Woman’s Weekly cookery editor Sue McMahon says it’s time to start thinking about Christmas cakes…


Elaine Thomas' penguin cake


Hello, it’s Sue from Cookery and I want to tell you to look out for this week’s issue of Woman’s Weekly as it’s the first of our Christmas cookery features and this week it’s cakes.


Best in show…


As many of you will know, cakes are my real passion and I always enjoy the challenge of coming up with new designs each year, but this year I shared the job with Elaine Thomas of Creative Celebration Cakes in Somerset. Elaine was the overall winner of the “Best in Show” prize at the Cake International exhibition last year (and if you’re going to that show on 9th-11th November, don’t forget to look out for us on the Woman’s Weekly stand – but I’ll write more about that closer to the time).


Too early for Christmas cakes?

You may be thinking that it’s too early to start thinking about Christmas already, but I know that some people like to plan in advance what design cake they are going to do, and you can get a fruit cake made now, and some of the decorations so there’s less to do closer to Christmas when you may be busier.  And, when I was out last night I drove through one area in South East London which already has it’s Christmas lights up!!!! (which I did think is a bit too early).

The Olympics may seem a very long time ago now, but that’s when we started working on our cake feature as I decided that it would be a good feature to work on from home so I didn’t have any travel problems getting into London, plus the fab Cake Craft World shop is very close, so I was able to just pop out and get anything I needed. So as usual, when it’s hot sunny weather that means’s it’s Christmas for the Woman’s Weekly Cookery team!

This year’s designs…

Anyway, we hope that you enjoy this year’s designs as we’ve tried to make them modern and contemporary, yet with some tradition too. Our fruit cake recipe this year is nut free, and on the reindeer design we haven’t put any marzipan on the cake so it’s suitable for anyone with nut allergies, but as the sides of the cake aren’t fully iced it won’t last as long as a fully-iced cake, so if you want to make it longer in advance you can cover the sides completely with icing, and if there aren’t any allergy issues and you like marzipan, then you could cover it with a layer of marzipan under the icing.

The green parcels are ideal as individual gifts for one or two people and would look good presented in clear acetate boxes if you’re giving them as gifts. Elaine’s cake is the most advanced of all the cakes, but it’s not really difficult, but it is time consuming, so allow yourself plenty of time to make the snowmen – they are great fun to make and you can have a play with them to give each it’s own personality!

So whichever design you decide on, I’ll be the first to wish you all “Merry Christmas!”