Xmas Stars and Snowflakes Backdrop Bedding Set
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There are so many delicious treats to enjoy over the festive season and a much loved favourite has to be Christmas cake.
They have been enjoyed for generations and if you don’t have the time to make one yourself there are plenty on the supermarket shelves to choose from.
But while Christmas cakes are all made with similar ingredients, they don’t always match up in quality and taste.
READ MORE: We compared Marks and Spencer and Aldi mince pies and there was an obvious difference
This week, we decided to put two of the big names against each other, to see which won in a taste test. We chose Marks and Spencer’s Fully Iced Christmas Cake and compared it with Aldi’s Specially Selected Brandy Infused Iced Fruit Cake.
Marks and Spencer’s Fully Iced Christmas Cake (Image: Liverpool Echo)
The budget supermarket is famed for its replica products, and even sells its own version of the popular M&S light up gin snowglobe, at a cheaper price. But how will its Christmas cake compare the M&S? Here’s our verdict.
What you get for your money
Marks and Spencer’s Fully Iced Christmas Cake is an all butter fruit cake with plump vine fruits, fully iced with marzipan, soft icing and comes topped with a festive snowflake design.
It serves 12, is suitable for vegetarians and is priced at £8 in M&S stores and on Ocado.
Christmas in Liverpool 2021 How the packaging compares
Marks and Spencer’s cake comes in a fairly plain, light brown box decorated with white snowflakes. It has a round clear panel so you can see the cake, but the packaging doesn’t feel particularly special.
Aldi’s iced fruit cake comes in a navy coloured box that features festive stars and images of the cake once it has been cut. There’s a clear panel showcasing the beautifully hand decorated cake which has a gold ribbon around the base.
Aldi’s Specially Selected Brandy Infused Iced Fruit Cake. (Image: Liverpool Echo) How the Christmas cakes look
Other than being fully covered in icing, the cakes don’t look similar. The Marks and Spencer cake has a intricate red snowflake pattern with a raised white star in the centre and a dusting of sugar. It would look really pretty if served on a cake stand at Christmas.
The icing on Aldi’s cake is embossed with snowflakes and features a gold snowflake and two gold stars to match the ribbon wrapped around the base. There’s also a slight shimmer to the icing and the overall design makes the cake look beautiful. It’s bound to stand out at the centre of the table this Christmas.
What they taste like
Once cut into, the icing and marzipan on the Marks and Spencer cake has a good thickness to it and is delicious against the richly spiced flavours of the cake. As promised, the fruit inside is plump and juicy, with large chunks of glacé cherries like you might find in a homemade cake. Overall it’s soft, sticky and sweet – just the way a Christmas cake should be.
Aldi’s cake doesn’t fall apart when cut and is packed full of delicious fruit, including sultanas, currants and candied orange and lemon peel. The added almonds bring a lovely nutty flavour to the very moist sponge which also has a buttery taste. The thickness of the icing and marzipan is just right so it isn’t too sweet and compliments the fruit and almonds nicely. You can definitely notice the brandy but it’s not too overpowering.
A tiny Scottish town which found fame last year for its “wonky” Christmas lights has added two new masterpieces.
Newburgh in Fife shuns traditional images of bells and snowflakes in favour of decorations designed by local schoolchildren.
Their joyful collection boasts a two-legged “reinduck”, a grumpy penguin and a dancing Christmas tree.
Now two new illuminations have been added – a festive dinosaur and a pandemic-inspired rainbow.
Images of the unique spectacle went viral last year when the pandemic threatened to leave the town’s high street in darkness over Christmas.
The community pulled together and the display did go ahead, but for the first time since 2002 there was no new light to add to the array.
This year, boosted by their new-found fame, organisers decided to select two winners from entries from Newburgh Primary School pupils.
“We wanted to go for it this year,” said Newburgh Action Group member Shona Gray. “We have a winner for 2021 and we wanted to mark 2020 and the historic year it was in some way.”
The result was a winning design by primary seven pupil Lois Murray.
Image source, Ricky Evans Image caption,
Lois’s winning rainbow marked the “strange Christmas” of 2020
“I drew the rainbow part because of Covid and it was a symbol of hope at the time,” Lois told BBC Scotland.
Lois couldn’t remember what she drew for the light competition and was shocked when she found out just last week that she was a winner.
“I was shocked because I was standing up in front of the class, thinking ‘oh my gosh’. I couldn’t remember if it was my design or not it was so long ago.
“My best friend nearly started crying.”
The winner for 2021 was primary two artist Arlo Nicol.
His big green dinosaur wrapped in fairy lights embodied the festive feeling creeping across the town.
Image source, Newburgh Primary School Image caption,
Arlo and Lois only found out their designs had won days before they were revealed to the town
The pair were given the exciting news at school last week and will now see their lights line the street for years to come.
Susan Ewing, Newburgh Primary’s headteacher, said: “It’s a great community project and the children all get very excited designing their entries and finding out who the winners are.
“It’s a lovely tradition we have in the village, and it certainly makes our village feel extra festive. We’re all looking forward to seeing the new designs!”
The light competition means a lot to the town. Previous winners grow up looking for their light every year when they are strung up in November.
Lois’s mum Angela said she had quietly hoped for years her daughter might win.
Image source, Ricky Evans Image source, Ricky Evans Image source, Newburgh Action Group
She said: “When you put the competition drawing in every year you think it would be nice.
“We are military family so I have lived away for a while and it’s lovely to come back and see the new ones. It’s part of the community spirit. And the design is lovely. It reminds me of all the lovely arts and crafts we did at home during lockdown.