Christmas-spiced treats fill both us and the air with warm flavors and scents. They make us think of holiday cheer and celebrating with our family and friends. This cake is so bloody simple you could make it the whole year round and still feel all "the Xmas feels."
Christmas Cake with Spiced-Cherries and Whipped Mascarpone
113 g butter softened room temperature
1 cup fine crystal sugar
2 eggs room temperature
250 g plain all-purpose flour
4 t baking powder
½ c whole milk
4 t vanilla extract
½ t ground cinnamon
¼ t ground nutmeg
¼ t salt
¼ c sugar
1 jar cherries (560 g including syrup/liquid)
1/3 c of liquid from the cherries
1 T orange zest
¼ c orange juice
1/8 c cognac
Pinch of salt
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2 t maizena
2 t cold water
215 ml heavy cream (35% fat)
1 whole vanilla bean-split in half and scraped out
1 T orange zest
250 g mascarpone
½ c powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Butter and flour a 20 cm round cake pan.
Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add into your stand mixing bowl and mix on low for 30 seconds. Now add the rest of the ingredients and mix again on low for 30 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl well with a spatula to ensure all the ingredients get properly mixed. Mix again for 3 minutes but this time on a medium speed. The batter will become fluffy and creamy. Add the batter to the prepared cake pan. Drop it twice onto the counter softly to let out any bubbles. Then bake for 35-45 minutes. It will be fully cooked when the sides begin to inch away from the sides of the pan and the cake has a springy touch to it.
Once out of the oven, let sit for 10 minutes to cool. Then remove it very carefully and set bottom-side down on a rack to cool. Once cooled you will cut the cake in half lengthwise to fill it.
Add the sugar, cherries, cognac, salt, 1/3 c syrup, zest, juice, and spices into a small pot. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and cover the pot cooking for about 5 minutes. Mix the water and maizena together and add to the pan. Stir the whole time with a fork or small spatula until it comes back to a boil. It should now be thickened to the right consistency. Remove to a small bowl to cool.
In a stand mixer with the heavy cream, whip with the vanilla bean and all that was scraped out of it until the cream is about halfway stiff. Then remove the bean and carefully add your powdered sugar and whip again until stiff peaks. Set into a small bowl.
Now add the mascarpone, orange zest and a pinch of salt to the mixing bowl and whip the cheese until it becomes a bit softer on medium speed for a couple of minutes. Using a spatula, you will scoop in one big spoonful of the whipped cream to the mascarpone and mix well. Finish by adding the whipped cream a scoop at a time and folding it gently into the rest to maintain a fluffy cream filling.
Once the cake is done and cooled. You can place the bottom half of the cake on a large cake plate then fill with about half the mascarpone cream and most of the cherries. Place the top of the cake on and decorate with the cream and the cherries. Adding a slice of orange shows the guest what flavors are inside the cake