Dessert on Christmas Day is a special affair, and turning a classic recipe such as a stollen (a type of spiced, German cake made with candied fruit and nuts) into an edible wreath is one way to put a fresh twist on a traditional favourite.
Once baked and dusted with icing sugar, this Christmas wreath cake will look incredible in the centre of the table – and will surely complement other seasonal sweets including pavlova and a rose and vanilla zabaglione trifle.
Tip: Enjoy freshly made stollen within a couple of days to ensure optimum freshness, or freeze it without the glaze and icing sugar for up to one month.
Add sugar and yeast to warm milk and stir with a fork to combine. Stand in a warm place for 10 minutes or until frothy.
Sift flour and spices in a large bowl. Add sultanas, cranberries, mixed peel and zest. Mix well until fruit is coated in flour. Make a well in the centre and add yeast mixture, cooled melted butter and eggs. Mix to a soft dough using a wooden spoon.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 3-4 minutes or until smooth. Shape dough into a ball and sit in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place for about 1 hour or until well risen. Punch down dough.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Dust a large oven tray with flour. Knead dough into a round. Cut in half. Roll out, one half at a time, on a floured surface to a 43cm x 25cm rectangle. Sprinkle each rectangle with half of each the chocolate, apple and blueberries. Press into dough. Roll each up firmly, starting from the long side, to form a log. Cut log in half down the centre lengthways to expose layers.
Carefully plait two halves together by overlapping layers. You will need to hold filling and layers together as you do this. Set plait aside and repeat with remaining dough. Slide both plaits onto oven tray then press ends together to continue plait pattern and form wreath. Push any fruit or chocolate that has fallen out into crevices.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 15 minutes or until golden. Stand for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
To make glaze, place water and sugar in a small saucepan over a medium heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil. Boil, without stirring, for about 8–10 minutes or until reduced to a syrup. Brush generously over stollen. Allow to set. Dust lightly with icing sugar just before serving.
Make this stunning stollen gift-worthy by placing it on a festive platter or in a decorative cake tin, finished with a festive bow.