Delia's Classic Christmas cake kit

by - December 11, 2011

I have to admit, cake making is not one of my strong points. Italians generally are a bit crap at cakes - remember my wedding cake disaster? Give me a pasta machine and I'm away but the ten billion things that can go wrong in baking like oven temperature or types, too much or not enough mixing or air, the temperature of your eggs or butter, which way the wind is blowing, the phase of the moon...well all seems too much of a faff for someone who hasn't really got a sweet tooth.

Still, I was on the fence about Delia's Classic Christmas cake box from Waitrose, £10. Surely it would be perfect for idiots someone like me? Dry ingredients are neatly measured out for you so you only have to tip them in a bowl (along with additional ingredients like eggs, butter, citrus zest, brandy, decoration ingredients AND you will also need a 20 cm round cake tin, baking paper, string, paperclips, newspaper, oil).

Thankfully I had 4 years of art college under my belt as you first had to construct this. I have no idea what the newspaper is for.

The mixing was pretty straight forward and actually made for the least mess in my kitchen during a spot of baking which is a real bonus with this kit.

Delia did warn NOT to peek in the oven for at least 4 hours, which I duly obeyed as the instructions stated the cake would take at least that if not 30-45 minutes longer. However 4 hours seemed to be too long for my oven as the cake came out a little, er, dark. Well borderline burnt if I'm honest. I would say 20 minutes too long but that's the variation issue of everyone's oven.

Fearing dry cake (quelle horreur), I wrapped it up and fed it brandy for a couple of weeks hoping a good soak and the waft of booze from it would eliminate any scorched aroma.

Now for the pretty bit. Delia does a lovely simple (easy) decoration example that would take no time at all and looks really nice. I, however, decide to go for it despite having never properly decorated a cake or attempted sugarcraft.

P.s. people. When cake bloggers and experts say to use the fancy colouring paste to colour your fondant, take the advice. I ended up with a block of soggy intestinal pink icing after taking a punt at it with some liquid colouring I had. Not good. But I'm really pleased with my impromptu plan B using thin piping and silver balls. I even made a fondant bow!

I'm actually quite chuffed with the result (overcooking aside) and probably would not have got round to making one without the kit as Christmas cake seems a bit of a task. For those lacking a little confidence the hand-holding element is good and time saving beneficial as the fruits are pre-soaked etc. It's just measured ingredients at the end of the day but the step-by-step guide and online videos will soothe the inexperienced baker. However you do need to purchase quite a few additional extras and that can tot up so this vs. a purchased cake probably isn't value for money, but at least you feel like you are creating something.

Will update with a taste test when we slice this up.

I was sent the kit to review.

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