Sunday, 23 October 2011

Christmas Cake!

I know you might think I'm a little crazy to be posting a Christmas Cake recipe in October... but there is a very good reason! This cake needs to be baked in advance and 'fed' with brandy for several weeks before decorating and eating :) I have fond memories of my mum randomly announcing sometime in October that it was time to make Christmas cake and puddings- both of which I absolutely LOVE eating (it's seriously one of my favorite foods!)- and for me it marks the true beginning of the festive season :)

I've never made a Christmas cake on my own before- my mum always did it, and last year I was travelling until Christmas eve so I sent many frantic emails to my sister with strict instructions to get my grandma to make them for us- so this time has been a bit of an adventure for me, I had to adapt the recipe (which mainly comes from an ancient recipe book- it's yellowing and no longer has a cover) to what I know my mum did (but never bothered wasn't to write down!)


You will need:

200g butter
200g soft brown sugar
200g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
4 eggs
600g currents/raisins/mixed dried fruit/sultanas(whatever combination you like! I used mostly currents and mixed dried fruit)
50 chopped glace cherries
50ml brandy (plus extra for 'feeding' later on)


1) Place the butter and sugar into a bowl (use a big one, there is quite a lot of mixture by the end!) and beat together until light and creamy.




2) In a separate bowl weigh out the flour, and add the nutmeg and mixed spice.




3) Place the eggs and a little flour (around a tablespoon will do, this supposedly prevents the mixture curdling) into the bowl and mix together with a spatula/spoon.

4) Add the brandy and another small amount of flour and mix. Then add your fruit, glace cherries and flour and stir (it's good luck for everyone in the family to have a turn at stirring!) until the mixture is well combined (it might take a while, there's a lot of fruit)






5) Spoon the mixture into a lined tin, if possible leave a little dip in the centre of the cake- this will help your cake keep a flat top when it's cooked so it's easier to decorate. Bake at 140C/275F/Gas mark 1 for 4 and 1/2 hours (yes... really... though I think mine was ready after about 4hrs 20 minutes- I have a fan oven so it's a little faster)




6) Leave the cake to cool for a while in the tin, then take it out and peel off the lining, then leave it to cool on a rack.




7) When the cake is completely cooled (because it's so dense it might take a while) prick the top with a skewer several times and drizzle about a tablespoon of brandy over the top, allowing it to sink into the holes.





8) Wrap your cake in greaseproof paper, and then with foil (all nice and airtight) - a delicious parcel- then store in a cool dry place until you're ready to decorate and eat.




9) You can 'feed' the cake every week with another tablespoon of brandy drizzled over the top, you may need to make more holes with a skewer if it doesn't sink in quickly. This 'feeding' process helps keep the cake moist and rich, don't worry it wont actually taste alcoholic!


Despite the long cooking time and really long 'feeding' period, the cake is actually very easy to make :) And I really recommend making your own if you like Christmas cake as much as I do, it is SO much better than shop-bought cake, plus it's fun to decorate! I'll do another post closer to Christmas showing you how I marzipan, ice and decorate it :)

I'm feeling all Christmassy now, only 63 days to go!


                                                                                                xGretalRabbitx

2 comments:

  1. Hi there,
    This Christmas cake recipe is very yummy and spicy with mixed fruit. The process of making this cake is also easy. Baking of the cake and keeping it moist till the Christmas is very important. So that when decorating it will be easy and looks attractive. So that everyone has to water their mouths by looking at it. Here is a site which gives us some decorating ideas, Christmas cake designs and more recipes take a look at: http://www.altiusdirectory.com/Shopping/christmas-cake.html

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  2. I'm glad you like my recipe :) Thanks for the decorating tips!
    xGretalRabbitx

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