Its so very nearly time for Christmas and I couldn’t be more excited!!
I’m one of those rather annoying people that tends to get very excited about the festive period very early……..so much so that my lovely work colleagues have banned me from saying the “C” word – (Christmas, obviously) – meanies!
I get reprimanded every time I say it and a tally mark added to the white bored. So, obviously I got carried away today about how happy I was that I had made my lovely Christmas cake last night and in doing so I managed to get myself 2 extra tally marks on the board before I’d even realised what I’d said!! Bah!
Beisdes, what’s not to love?! I love fairy lights all year round (I could never have enough fairy lights in my life) especially at Christmas though, I love the films, the snow, the feeling of cold on my face whilst being snug and warm in my oversized coat and fluffy ear muffs, I love the food…and the wine! And who could forget all of the extra time I get to spend with my family?! With all that to look forward to I don’t see why I shouldn’t be excited from August onwards! The second half of the year is best anyway 😉
This year I am making 6 Christmas cakes because who doesn’t like a challenge?! 5 x 8inch ones and 6inch-er.
Its a bit of a hybrid recipe and I have to admit that I took the foundations of this cake from the lovely Delia. I hope you enjoy, let me know how you get on 🙂
Top Tip: For best results you will need to start prepping this cake the night before baking it.
Ingredients needed for the boozy fruit…
For the boozy fruit
(Made at least 12 hours before baking)
- 450g of Currants
- 175g of Sultanas
- 175g of Raisins
- 80g of Glacé cherries (finely chopped)
- 80g of Mixed peel (finely chopped)
- 4tbsp of good quality brandy!
For the cake
- 225g of sifted plain flour
- 225g of soft brown sugar
- 225g of unsalted butter (room temp)
- 0.5 tsp of grated nutmeg
- 0.5 tsp of mixed spice
- 0.5 tsp of cinnamon
- 50g flaked almonds (crushed up a bit)
- 4 eggs (fresh)
- 1.5 tablespoons of black treacle
- Grated rind of 1 Lemon
- Grated rind of 1 Orange
- Grease proof paper
- Brown paper
1. First thing is first – add all of the ingredients from the boozy fruit list to a bowl big enough for all of the ingredients. Use your hands to mix it all together before adding 4 tbsp of branding to the fruit and covering with a clean tea towel. Leave for at least 12 hours
2. Next, start prepping your cake tin (I definitely learnt this from Delia!). Line around the tin with 2 layers of baking paper. Grease the tin before adding the baking paper.
Tip: Cut a length of baking paper, enough to sit around the inside of the tin and fold it in half length ways. Fold it back 1 inch along the length and snip it at intervals, cutting at a slight angle. It will help the baking paper to sit flush against the tin. Then use the base of the cake tin to cut out a double layer for the bottom of the tin.
3. You will then need to tie brown paper around the tin with string to protect it during its long slow bake.
4. Preheat your oven to 140c/Gas 1
5. Next add 225g of butter (at room temp) and 225g of soft brown sugar to a stand mixer (or you can use an electric hand mixer) and beat together until light and fluffy.
Remember: Don’t skimp on this part!
6. Next take your 4 eggs and beat them in a separate bowl. You will need to add this to the butter and sugar mixture a little at a time, preferably whilst still mixing, to prevent the mixture from splitting.
7. Once all of the beaten egg has been added to the butter and sugar mix you can then sift in 225g of plain flour. Mix until all has been incorporated.
8. Add in 1/2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and a 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice. Mix until all has been incorporated.
9. Add the soaked fruit to the cake mixture along with the 50g of almonds, the grated zest if the orange & lemon and 1.5 tbsp of black treacle. Turn the mixer to a low speed to mix these ingredients in.
10. The mixture is now ready to be spooned in to the prepared cake tin! Once all of the mixture has been transferred across in to the cake tin, smooth it down with the back of a spoon.
11. Finally – take a large piece of baking paper and fold it half – ensure a small hole – around the size of a £2 coin has been cut out of the middle of the parchment and place over the cake tin before putting it into the oven.
Tip: To test if your cake is ready simply remove from the oven and press in the centre of the cake – if it springs back its good to go. If it leaves an indent it needs to go back in for a little while longer.
13. Let the cake cool in the tin for around 45 minutes before removing from the tin and leaving the cake to cool completely on a rack.
Remember: Once your cake is cool you should use a skewer to poke several holes in to the top and the base of the cake so that you can then ‘feed’ brandy to Christmas cake. A couple of tablespoons every fortnight or whenever you see fit will help your cake mature nicely.
Tip: Wrap your cake in brown paper tied up with string and then wrap around a double layer of foil before storing in an airtight container. Only bring out to feed and decorate.
Love S & P x