Saturday, 3 December 2011

Chocolate Christmas Tree Cake and the festive period for Mr and Ms Average...

Say you are Mr or Ms Average (you'll be 39 years old and your surname Smith) this Christmas...

You'll spend £378 on presents (just promise that £7.95 of it will not be spent on this calendar of HM Prisons of England. Just possibly the worst gift ever). 

You'll no doubt hear the nation's favourite Christmas Carol Silent Night approximately 345* times over the next month and Do They Know Its Christmas? the best ever selling Christmas song, at least 482* times. (What Kate Baked will be warbling along to Oh Come All Ye Faithful and Driving Home for Christmas. A mash-up of the two is a currently a work in progress). 

You'll spend a further £183 on food, drink and entertainment. That'll be the 10 million turkeys and 25 million Christmas puddings we British consume then. Not to mention the average 14 brussel sprouts each of us will eat over the festive period (although in the world of What Kate Baked only the one sole Brussel, aka, the 'annual Sprout', swallowed whole and washed down with a large glup of the nearest alcoholic drink will be consumed, for posterity and 'cause it's Christmas). 

If, after the glutton of Brussel Sprouts, you have any room left you may want to tuck into one of the 27 mince pies each of us consumes over Christmas. (FYI: I'm already on Number 14 and it's only the third day of December. I make up in mince pies what I don't eat in Sprouts. And this may account for the average 2kg gain in weight over the festive period...)

Once the Christmas Dinner is over, it is of course time for the crackers- just ensure over-enthusiasm is stamped out to avoid being one of the four people who attended A&E last Christmas with a broken arm as a result of violent cracker pulling. If you've successfully pulled (!), hopefully you'll end up with one of the better cracker jokes, rather than the worst.

And if you do have any spare change left over from all the present-buying, you may want to pay for a bite of the World's Most Expensive Mince Pie, worth a whooping £3000. Then again, you may wish to reconsider when you discover the pie infact contains sperm whale secretions. Betcha Heston's don't. They just contain eau-du-taxi-freshner.

And if you need a rest after all those figures, pop your feet up and indulge in a slice branch or two of this Chocolate Christmas Tree Cake

Christmas Tree Cake

For the cake:

75g plain flour
half a tsp baking powder
Quarter a tsp bicarbonate of sugar
half a tsp cinnamon
half a tsp ground ginger
pinch of salt
50g soft unsalted butter
80g soft brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tbsps natural yoghurt
60ml boiling water
50g dark chocolate
half a tsp coffee

For the icing:
60g icing sugar, sifted
60g unslated butter, softened
50g chocolate, broken into pieces

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas Mark 6. Using a pastry brush, grease the inside of the mould with softened butter
2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt in a large bowl and set aside
3. Cream the butter and sugar until well combined. Add the egg and mix well
4. Beat in one third of the flour mixture followed by a third of the yoghurt, repeating until all the flour mixture and yoghurt in used up
5. Pop the water, broken up chocolate and instant coffee into a small pan and heat gently, stirring, until the chocolate has just melted. Fold into the cake mixture. Pour into the tree mould and pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the cake is cooked through. Allow to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes before removing
6. To make the icing: Melt the chocolate in a microwave-proof bowl in short bursts in the microwave. Beat the icing sugar and butter together until well combined then add the slightly cooled chocolate. Spread over the cake, using a fork if desired to create a 'branch effect'. Decorate with pretty white chocolate stars

Baker's notes...

* randomly made up statistic


  1. The randomly made up statistics seem spookily accurate to me... great post, made me chuckle and the cake looks delicious :)

  2. So many statistics! The cake looks very very good - think I'll have to have a slice or two of this - soon.

  3. Love love love this post :) you've really got me in the festive spirit and this cake looks delish!!!!

  4. Aha! Hehehehe, I am NOT actually Mrs average according to you great post ~ thank goodness! LOL! However, I DO love that cake and think it's so festive and seasonal, is this your tea time treat entry Kate?

  5. That's it, I need to start some festive baking this weekend. I'm jealous. The icing on your cake looks soooo good!

    By the way I was delighted to see your new post in my blogger dashboard, I think I've sorted out the problem of your posts not appearing. Sorry if you thought I'd been ignoring you the past few weeks. Normal (frequent!) commenting shall resume.

  6. Looks like a gorgeous cake - very festive. I'm very impressed at your ability to make every baked item in the last two months of the year related in some way to Christmas - very dedicated!

    I think the last taxi I was in could have done with some eau-de-taxi-freshener! I also think you've had my share of the mince pies - I didn't get any at all last year ;-)

  7. Haha Can't believe four people went to A&E for pulling a cracker!

  8. What a great post. I love the random statistics :) The cake looks amazing too, very festive and chocolatey - yum!

  9. Another fun post Kate, Can't believe people can consume quite so many mince pies, but maybe it's you skewing the stats there ;-) Great looking cake too.

  10. Love this festive round up of stats! And that cake looks gorgeous too...perfect for christmas day and much tastier than christmas pudding!

  11. Reading this post makes me realise I am a walking cliche! But I still think that Driving Home for Christmas is one of the best festive songs ever - I've already watched the video on Youtube several times this year!

  12. Great reading Kate! We are a bunch of crazy people at this time of the year and I love all the stats to prove it. Your cake makes me feel very festive indeed. Bet it tastes great too! X

  13. Haha I loved reading those statistics! I have to say I will most definitely be consuming zero mince pies this Christmas but I can substitute them for cupcakes of which I'm sure I will be eating more than 27! Love your Christmas tree mould, it's so great! super festive!

  14. A fab post and I love your very festive tree cake! Yum yum. I know someone who is 39 and called Smith LOL!

  15. You mean my boyfriend probably wasn't pleased when he opened that prisons calendar I got him on Christmas Day? Really wish I'd read this post earlier...

    The cake looks ace! I bought a Christmas tree cake tin but somehow didn't end up using it. Might have to extend Christmas slightly to make this cake in it!


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