Christmas Cake and…’It’s a Write-Off’

I have a friend who a little while ago was heading overseas for a couple of years.  He asked me if I would like to ‘take care of’ and ‘look after’ one of his very special things.  As it had an engine and four wheels and one of those shiny metal German badges, I was only too happy to oblige.

Christmas Cake

It hadn’t been long in my possession, (it hadn’t needed a new service, more air in the tyres, a refill of water to wash the windscreen etc), in fact I’d only filled it with petrol on three occasions, when I…ahhh…slammed it into the back of a truck and wrote it off.

Fruit and Nut mix soaking in brandy and orange juice

So how did I do it???

Well…I’d had that procedure on my leg I was telling you about a few weeks ago (see related post) and the doctor said I had to wear compression stockings for two weeks.  Not only was I allergic to them, but they are slippery little suckers.  One hot day last week (there’s been no hot weather this week) I had to beetle across town to pick up Arabella’s textbooks that apparently she should have had a few weeks ago and if she didn’t urgently turn up to school with them I was going to receive another one of those phone call, (see related post).

Cake Mix

So as I had to wear jeans to cover the hideous stockings I was as hot as Hades so I decided the best way I could cool down my inner core was to wear thongs on my feet.  And I always tell my kids, ‘Don’t wear thongs while you’re driving, it’s dangerous.’

I was almost at the textbook shop when a truck in front of me came to a stop.  I went to put my foot on the brake but my foot in the slippery stocking slipped across the thong and became trapped under the brake pedal.  By the time I managed to untangle my foot from where it was trapped it was too little too late and my nose was now almost on the truck’s bumper bar and very obviously I had considerably shortened my friend’s German car.

Cake Mix

In denial as to the extent of the damage, I somehow re-started the car and pretended not to notice, as I drove away, all the broken off crumpled pieces of the car splattered on the road.

I thought it best not to tell my friend straight away.  Why ruin his weekend?  But having now had a phone call from the insurer advising the repair bill is more than 75% of the value of the car so that’s technically a ‘write-off’, I believe the time has come to come clean.


So I’ve sent my dear friend a message and I’m hoping he gets to enjoy his first Thanksgiving before he finds it.

And in case you’re wondering, I’m actually okay – alive and all systems operating as normal and I’m becoming very fit thanks to my new means of getting around – a pair of sneakers.

I’m wondering what my friend’s reaction is going to be.  Do you think it’s a bit much to expect that he’ll just be overjoyed that I survived and am unharmed?

Christmas Cake

It’s getting to be that time of year again and I always like to make a Christmas Cake.  In fact, the children expect it.  I have adapted this recipe from The Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook, ‘Christmas Cooking’, Grand Marnier Fruit Cake (but seriously…who can afford to be throwing large quantities of Grand Marnier into cakes?  I used brandy.)

Rolling on the fondant

Cost:  Christmas cakes are expensive.  There’s the dried fruit, the glace fruit, the marzipan, the icing, the cake board, the ribbon and decorations.  They are also time-costly.  It took an afternoon to prepare the fruit, it takes time to prepare the cake tin, then the cake takes 3 and a half hours to cook, then it has to be decorated.  But…it’s so worth it!

Smoothing out the fondant with icing sugar dusted hands

Ingredients and Method:

3 cups sultanas

1 1/2 cups mixed peel

3/4 cup coarsely chopped raisins

3/4 cup red and green glace cherries halved

2/3 cup coarsely chopped seeded prunes

2/3 cup coarsely chopped glace pineapple

1/2 cup coarsely chopped glace apricots

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1 tbspn finely grated orange rind

Juice of one orange

1/2 cup brandy

250g softened butter

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

5 organic eggs

2 cups plain flour

2 tbspns brandy, extra

1 egg white, lightly beaten

1/2 cup sifted icing sugar

1kg marzipan

1kg ready-made fondant

25cm cake board

Decorations and Ribbon

The finished product and it was oh so worth it!

Combine fruit, nuts and rind in a large bowl.  Pour over orange juice and brandy and stir to combine.  Cover with cling wrap and leave for up to one week in a cool, dark place but stir fruit twice daily.

Preheat oven to 140°C.  Line base and sides of 22cm cake tin with 1 layer of brown paper and 2 layers of baking paper lightly greased, extending paper 5cm above the edge of the tin.

Beat butter and sugar until just combined (don’t over beat or you will have a crumbly cake).  Add eggs, one at a time until just combined (don’t worry if mixture curdles). Stir butter mixture into fruit mixture, mix in flour.  Spread mixture into tin.  Tap tin firmly on bench several times to remove air bubbles.  Level cake with a wet spatula.

Open oven door and line rack with several layers of newspaper.  Sit cake on top of newspaper and bake uncovered in oven for 3 and a half hours.  Remove from oven and pour extra brandy over the cake.  Trap steam by covering top of cake in foil.  Allow to cool overnight in tin.

Set cake on cake board upside down.  Brush cake evenly with egg white.  Knead marzipan with icing sugar and roll out.  Lift onto cake with rolling pin and smooth over cake.  Leave for 24 hours to allow marzipan to dry.  (Using marzipan will stop the icing from developing a brown stain).  Roll out fondant and lift onto cake using rolling pin.  Smooth over cake using hands dusted with icing sugar.  Use knife to cut away excess fondant from base of cake.

Secure ribbon around cake using pins.

Decorate with whatever you choose – my children have chosen my decorations!  Dip base of decorations in remaining lightly beaten egg white to secure to cake.





  1. oh dear 🙁 but um im glad you’re ok!

  2. wish I can make it!

    just liked your fb page
    check out mine on “pinklemonincrystal” 🙂

  3. Awwwwww….I’m sad for you! I’m glad you’re okay, but I have a feeling your friend isn’t going to be super excited.

  4. Do this. Exaggerate the enormity of the wreck and start it off by saying “First, let me just say…….(pregnant pause inserted here)……I’m OKAY!!!” Then, tell him the rest of your exaggerated story. Good luck! 🙂

  5. Oh dear! And I’ve been told many a time not to wear thongs! I definitely won’t now! Glad to hear that you’re ok!

  6. Oh, what a sad story! I hope it all works out okay for you. And as for the cake, I am SO going to try this…someday. This year, we won’t be home for the holidays, so I probably won’t make it this year but I really, really, think it looks fantastic! In the mean time, keep us posted about your friend’s reaction!!

  7. WOW! That looks fabulous!! I just put up something new on my blog and would love to hear from you! Do drop by soon 😀

  8. So glad you were not hurt in the accident! Maybe if you share this cake with your friend he’ll forget about the car.? It looks fabulous.

  9. You remind me of me ! Lucy’s if there ever were !!! Thank God you’re ok , and at least its insured . Did the airbags go off ?? BTW, Cake looks amazing, but thats the shortest rolling pin on the planet lol !!

  10. What an, umm, ‘interesting’ life you lead! All great blog fodder! More seriously though, thank heavens you are okay. I hope your friend has a pragmatic outlook and a sense of humour. Things happen. The cake though looks gorgeous. Cakes and decorated cakes really can be expensive to make and time rich as well as you say, I don’t think people realise. Maybe you can make a beautiful cake like this for your friend – I’d forgive most things for a gift of this cake!

  11. It’s only a car, a shortened German car it may be. I’m sure your friend will be overwhelmed with love and incredibly thankful that you (or any body else) wasn’t hurt at the time.
    (And a large hunk of Christmas cake would probably help the whole process on your friends return.)

  12. That is just too cool!
    I’m sure you’re friend will just be glad you’re ok – if he can afford German cars, he’ll be right!

  13. Good to know you are okay after the accident! What’s the worst that can happen…your friend doesn’t ask you to car sit again.
    Your Christmas cake is fabulous – maybe the whole thing should go to your friend as an “I’m sorry I wrote your car off”.
    🙂 Mandy

  14. Oh dear! But at least you’re ok. And perhaps the option – although I’ve been told it’s not legal – is to drive barefoot in a similar future situation?

  15. Good to know you’re ok, and I hope your friend takes the news ok.

    Cake looks wonderful – we make AWW chrissie cake too, but never do the marzipan bit – yours looks SO professional!

  16. Glad to hear you made it out okay!!

    The cake looks great! You did a fantastic job 🙂

  17. Oh dear :(!!!! Glad you’re ok though!

  18. Glad to hear you are ok! Gah, I am guilty as charged when it comes to driving with thongs. I drive barefoot if I’m wearing thongs and that’s worked out ok so far. Hope your friend takes the news ok.

    The cake on the other hand is lovely.

  19. This is pretty great! I might have to try this myself, sometime. It looks amazing!
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  20. Fabulous looking cake – you’ve obviously got quite a flair for cake decorating. I could never get one to look so professionally decorated.
    I would suggest posting the whole cake over to said friend the fastest way possible, then making the dreaded phone call. And do play up the drama and potential for bloodshed angle!

  21. yikes! car wrecks are so scary, and even the smallest of boo-boos can yield lots of expensive damage. glad you’re okay!

  22. I will remember not to wear thongs when driving now! Or leave my nice German car with you when I’m on holidays 🙂 haha….. Glad you’re okay though!

    Your cake looks amazing- but wow, it sounds like it takes forever to make! I’ve never made a fruit cake before so 3 and a half hours just for baking the cake itself sounds crazily long!!

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Hi Von, yes, it is a time consuming process but so well worth it and…the cake is done in stages so you don’t actually realise how much time is going in to the finished product. But you can’t beat the presentation of a beautiful cake at Christmas!

  23. Your cake looks wonderful; fgreat to hear you are fine. Thank you for you viisit. Exploring your blog.

  24. I screwed up somehow with my last comment.

  25. That cake does look delicious-if only I could bake that well.

    Thanks for visiting my blog today and leaving a comment. It’s always nice to have new people come visit!

  26. Glad to know you’re ok! What a great looking cake!

  27. YIKES! glad you’re alright!

  28. Your cake looks beautiful! I’ve never used fondant before because I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to make it look pretty!

  29. Oh gosh- that’s up there in nightmare territory. Thank goodness for the escapism of baking.

  30. Hmm…I don’t know what I would do in such a situation….it’s a tough one.
    I hope your friend is ok and the insurance covers it:)

  31. oh dear, that’s not good! glad you’re okay though – cars are generally overrated 🙂

  32. Oh dear! I’m glad you’re not hurt, and maybe your friend will be so delighted with the prospect of getting a new car that he won’t be too upset? Maybe if you off to pay the excess? And of course send across one of those yummy cakes……

  33. Oy, that really stinks! But I, at least, am glad that you’re okay!

    That Christmas cake sounds delicious! I love how it’s stuffed with so many different goodies!

  34. Oh my! There should be a law banning thongs on feet. Glad you are well!

    And that Christmas cake looks too delicious to eat 😀

  35. Oh no! Well, if I was your friend I’d be glad that you were safe, as most things tend to be replaceable. You did an amazing job with the fondant icing on that Christmas cake by the way.

  36. Glad to hear you are doing ok.

    That cake looks wonderful, you did such a great job with it.

  37. Lovely looking cake there! I’m glad to hear your okay!

  38. I was thinking BMW!

  39. Dear Charlie Louie

    I hope you are fine and not wearing thongs whilst driving was one of the first advice given by my driving instructor when I started to learn driving here in Sydney seeing that it’s the land of thongs especially in summer. Thankfully this advice has remained stuck in my head ever since.

  40. I’m awaiting new posts here! Do drop by to check my first ever dessert recipe! I’d love to hear from you 😀

  41. what matters most is that you are OK! Maybe send him a slice of cake to ‘sweeten’ the blow 🙂

  42. You did such a wonderful job with this Christmas Cake.. I just don’t know how to deal with fondant but you did a spectacular job with this

  43. Glad you are okay. I don’t own a pair of thongs but I’m thinking of getting a pair. Our new place has sisal matting.

    How clever to ice the cake on the bottom side. My mother always made one of these cakes at Christmas.

  44. Your talent astounds me over and over again. What a gorgeous cake–and what helpful tips as well.


  1. […] the recipe and many more much better images, here’s the link to It’s a Write-Off and this post might be about the time I perhaps wrote-off a friend’s car – […]

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