Shopping around: Christmas cakes
Every year, I bake a Christmas cake from scratch. It's a tradition whose processes, from mixing the fruit and glacé cherries to letting the cake settle, make me feel truly festive.
It's impossible to overstate just how nice it is to walk into a house where a Christmas cake has been baked. It is, however, a long, arduous task and takes time, energy and planning. When presented with the amount of high-quality ready-made Christmas cakes on the market, it is very tempting not to bother at all.
As always, the main supermarkets offer excellent value. Aldi's Specially Selected luxury iced Christmas cake is delicious, as is Tesco's Finest Christmas cake with oak-aged cognac. The three below are just some of the best options out there.
MARKS & SPENCER Snowflake cake
verdict: An elegant and very large cake, this is a rich and heavy all-butter fruit cake, packed with traditional ingredients. It has a good layer of marzipan beneath its soft white icing, which is simply decorated with glittering snowflakes and a silver ribbon. It seems churlish to mention nutritional information for a Christmas cake but 100g gives you 375 calories, 59.9g of sugar, 3.5g protein and 3.1g fat.
LIDL Snowy Lodge Luxury Christmas Cake
verdict: Half the price, this has a good, rich flavour, with a marzipan layer and soft icing. For every 100g, you'll get 360 calories, 56.3g of sugar, 3.9g of protein and 8.5g of fat.
SUPERVALU Signature Taste Cranberry & Almond Cake
verdict: If you don't like traditional cake, you could try pannetone, the lighter Italian cake, or something like this cranberry and almond light fruit cake. It still looks festive. For every 100g, you'll get 403 calories, 15g of sugar, 0.1g of protein and 20g of fat.