas and impatient to give your gifts to loved ones?
12 Treats of Christmas
Don’t forget to check out the other delicious treats in my 12 Treats of Christmas series.
- RED VELVET CAKE:
- 170g (6 oz) of butter
- 280g (1¼ cups) of caster sugar
- 100g (1/2 cup) of brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 50ml (1.5 oz) of liquid red food colouring
- 3 tbs of water
- 300g (2½ cups) of plain (all purpose) flour
- 3 tbs of cocoa
- 1½ tsp of baking powder
- ¼ tsp of fine sea salt
- 250ml (1 cup) of buttermilk
- 1 tsp of baking soda
- 1 tbs of vinegar
- ITALIAN BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:
- 6 egg whites
- 380g (1⅔ cups) of caster sugar
- 1 tbs of glucose syrup (light corn syrup or golden syrup)
- 100ml (6¾ tbs) of water
- 600g (5¼ sticks) of butter
- ½ tsp of peppermint essence (oil based), or to taste
- 6 candy canes, crushed
- Preheat oven to 180 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit) and line two 20 cm (8 inch) cake pans with baking paper.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition before adding the vanilla extract, food colouring and water. Scrape down the sides of the bowl until well combined.
- Switch the mixer to a low speed and add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk and mix until combined.
- In a small bowl or jug, stir together baking soda and vinegar and add to the mixture, and beat on medium speed for 10 seconds. Be sure not to over beat.
- Divide the mixture between the prepared cake pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out cleanly.
- Leave the cakes in the pan for 15 minutes before cooling on a wire wrack.
- Next make the Italian buttercream. Place the sugar, syrup and water in a saucepan and mix until well combined. Use a pastry brush to dislodge any stray grains of sugar before placing over a high heat. Bring to a rapid boil and add a sugar thermometer. Cook until the mixture reaches 120 celsius (248 Fahrenheit) and remove from the heat.
- Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk to soft peaks. With the mixer running, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the bowl, being careful not to touch the whisk, and continue whisking until the mixture cools slightly. Add the butter, one third at a time, and whip until fully incorporated. Add the peppermint oil and mix to combine.
- To assemble the cake, carefully slice each cake in half. Take the first layer of cake and spread with a layer of buttercream, spreading out towards the edges. Repeat with the remaining layers of cake. Spread the top of the cake with a layer of buttercream and work the buttercream down the sides of the cake, coating all the layers evenly. Smooth and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Remove the cake from the refrigerator and add a final layer of butter cream, carefully smoothing with an offset spatula. When the cake is coated take handfuls of the crushed candy cane, and using the flat of your hand, press onto the sides of the cake. Top the cake with any remaining crushed candy cane.