Thinking about Christmas Cake!

In the Swoop Office we are thinking about Christmas, well, Christmas cake to be more precise! We like the way that so much love and care goes into the creation of a Christmas cake and think it is rather like creative writing. In fact, the more we think about it, the more the two seem to resemble one another.

Getting started

It is best to get baking around two or three months before Christmas. This gives you plenty of time for the cake to mature. You will also need to ‘feed’ your Christmas Cake regularly as the big day approaches. Creative writing often starts a long while before pen touches paper, just as with the Christmas cake, ideas need to mature and experiences are needed to feed our creativity.

The ingredients

The ingredients of the Christmas cake link so nicely to a flavour-some story. The ingredients are like the details of a story. They all need to blend well together.

Plain flour – a good structure

Softened unsalted butter – something to hold it together

Dark muscovado sugar – mysterious event

Free-range eggs – risen expectations

Currants, sultanas and raisins – great characters

Glacé cherries – special characters

Candied peel – perhaps some laughter

Brandy – a shot of spirit

Mixed spice – intrigue

Black treacle – a sticky situation

Orange and lemon – fresh zesty twists

Nutmeg – a good ending

The making

Line your baking tin – get yourself set up to write

Preheat the oven – have what you need to hand

Stir the dry ingredients together – get writing

Combine the butter and sugar – follow your plot

Add one egg at a time – keep the reader guessing

Stir, whisk or beat – remember to pace things

Bake in the oven – take a break

Let the cake cool – read your work

Decoration time – read it again, edit and improve

The Eating

You could say that making a Christmas cake is a work of art, an act of love or even an annual endurance test. Sometimes it will go well and a delicious offering will be devoured eagerly. This is like writing where you just might create a mouth-watering story, raise a smile and have your reader come back for more.

When a Christmas cake goes wrong, whether it’s too dry, too boozy or not boozy enough, don’t worry as you can always try again next year. The exciting thing about creative writing is that unlike the Christmas cake which is a once a year event you can keep writing all year round!

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