Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Practising

I don’t usually bother with making a Christmas cake.  I prefer mince pies and it always seems to me that wherever I go in December or January somebody is desperate to get rid of slices of Christmas cake.

However, I have promised that next year I will provide a cake for someone’s Very Special Birthday.  A ten inch square cake will be needed (plus an incredible number of cup-cakes) and I decided that I needed to make a practice cake.  I will then cut it into quarters using one piece as my Christmas cake.  The other pieces have their destinations which will become apparent to the recipients at Christmas. 

Yesterday (and the day before) I made this.

2 lb currants 
12 oz  sultanas
12 oz  raisins
8 oz  glacĂ© cherries, rinsed and finely chopped
8 oz mixed peel, finely chopped
6 tablespoons brandy
1 lb plain flour
½ level teaspoon salt
½ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 level teaspoon mixed spice
4 oz  chopped almonds
1 lb soft brown sugar
1 ½  tablespoons black treacle
1 lb unsalted butter
8 eggs
grated rind of 2 large lemons
grated rind of 2 large oranges

Day 1
Put all the dried fruits and peel in a bowl and mix in the brandy. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave overnight. 

Day 2
Mix and sieve the flour, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl. 
Cream the butter and sugar in a separate bowl until light and fluffy
In yet another bowl beat the eggs then slowly add them to the butter and sugar mixture.  It might also be a good idea to add the occasional tablespoon of the flour mixture to stop everything curdling.
When all the egg has been added, fold in the flour and spices.  Then add the fruit and other goodies that have been soaking plus the nuts treacle and orange and lemon peel.
Spoon the mixture into a cake tin which has been greased and lined with greaseproof paper and level it.
Tie a double layer of brown paper around the sides of the tin and put a double layer of greaseproof paper (with a small hole in the middle) over the top of the cake.
Bake it for about five hours at 140C, 275F, Gas 1 for about five hours.  Test with a skewer in the usual way.
When it is cold wrap it in double greaseproof paper and store in an airtight tin.

Fruit cakes like a drink a few times before they are eaten.  Mine will have a few teaspoons of brandy each week for three weeks.  I will make holes with a fine skewer in the top of the cake to help things along.

And the bonus - the house smells wonderful!


6 comments:

  1. I love xmas cake with all the dried fruit and spices, yours sounds lovely!

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  2. Sounds delicious, I am a great fan of Christmas cake there is something about it that makes me want more and more...

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  3. That recipe sounds almost the same as the one I use. Not made one this year though as last year I 'fed' a bit excessively and our digestive systems rebelled!

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  4. Sometimes I make fruitcake as gifts for Christmas and it always leaves my house a little tipsy as it is doused with apricot brandy! Smells glorious!

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  5. I'd love a taste! The smells are almost better than the eating, aren't they?

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  6. There is no house fragrance on the market that can compete with the smell of a rich fruit cake straight out of the oven!

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