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Christmas cake, almost a disaster ?

(31 Posts)
tanith Sat 17-Nov-18 17:01:12

So this morning I got all my ingredients on the side ready to make Grandmanorms Christmas cake. I lined the tin got my brown paper and string ready to wrap round the tin and had soaked my dried fruit in tea (don’t do alcohol).

I creamed the butter and sugar in my large mixer then began to add the eggs one at a time then disaster struck as egg no3 went in the mix appeared to split I added a little of the flour but no it was still runny with large lumps of congealed butter. I googled what should I do and as suggested I put the whole lot through a sieve to try and save it but as soon as I put it back in the bowl and with my hand mixer this time tried to coax it back together with a little more flower but it wouldn’t be rescued.
I gave up at this point and luckily I just had enough eggs and butter left to try again this time I did the whole thing with my hand mixer and it was perfect and is in the oven as I type.

So can anyone tell me what happened please as I’m flummoxed ? everything was at room temperature so that’s not it by the way but I’m sure someone here will have the solution ?

Farmor15 Sat 17-Nov-18 17:11:25

I’m not sure if this is any help, but for recipes which ask for eggs to be added one at a time with a little flour, I always found the mix tended to split slightly by the third egg but kept going anyway. Now I beat all the eggs together first, and add a bit at a time, with a spoon of flour. It seems to split less and gives a lighter cake (for normal cakes anyway).

tanith Sat 17-Nov-18 17:46:47

Thanks Farmor15 I’ll remember that tip, it’s just strange as I’ve never had a mix split in 50+ yrs of baking.

Gonegirl Sat 17-Nov-18 22:00:53

I don't think I've ever made a Christmas cake where it didn't curdle a bit on adding the eggs. If you had added the rest of the flour with spices and whizzed it a bit, it would have been fine. Yes, it is the "proper way" to whisk the eggs first and then add them a teeny bit at a time, but I, like Grannynorm, lose patience and finish up tipping it all in. You can't tell the difference in the finished product, not in a cake that is more fruit than actual cake. Hope you didn't throw away all that lovely egg and butter!

MawBroon Sat 17-Nov-18 22:35:13

I alternate spoonfuls of beaten egg and spoonfuls of flour. But the end result will be absolutely fine!

tanith Sat 17-Nov-18 22:41:22

Thanks, next time I’ll do as you all do. I didn’t throw it away it’s in the fridge ?. Tomorrow I’ll make a light fruit cake with it hopefully it’ll be edible if not the birds will enjoy it.

SpringyChicken Sat 17-Nov-18 22:43:07

I heard Mary Berry say once that if the mixture splits, it won't be such a light cake. As Christmss cake isn't light anyway, I shouldn't worry.
I add a little flour with each egg.

cornergran Sat 17-Nov-18 22:50:06

I’ve never worried. I add flour with each egg, some split, some don’t. The end result seems to be the same. You’re a much more careful cook than I am tanith. I’m sure your cake(s) will be delicious.

B9exchange Sat 17-Nov-18 22:57:32

I tend now to throw the sugar, butter and eggs into the mixer and whizz them up, (it will split but this is expected) and then add all the flour - perfect cake!

Maggiemaybe Sat 17-Nov-18 23:33:36

You’ve just reminded me. Last year I made my usual (or rather Delia’s) Creole Christmas cake, got all the ingredients together, including the fruit that had been marinating in copious amounts of booze for a week, mixed well, bunged it in the oven. A full hour later I spotted the butter that was still softening in a bowl over by the radiator. The cake was baking nicely when I pulled it out of the oven and whisked it all up again with the missing ingredient, then threw it back in to finish baking. It was as good as ever a couple of hours later. Christmas cakes are very resilient!

MawBroon Sat 17-Nov-18 23:55:37

tanith Sun 18-Nov-18 08:23:20

?? Maw

M0nica Sun 18-Nov-18 08:44:42

I confess, I put all the ingredients into my Kenwood and then mix them altogether without worrying about careful beating, combining and mixing. My Christmas cakes ( and any others) turn out fine.

HootyMcOwlface Sun 18-Nov-18 08:56:24

That’s more like it Maw!

Blue45Sapphire Sun 18-Nov-18 10:55:00

Haha, Maw!
I tend to bung everything in together as well when making my Christmas cake too, don't think it makes a lot of difference. Going to attempt a loaf tin cake today; the fruit has been soaking nicely in brandy overnight.

tanith Sun 18-Nov-18 11:32:38

Well thank you all for the advice I think I’ve just been too particular when baking in future I’ll bung it all in and hope.
This morning I rescued the mix I’d put in the fridge divided it in two and made two small light fruit cakes and a cherry cake and they came out of the oven perfect , hope they taste ok ?. So nothing was wasted .

EllanVannin Sun 18-Nov-18 12:00:42

Continual beating while adding the eggs shouldn't have split the mixture-----but that bit's hard-going.

SueDonim Sun 18-Nov-18 14:00:24

Interesting to see that other have experienced their cake splitting but it's gone on to be perfectly edible. My mix also splits at times but I carry on regardless and no one complains.

I did almost have a disaster with the Xmas pudding this week. I soaked the fruit in alcohol then made the pud a day or two later and left it in the mixing bowl, ready to transfer to steaming bowls later. It seemed a lot runnier than usual so I double-checked the amounts but I hadn't made an error there so I just shrugged my shoulders and decided it was one of those things.

A bit later on, when clearing up after dinner, I moved a tea towel that had been placed on something - and discovered the container of dried fruit soaking in alcohol, which I'd completely forgotten to add to the mix! confused grin

Witzend Mon 19-Nov-18 19:00:14

? SueD

I recently found a nice easy way for Gdd (3 1/2) to make fairy cakes. Sod the proper way - creaming butter and sugar, etc. just melted the butter and let her mix the whole lot up together, eggs and all - though will add that I cheated a bit by adding a little bit of baking powder.
They rose better than the ones I make the 'proper' way!

We did end up with rather a lot of hundreds and 1000s on the floor while she was decorating them, but heigh ho.

Gonegirl Mon 19-Nov-18 19:14:32

It's interesting to see how so many people call it "splitting" whilst I have always known it to be called "curdling". Is this is another North/South thing? "Splitting does describe it well.

gmelon Mon 19-Nov-18 19:14:44

If a mix splits I have always carried on mixing the recipe as normal, I've not had any bad results or any difference in appearance or taste.

What I would like to know, if I may hijack expand the Christmas cake conversation, my cake seems to be happy to overcook and burn if not watched like hawk.
I have brown paper on the tin, have put a disc of paper on top for the final cooking time.
I'm using black treacle, golden syrup, dark brown sugar in the mix.

Gonegirl Mon 19-Nov-18 19:17:51

I think that can only be due to having the oven too hot Gmelon. Nothing to do with the ingredients. Long slow cooking is called for.

Gonegirl Mon 19-Nov-18 19:19:43

Black treacle and golden syrup would make a rich mixture, so the low heat would be very important.

gmelon Mon 19-Nov-18 23:30:40

Thank you gonegirl I've always had this problem, different ovens but only two recipes over the last thirty odd years. I'll put it on lower. I keep meaning to buy an oven thermometer.
First recipe was Rich Fruit Cake from Dairy Book of Home Cookery, now its a lovely one from Sunday Times book of Seasons.

SueDonim Mon 19-Nov-18 23:44:13

I'd use the term curdle if I was starting a conversation about a cake mix but I use split if that's the terminology first used. To me, they're interchangeable.