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10 best Christmas baking

From gingerbread creations to festive cases and cutters, IndyBest gets in the Christmas spirit with this seasonal kitchen kit

Pippa Bailey
Sunday 23 November 2014 07:00

You’ve put in an order for the turkey, donned your Christmas socks (it’s still a bit early for the full-on jumper, at least in public) and the Thursday late-night shoppers are out in earnest. It’s time to start thinking about pudding — and elevenses and afternoon tea.

From gingerbread house cutters and panettone tins to mulled wine flavourings and Christmas jumper-shaped cake pans, we’ve got everything you need to satisfy that sweet tooth this December.

{1} The Wrapping Room 8 Kraft bags: £3.50,

For extra-special home-baked gifts, put your wares in these Christmas paper bags. Simply fold down the top and secure with the stickers included, and pop in stockings or under the tree – perfect for that rum fudge you’ve spent hours lovingly making.

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{2} KitchenCraft Gingerbread House Cutter Set: £7.45,

This seven-piece set of cutters has everything you need to build an epic gingerbread house, complete with chimney and trees. Refrigerate your shapes before baking to stop them spreading and try gluing together with caramel if you don’t have much luck with the conventional royal icing.

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{3} PME Veined Holly Leaf Plunger Set: £8.65,

Add some flare to a classic iced Christmas cake with these clever bits of kit. Roll out some green fondant, then cut varying sizes of holly leaves, pressing down the plunger to imprint the vein pattern. Finish with some red fondant “berries” and a dusting of edible glitter.

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{4} Mulled Wine Flavouring: £3.95 for 15ml,

Mulled wine is a seasonal treat rarely used in baking, which is unfortunate because it livens up a chocolate cake or plum tart beautifully. Save the real stuff for drinking with this all-natural flavouring; a couple of drops per kilo of mix should do it.

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{5} Christmas Joy Cake Tin Set: £30,

Once you’ve baked your mince pies to perfection, you’ll need something to take them to the party in. Each tin of this gorgeous set has a handy recipe on the bottom, in case you need some inspiration.

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{6} Primrose Bakery Christmas by Martha Swift: £9,

This beautifully photographed book from the Primrose Bakery is all the inspiration you need to push the boat out this year. We recommend the eggnog cupcakes and apple and butterscotch Yule log — and there’s even a recipe for a Christmas cake for your dog.

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{7} Silverwood Panettone Tin: £23,

Don’t like Christmas pudding? Go Italian and make a panettone. The dried fruit sweet bread gets its distinctive shape from a tall, narrow tin, like this one from John Lewis. If it doesn’t all get eaten on Christmas day, make a bread and butter pudding with the leftovers.

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{8} Ginger Biscuits Mix: £7,

If you don’t have the time or patience to dig out grandma’s recipe and carefully weigh out all the ingredients for the perfect gingerbread, this mix from Laura Ashley does all the hard work for you. Just add egg, butter and syrup, roll out, cut (with the cute reindeer cutter included) and bake.

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{9} Wilton Christmas Jumper Cake Pan: £9.99,

Give your Christmas cake a novelty revamp with this jumper-shaped tin. The most important question: are you going to decorate it with a tasteful Fair Isle print or go full-on jumper kitsch, Mark Darcy-style in Bridget Jones?

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{10} 60 Vintage Christmas Cake Cases: £1.50,

Jazz up your usual cupcakes for Christmas with some seasonally appropriate cupcake cases. These have us daydreaming about skiing, log fires and that white Christmas.

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Verdict: If mince pies is about as daring as your Christmas baking gets, try something new with an impressive piece of gingerbread architecture from Cake Craft World, but if you’re a seasoned (pun intended) baker, find inspiration in Primrose Bakery’s Christmas and put a smile on everyone’s faces with a jumper-shaped cake from Wilton.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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