It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Be honest, did you read/sing that title in Michael Bublè’s voice? Because that’s how I wrote it, haha!

I ADORE Christmas! I love that it’s so immersed in family traditions like putting up the tree, making Christmas Eve boxes for the kids and of course, BAKING!

You either Love it or Hate it

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without pudding and I know, I know, you either love it or you hate it but if you love Christmas pudding then you are in for a treat. (If you hate it but you love baking, then scroll straight to the bottom for a giveaway that will blow your mind!)

Food Lovers Market recently sent me a crate of Christmas goodies and tasked me with making a cake or pudding. Inside the crate was the core ingredient for my recipe: the famous luxury festive cake mix affectionately known as ‘The Red Bucket’. Did you know that this bucket (well, not this specific bucket of course) has been around for 25 years?? They have had loads of time to perfect the mix and it is packed with the finest quality of fruit and nuts. Plus it’s only R79.99 which is a steal! I used the bucket to marinate the mix and also to store my extra baking ingredients.

Food Lovers Market Red Bucket

This buckets has raisins, sultanas, dried fruit, cherries and almonds. I was all set except, I had never made a pudding before! It was time to call in the big guns…

The family recipe

Now the reason why I have never made a Christmas Cake or Pudding before is because my mother in law makes a wonderful pudding so I’ve never needed to. It’s rich and dense and you can smell the brandy from the other room when it’s warmed. So when she came to visit over the weekend, I hesitantly asked for the recipe.

I was fully prepared to get turned down because these family recipes are precious and I told her that if she gives it to me then I will give it to all of you. Would you believe it, she said YES!!! (Of course I can never completely follow any recipe so I took the liberty of adding a few things here and there but I’ll put that in italics)

Here it is:

Denise Gabriel’s Christmas Pudding Recipe

⁃ Food Lovers Market Luxury cake mix

⁃ 2 cups of brown sugar

⁃ 2 cups of brandy

A handful of cashew nuts

2 oranges

A finger sized chunk of ginger

⁃ 7-8 slices of stale brown bread (to make fresh bread crumbs)

⁃ 1 cup of dry breadcrumbs

– 12 XL eggs

⁃ 2 cups of plain flour

⁃ 500g of room temperature butter

⁃ 4 tsp of baking powder

⁃ 1 1/2 tsp of bicarbonate

⁃ 1 bottle of Robertson’s mixed spice

⁃ 1/2 small bottle of vanilla essence

⁃ 1 1/2 Tbs of molasses or black jack (simple sugar syrup just before it caramelises)


⁃ Add the sugar and 2 cups of brandy to the festive cake mix. She said 3/4 of a bottle but didn’t give me a bottle size so I figured more is better, haha! Give it a good stir and leave to marinate for 24 hours

⁃ Chop up a handful of cashews and add it to the mix

⁃ Add grated ginger, the zest of two oranges and the juice of one orange to the mix

⁃ Stir every few hours so that the top doesn’t dry out

Food Lovers Market Red Bucket

The Next Day

⁃ Pulse about 7 slices of stale brown bread in the food processor (do it in two batches) to get your fresh breadcrumbs. Add this to the marinated cake mix

⁃ Add the normal dried breadcrumbs to the cake mix and stir

⁃ Rub the butter and flour together (the way you would for scones) then add it to the bowl

⁃ Beat the eggs in a separate bowl then add that to the cake mix and mix through

⁃ Lastly add the baking powder, bicarb, mixed spice, molasses or black jack, and vanilla essence.

For a bit of fun, add a sterilized coin to the mix and have a little gift ready for whoever finds the coin

⁃ Give it all a good stir

⁃ Grease or line your baking container. I used a rippled Bundt Tin so baking paper didn’t work. Instead I buttered the pan then coated it in flour.

Food Lovers Market Red Bucket

⁃ The baking dish you use needs to fit inside a large pot because this will be a steamed pudding

⁃ Fill your baking dish 3/4 of the way up with the cake mix then cover in 3 layers of foil, making sure that it is sealed tightly around the edges. Use a rubber band if you need to. You want to trap all that steam.

⁃ Next place a small ovenproof dish upside down inside the large pot then place your pudding on top of that. This prevents the bottom of your pudding from burning.

⁃ Top up the pot about half way with boiling water then close the pot and set the stove on low heat.

⁃ Steam for 7-9 hours (Yes, 7-9 HOURS! Nothing good ever came easy) checking every hour or so to make sure that the water level remains consistent

⁃ Once the time is up, you can let the pudding cool in the pot or remove it and leave to cool in the dish. BE CAREFUL!

⁃ Once cold to the touch, remove the pudding from the dish and leave to cool a bit longer on a cooling rack.

⁃ And that’s it! Decorate the pudding however you like and enjoy!

⁃ Christmas pudding stays for ages, just make sure it’s wrapped in foil. I suggest leaving it in an airtight container in the fridge because our Summers are quite intense.

Food Lovers Market Ref Bucket

Here’s a gift idea for you

Unlike with cake, you can’t really eat a lot of Christmas pudding in one go so a big one like this will feed quite a few people. If you know that you will have extra left over, you could always turn them into gifts.

A layered Christmas pudding with custard in a clear glass bottle makes a beautiful handmade Christmas gift and the jar is reusable which is great.

Food Lovers Market Red Bucket

Competition time!

Now you know, it wouldn’t be Christmas without presents and Food Lovers Market has an AMAZING gift for one lucky person!

You could win

⁃ A crate (yes, a CRATE yo!) with

⁃ THIRTEEN Bakeware items…I’m talking mixing bowl, whisk, digital scale, rolling pin, pans…everything you need to bake up a storm

⁃ Your own Red Bucket that includes a few other recipes if Christmas pudding isn’t really your thing

⁃ A selection of festive treats from Food Lovers

All you have to do is click HERE to enter. Easy peasy!

Food Lovers Market Red Bucket

Good luck! And feel free to share any Christmas baking tips with me.

You can check out my Instagram page to get a look at the beautiful, festive branded crate that’s up for grabs.

This post was sponsored by Food Lovers Market but the baking was all me!


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