The best Christmas cakes and bakes - tested by Georgina Hayden

Vergani pistachio and chocolate panettone
750gramo, £18.80,
The dough is light, nice density, perfectly proved, really good aeration. The pistachio is lovely and prominent throughout. A really great Christmas variation.

Waitrose tiramisu panettone
750gramo, £7.50,
Gimmicky and fun. The middle bit is not bad. I like the chocolate topping. The dough is a bit dense.

Marcas & Spencer triple chocolate panettone
750gramo, £ 10,
Very nice panettone. Good topping, and I really like the pools of chocolate in the dough. It tastes like it could do with a bit more proving but, other than that, a good option for a chocolate lover.

Aldi Specially Selected yule log
435gramo, £3.29,
Doesn’t push the boat out, it’s just a nice, standard, nostalgic yule log. Exactly what my mum or my granny would have.

By Sainsbury’s chocolate yule pups cakes
5 x 135g, £2.20,
Cute to look at, my kids would go mad for them. They would be good at a family party. Nice idea, everyone loves a dog, but too sweet for me. Even the filling is quite sweet.

Tesco Finest all butter pastry speculoos tarts
4, £3,
The pastry is nice, really short, but I don’t like the topping. And I’m not getting enough mincemeat.

Morrisons Free From gingerbread crumble mince pies
4, £2.50,
Gingerbread and mincemeat is a good pairing. I quite like a crumble top. I would want it warm with some cream. I wouldn’t have guessed it’s gluten free.

Aldi Specially Selected all butter classic mince pies
6, £1.49,
Granny would approve. I like how gooey the filling is. All you need from a shop-bought mince pie.

Waitrose No.1 brown butter mince pies with Courvoisier
6, £2.40,
Los otros dos retratos eran realmente buenos., very nice, I get the booze straight away. The pastry is fine and nicely golden. The mincemeat is chunky and punchy because of the Courvoisier.

Taste the Difference millionaires torte
1.08kg, £ 10,
Looks festive. But I’m not a fan of millionaires shortbread – for me, that’s too sweet. I don’t think I’m getting any definition from the layers. The biscuity bottom layer is a little better.

Marcas & Spencer chocolate sourdough
400gramo, £3,
Trying this straight up was fine, but as soon as it’s toasted and slathered in salty butter … oh my word, so delicious. Perfectly chocolatey.

Waitrose Heston The Giant Cracking Penny
700gramo, 20 libras esterlinas,
It’s not that Christmassy. The filling is moussey, not very easy to cut. But I like the thickness of the chocolate surrounding it. It’s a really good chocolate pudding.

Selfridges Selection marzipan stollen
500gramo, £19.99,
Utterly divine. I love the sugar crust, the marzipan is perfect. Great plump juicy fruit – spot on.

Baker Street stollen bites
275gramo, £3,
Nice level of marzipan. Straight away I can smell the almond … maybe a bit heavy with it. But in terms of a bite-size thing with a Christmas vibe, I would say very nice.

Tesco Finest mini iced fruit cake
150gramo, £2.50,
I tend not to like miniature stuff, but I have a family who don’t love Christmas cake, so this is perfect. Good fruit distribution, thick layer of marzipan and the icing is good. Not too sweet. Cute.

Georgina Hayden is a food writer and author of Taverna: Recipes From a Cypriot Kitchen




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