Spice up Christmas

Christmas spice cake in a jar.
Christmas spice cake in a jar. Photo: Steve Shanahan

This version of a pre-packaged cake mix is a great Christmas gift. It is easy to assemble and is a practical and helpful gift to give to busy people. The only additions needed to complete the cake mix are the wet ingredients. To assemble the cake mix in the jar, use a medium-sized jar that has been sterilised, by boiling in a saucepan of water for 15 minutes. The jar should have an airtight seal.

2 cups self-raising flour

¾ cup dark brown sugar

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground Dutch cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

½ tsp grated nutmeg

½ cup dutch cocoa

pinch of salt

Measure and sift the flour and salt. In a separate bowl, measure and sift the cocoa and spices together.

Starting with the sugar, layer the ingredients according to their density, with the heaviest at the bottom.

Press down on the ingredients as you layer them, so they remain in their layers for presentation. As you place each layer in the jar, brush the sides with a dry pastry brush.

Last, add the sifted flour layer, topping with the cocoa and spices. Give the sides of the jar a final brush down, then seal and decorate the jar with a label and ribbon.

Give the recipient the method to make the cake, by printing the instructions (see page 4) on thick paper rolled into a scroll. Tie it on to the jar lid with the ribbon.

To keep the ingredients in their layers, avoid shaking the jar.

Dutch Christmas spice cake

All the dry ingredients have been prepared in correct quantities for you to easily prepare your Christmas spice cake. You'll only need a bowl and a wooden spoon to mix the cake. The ingredients contain no artificial colours or preservatives. The only extra ingredients you need to make the cake are:

⅓ cup golden syrup

1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 23 centimetre x 10 centimetre loaf tin. Dump the entire jar of cake mixture ingredients into a large mixing bowl, stirring with a wooden spoon to combine. Add the golden syrup and milk and a cup of water and mix to a smooth paste. The mixture should fall in a ribbon from the spoon. Pour the mixture into the greased loaf tin, and slam on the bench top to remove bubbles. Reduce oven temperature to 150C and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour. Insert a skewer. It will come out clean if the cake is cooked.

This cake keeps best in an airtight container for about one week and gets better with age.