Our recent Christmas cake photo shoot resulted in some gorgeous images and a host of “ooooh that’s a good idea” moments. We put a selection of our Christmassy tray bakes and cake slices through their paces to demonstrate some super quick, easy and delicious pudding and sweet canapé ideas. Perfect if you are hosting this year. We were properly in the creative groove on the day – I think we were all hungry for handy ideas to use ourselves this Christmas.
Allow me to introduce the round up of our top ten Christmas cake related ideas. From sweet petit four platters to au naturel edible cake decorations – we’ve thought outside the box so you can select your traybakes in confidence and try out these “no skill required” cake hacks at home. We’ve even included some “snuggle ups” so you can take a moment amidst the festive madness to pop a brew on, select a slice of something delicious and take 5.
Top Tip: All of our cakes can be bought from us direct online and everything can be frozen. Simply defrost (4 hours) and your cakes will be ready to serve.
1. Best gluten free alternative to a traditional Christmas cake
If you fancy a change from the icing and the marzipan I’d recommend our very own take on the Italian Panforte. We have swapped the traditional honey for agave syrup to make this a vegan friendly dessert option. You can use maple, golden or date syrup too – all of which are vegan friendly.
Or, if you are after a visual show stopper that is as yummy as it is beautiful then our Australian Christmas cake recipe might be up your seasonal Boulevard. It’s lighter than your usual dense slab of fruit cake and is packed to the rafters with dried fruits, citrus, seeds and nuts.
For a ready made gluten free Christmas cake our Fruited Ginger Cake will take some beating. The warmth of the ginger is subtle and the sponge is dreamily light. The nuts and fruits and light icing make for a rather sophisticated slice.
2. Easy cheats iced vegan Christmas cake
For all icing and marzipan lovers who maybe just want to switch up the cake element we’ve got these perfect cheaty hacks for you to try. Simply take a gluten free traybake of your choice and cover with ready rolled marzipan and white icing. You get the best of both worlds – a festive topping with the cake of your choice underneath the blankets.
For our photo shoot time is at a premium – we cannot keep our very patient photographer, Lucy, hanging around. These ready rolled options were a real time saver. Super easy to use and they had a long shelf life on them. Why not cover your traybake ahead of time and keep in the freezer until you are ready to decorate? We tried wrapping our vegan Dark Chocolate Brownie and our vegan Raspberry Bakewell. Both tasted divine.
To decorate these natural beauties we opted for a covering of our very pretty Florentine mix recipe as featured in our Honeybuns All Day Cook Book.
3. Super easy sweet canapé platter ideas
Each of our regular traybakes online comes to you pre-cut into 16 portions.
These can then be cut into 3’s or even 4’s for rinky dinky canapé sized portions. Budget wise, this is a really great value way to feed friends and family if you are hosting this year. Simply arrange on a platter or board and invite guests to have a nibble of what they fancy.
When it came to the decorating we got a bit giddy on the festive vibe and came up with all sorts of ideas – we’ll get to these a bit further on.
4. Make your own gluten free Christmas Biscotti
Biscotti keeps for ages making it ideal to make ahead of time and wrap up prettily in paper and twine to gift to your host this year. Vintage tins are also a lovely way to present these goodies.
5. DIY edible Xmas cake decorations
From shop bought 100’s and 1000’s to home made frosted rosemary twigs we tried out all sorts of looks and ideas. Personally, I prefer anything natural looking over shop bought offerings.
To frost berries and sprigs simply pop in a shallow saucer of water to drench. Shake excess water off and then pop into a saucer of granulated white sugar for an easy and beautiful frosted effect.
Metallic dusts and glitters all come in edible form. Just remember to check they are gluten free and vegan.
We spread our dark chocolate vegan brownie traybake with dairy free frosting before cutting up into tiny portions ready for further decoration. Take a look here for more inspo on making your own edible cake decorations.
6. *Snuggle Up* Best cake to serve with hot chocolate
This Christmas we have launched our Holy Trinity of Christmas cakes:
For snuggling specifically with a hot choc I’m going to plump for the Bliss Bar. Our signature almond and polenta shortbread is spread with home made vegan caramel and then we add 7 types of seeds, nuts and fruit plus dairy free dark choc drops. It is truly heavenly and deserves to be amongst our top three snuggle spots.
7. *Snuggle up* Best cake to nibble whilst admiring the Xmas tree
I look upon writing Christmas cards and gift tags as an opportunity to carve out some quiet time away from the hubbub of shopping, cooking and tinsel arranging. A comfy chair, your favourite tunes and a mug of tea. The finishing touch has to be a slice of Fruited Ginger Cake.
Once the decs are up and the fairy lights detangled what better time to secure your favourite perch and take a moment to reflect on how pretty everything looks? Here I’d recommend a pot of tea and a slice of our moreish and best selling Mincemeat Crumble Slice. This year we’ve tweaked the recipe to add in more orange zest and cranberries. Christmas in a slice.
8. Quick and easy ice cream cake dessert.
For a really easy and delicious vegan pudding solution try sandwiching together 2 x Honeybuns traybakes with Judes vegan ice cream (other brands are available). Our traybakes feed 12-16. This year we’ll be enjoying this as dessert on the night before Christmas when we invite friends round for jacket potatoes, a festive treasure trail and a tipple or three. Certainly no time for making a pudding from scratch in our house!
9. Super easy vegan chocolate icing recipe
We spread this gorgeous free from frosting over our traybakes before decorating and cutting into petit four portions.
- 500g icing sugar
- 250g dairy free margarine, softened (we use Pure)
- 1 tbsp vegan and gluten free cocoa powder. More to taste if you wish.
Beat together until creamy and spreadable.
10. Personalised iced Christmas tray bake
If, like me, your handwriting is worse than your doctor’s, then persuade someone else to help out here. Using a simple mix of sieved icing sugar and water, drizzle your message over one of our traybakes. The contrast of white icing against dark chocolate is effective and will bring a smile to the lucky recipient’s face. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to receive their very own slab of Millionaire’s Shortbread on the big day?
Wishing you a lovely, cosy count down to Christmas. If it all gets a bit much remember to take a deep breath and book yourself in for a snuggle up. They really do work wonders – I’m just off to pop the kettle on and plump up a cushion now…
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You might also be interested to take a peek at our best gluten free Christmas cakes round up.