How to serve one Christmas cake three ways

Danielle ColleyFood and Wine, Life 5 Comments

festive sticky prune and date cake

Although I’m perfectly comfortable tackling sexy subjects like mojo and bondage on my blog – Keeping Up With The Holsbys  – I did not come to visit Nikki to talk about ménage a trois as such.

I’m actually talking about a trio of cake.

Sincerest apologies if I snagged you under false pretences.

After juggling one simple husband for seven years, I feel a real life ménage a trois probably makes life more complicated than it already is, whereas the aim of this sticky fruit cake is to make life easier.

I’m all for making the most out of one recipe and this easy Christmas Cake is a perfect trick to have up your sleeve this festive season.

Not only is it gorgeous on your Christmas table, but it is versatile; meaning you needn’t to research many different recipes for all of your festive needs.


I’m going to show you three sexy things to do with this one cake, and you can decide which you love best.

I used one cake for all three options to give you an idea of the size of this puppy. Six people ate it with custard for morning tea and I had half left for the other two delectable delights.

sticky prune and date cake with vanilla custard

Sticky Prune and Date Cake with Real Vanilla Custard

 What you will need

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour
  • ¾ teaspoon of bicarb soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 cups pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups pitted prunes, chopped
  • 230 g sultanas
  • 280g butter
  • 285ml water
  • 1 tin of condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon of chunky marmalade (I used last year’s lime and ginger marmalade from my pantry)

What you will need to do

Preheat oven to 170C.

Grease and line your cake tin. It’s quite a large cake so I use a 20cm spring form tin, or you could use a 20cm square tin.

Combine your flours, bicarb and salt in a bowl and give it a quick whisk to ensure you get all the lumps out. This is the lazy man’s way to sift. Never fails me.

Pop remaining ingredients except the marmalade into a large heavy based pot on the stove and simmer for three minutes.

Remove from heat and put into a cool bowl and leave for 30 minutes; I’d love to tell you to go and have a cuppa but you’ll probably go fold a load of washing, right?

Fold your flour and marmalade into your sticky mixture, pour into tin and place into the oven for about 1 to 1 and a quarter hours depending on your oven.

Keep an eye on it after an hour, using a skewer to check. When the skewer comes out clean, you’re cooked.

Leave to cool in tin for an hour or so, turn it out and either smear a good dollop of marmalade on top or dust with a little icing sugar.

Traditional Vanilla Custard

What you will need

  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of cream
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • sneaky nip of brandy if you’re so inclined

 What you will need to do

Pop your cream and milk onto the stove in a heavy based saucepan. Slice your vanilla bean and scrape out the black seeded goodness from its belly. Pop your bean husk into the mix and turn it onto a medium heat constantly stirring. Get it up to a temperature where it is hot, but DO NOT BOIL.

Remove from heat.

Whisk egg yolks, cornflour and sugar in a heatproof bowl until well combined. Remove vanilla beans from milk mixture. Pour hot milk mixture over egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly.

Add a dash of brandy if you’re feeling festive (or want to feel more festive, if you know what I mean!).

Pop it back onto the heat and do not stop stirring that puppy or you may end up with sweet scrambled egg!

After about 15 minutes it should coat the back of the spoon and you’re done.

Remove from heat and pour immediately into a cool dish.

chocolate christmas pudding truffles

Chocolate Pudding Truffles

Makes 20

What you will need

  • ¼ of Sticky Date and Prune Cake
  • dark chocolate
  • white chocolate
  • red lolly strap
  • green lolly strap

What you will need to do

Cut your cake into 1-1.5cm squares and roll then in your hands until they resemble balls.

Pop your dark chocolate into a bowl over a saucepan of water and melt.

Using two forks, roll your balls in the chocolate and place onto a piece of baking paper on a tray.

Pop in the fridge to harden.

Meanwhile, melt your white chocolate in the same fashion. When your balls are hard spoon a little of the white chocolate on and give it a little push with the back of your spoon so it drips gently down the side.

Pop back the fridge for a minute while you cut some little leaves or diamonds out of the lollies.

Using a toothpick and steady fingers, gently press your leaves onto the puddings. Whack them back in the fridge and package them however you like as gifts or serve them on your festive table.

boozy prune and coffee trifle

Boozy Prune and Coffee Trifle with Praline

Serves 5

What you will need 

  • ¼ of Sticky Date and Prune Cake
  • 200g pitted prunes
  • 90mls black coffee
  • ½ serve of custard (I just used leftover)
  • ½ cup Captain Morgan’s Rum, or you could use Armagnac, or brandy
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • small handful popcorn
  • small handful almonds, roasted lightly in the oven

What you will need to do  

Pop your prunes into a small saucepan with the rum and ¼ cup of water. Add your vanilla and cinnamon and bring up the heat. Remove from heat before boiling and set aside for a good 6-8 hours. Overnight is best.

Slice your cake finely and layer around the side of a bowl. Spoon your coffee over the cake until it’s all lovely and moist.

Place your prunes onto the cake and top with your custard.

Lay your popcorn and almonds onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.

In a small saucepan add your caster sugar with 2 tablespoons water – leave on a high heat – DO NOT STIR OR IT WILL CRYSTALISE – until it goes a rich caramel colour. Pour over your popcorn and nuts.

Toffee is extremely hot and sticky so please beware.

When it’s hardened, you can either break it up manually and keep it chunky, or you can give it a quick wiz in the processor and sprinkle the praline all over the top

Cook Once, Feed All Danielle Colley

Danielle launched her book yesterday.

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier while preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. This book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by Danielle’s often funny and charming story telling.

Find out more on the Holsbys Facebook page or subscribe to the Keeping Up With The Holsbys mailing list. To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All,  head to the Holsby Shop. You will also receive the Cook Once Feed All eBook (worth $15), plus the new eBook A Bit on the Side (worth $5) as a bonus gift in your inbox today.

Comments 5

  1. What a great recipe! I love the after-ideas too. Not a fan of traditional fruitcake, so this sounds like a great alternative! Thanks Danielle!

  2. Danielle I love Sticky date and make it for dessert occasionally to spoil the family but I have never thought of making those Christmas cake truffles and you have given me a great idea for little gifts ,Thank-You they are very sexy looking cakes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.