Time to make the Christmas Cake :)

I adore making Christmas cake. Even if we don’t eat it on the day itself, it’s there and disappears over the holidays. Icing recipe will come later in December – but the cake can be made now and all the way up to Christmas week. It will taste amazing. Don’t, like me a few years ago, feed it too much… Or it will be spoonable soaked fruit by Christmas!!

This is an adapted recipe from Delia Smith. It is unsurpassed and has never failed me. I have changed and added to the fruit mix because I dislike candied peel and cherries. 🙂

To make the cake, you need to start a day ahead to soak the fruit.

For the pre-soaking:
450g currants
175g sultanas
175g raisins
50g chopped dried cherries
50g chopped dried ginger
50g chopped pitted prunes and dried apricots (one or the other if you prefer)
100ml brandy (or a brandy and malt whiskey mix for added smokiness)

Put all the dried fruits above into a large bowl, mix with the spirits, cover with a clean tea cloth and leave to soak for a minimum of 12 hours. Give them a stir every time you pass – the smell wonderful!

When you are ready to make the cake pre-heat the oven to 140°C, gas mark 1 and you will need the following:

225g plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ level teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
½ level teaspoon ground mixed spice
225g dark brown soft sugar
4 large eggs
2 dessertspoons black treacle
225g spreadable butter
50g chopped almonds (skin on)
zest of 2 lemons and 1 orange

Sift the flour, salt and spices from a height into a very large roomy mixing bowl. Add the sugar, eggs, treacle (warm it in a pan of gently bubbling water to make it easier to measure) and butter and beat with a whisk until everything is smooth, light and fluffy.

Gently fold in the pre-soaked fruit mixture, chopped nuts and grated lemon and orange zests.

Put the cake mixture into your prepared tin (buttered and lined with greaseproof paper on the bottom, with a high collar of greaseproof paper tied to the outside), spread it evenly with the back of a spoon.

Top the mix with some more greaseproof paper with a 50p-sized hole in the centre (for extra protection during the cooking) and pop on the top of the cake.

Bake on the lowest shelf of the oven for 4 hours until a skewer comes out clean and the top feels springy in the centre when lightly touched. It can take 30–45 minutes longer – don’t look at it for 4 hours. It usually smells ‘done’!

Cool the cake for 30 minutes in the tin, the turn out onto a wire rack. When cold, ‘feed’ it by making small holes in the top and bottom with a cocktail stick and spooning in a couple of tablespoons of Armagnac or brandy, then wrap it in parchment-lined foil and store in an airtight tin.

Feed the cake at odd intervals until Christmas comes and you need to ice or eat it.

It totally smells of Christmas…. But I guess that is the point!!

2 Responses to Time to make the Christmas Cake :)

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