Sunday 22 December 2013

Christmas Cake at last

After what seems like days of running around I finally made the time to make us a Christmas Cake. There would have been a mutiny at our house if we didn't get a cake this year. We have the man of the house's brother from the UK staying for Christmas: I've learnt all sorts of things I didn't know about cricket, drunk more tea in a week than previously consumed in a year, and of course there is nothing closer to an Englishman's heart than a good fruit cake. Also a decent Christmas mince pie - but that's my next blog!

I've been making this Christmas cake for at least the last 20 years; which makes me feel rather old. This year I departed a little from tradition by soaking the fruit in brandy overnight before I made the cake. This recipe makes a 23cm cake.

Prudence's Christmas Cake

200g dried cranberries
300g red glace cherries
150g green glace cherries
150g glace ginger
75g mixed peel
250g raisins
500g sultanas
3/4 cup brandy

Weigh up the fruit and toss over the brandy. Give it a bit of a stir and glad wrap the bowl. Leave overnight to soak in.

250g butter
250g brown sugar
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons each ground cinnamon and mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

The next day make the cake. Line a silicone cake tin with some baking paper and preheat the oven to 170 deg. C. If you don't have a silicone mould you will need to line your metal cake tin with layers of thick cardboard to protect the cake from burning.

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

Sift the flour, baking powder and spices together. Fold into the creamed mixture. 

Making sure your bowl is big enough to fit the whole mixture in, add the fruit to the cake batter, half at a time. Gently fold together. 

Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and smooth out the top. 

Place the cake mould onto a thick layer of newspaper on a tray and into the oven to bake for about 2 hours. The newspaper stops the bottom of the cake from burning. 

The cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. If the top starts to get too dark cover it with a piece of cooking foil for the remainder of the cooking time.

Leave the cake to cool in the silicone mould. Once cold turn out onto a board. We've given up icing our cake: I'm happy to save those calories for something else.

My  grandmothers would have had their cakes made at the end of November. Ours has come in better late than never.  

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