We love a good Christmas fruit cake – heavy and hot and steamy and brimming with flavour and brightness, it’s a lovely cake and would make for an even more delicious candle from Yankee. But we understand that some of you wonderful people feel differently and would prefer to use the obligatory cake as a doorstop (or maybe treat the family dog to a cheeky Christmas treat), and so we’ve decided to treat you to a (very tongue-in-cheek) article with a few alternative suggestions.

First off, a little bit of brandy goes a long way and it’s always fun to douse the cake in a good glug that would make a dockworker proud, crack out the matches, turn the lights off and embark on the traditional annual fire-hazard expedition where somebody stumbles around drunkenly in the dark with what is effectively a big plate of very hot fire surrounding a very dense, hot, liquidy mess. ‘tis the season, and all that. Last year we had a lot of fun by giving our snowman the cake and letting him deal with the burning fruit cake. He didn’t deal with it well, we don’t think. Haven’t seen him since, anyway.

As previously mentioned, that thick, sugary cake is basically just a big heavy combustion-prone ball, and can be used (with some creative differences) like any other ball, more or less. We’re not suggesting anyone’s going to get a Lionel Messi-style strike out of it, but keepy-uppies until the thing falls apart in the garden might be fun, or it could be a pretty potent response to the local teenagers who insist on checking snowballs through the barely-open windows (there’s a few excellent build-your-own-catapult instructions up on the internet. Just an idea). The more weighty your cake is, the better it will be for such activities, so this year make sure to ask gran to make a ‘special’. She doesn’t have to know how you enjoyed it, after all – only that you did.

If you prefer to eat your fruitcake after all, and just can’t deal with the density, the resident amateur chef here at Love Aroma has a few ideas that might get your tastebuds watering. First, slice about half the way down the cake with a big knife a few times to open it up a little bit, then embark on the aforementioned dousing in brandy. The burning alcohol should lift a lot of the fat and sugar out of the cake and hopefully make it a little less dense. After that, serving with sharp fruits (like raspberries), ice cream, lemon juice and chopped, fresh mint will liven the cake up and give it a bit of a new lease of life.

Awesome photo of the Christmas pudding was taken by the equally awesome James Petts