if you’ve spent 5 months making a Christmas cake, well done, how very 12th century. But heres a cake for today’s world that doesn’t have a million calories and stick to your ribs. Aren’t Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and mince pies all too samey? I think so, here’s is a great alternative which is a great cake for a busy house over the festive period. I speak with some experience, frequently with up to 25 people on Christmas day, its a lot of mouths to feed. With this recipe, the cake is big enough for most groups and impromptu guests. It also lasts for days even if half eaten, honestly, possibly gets better on boxing day!
Its no-bake, easy and fun for the kids to make, not to mention absolutely deliciously light. My inspiration for this came back 2009 when I bulk ordered small Pandoro cakes for my delicatessen. I was thinking of a way to sell them and stumbled upon the idea of making it look like a Christmas tree, decorated with candied fruit slices. It worked and I sold the whole batch. I then used large Pandoro’s and improved the recipe which became a stable for our family Christmas Day’s that followed.
Even Italians buy in Pandoro cake (fermentation’s start back in September), its so much hassle to make fresh. By the way Panetone is the one with fruit inside, I look for Pandoro because of its shape which will make sense shortly. So, there’s a German supermarket here that sells the large plain Pandoro which are perfect for this Christmas Day show-stopper.
Here’s what you need;
- a Large Pandoro cake or small.
- cream cheese 300g x 2 or Mascarpone cheese (doesn’t last as long)
- icing sugar
- bottle of Lemon juice.
- caster sugar.
- zest of lemon.
- Limoncello liqueur if desired.
- Fresh fruit and/or candied fruit to decorate.
Firstly, organise your ingredients so that you can build the tree quite quickly. So mix the cream cheese with limoncello or lemon zest/flavouring beforehand. Then, slice the cake horizontally into inch thick slices, you don’t have to be too accurate but keep the slices in order. Warm the lemon juice gently in pan, add some sugar and taste as you go to reach desired balance of sour/sweetness. Don’t boil or reduce too much, the mixture needs to be runny, then spoon over the pandoro slices. Try and cover the star shape to the edges, the cake its quite dry and this adds much-needed moisture. This is a sticky job and slices can’t be stacked for too long or they will stick together. So arrange on a large plate or tray, the bottom slice with a view of stacking the layers up to the narrower top. Spread the cream cheese mix with a spatula, again making sure to cover the stars edges. Add the next layer slice but make it overlap to create the tree effect. Repeat cream cheese cover and adding slices until their used up. If its unstable try to adjust so it doesn’t collapse. Then add your decorations and sprinkle with sieved icing sugar.
Yes, the squinty ones taste better! Choose decorations on a theme or colours to suit, this is why its great for the kids to make.
I gave these mini Pandoro Christmas cakes to neighbouring offices in 2010 & 2011. Great wee gifts suitable for teabreaks.
My photos are not the best, so if you make something fantastic, then please get in touch, we’d like to see your creations!
The large cake can last for days and is ideal for a busy household and suitable for winter and summer.