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Monday, 9 November 2009

Christmas Cake

This recipe makes a cake about 8 inches in diameter.

You will need additional brandy for dripping in the cake between now and Xmas !

It's important that you make the cake now - at least a month before it's required, as the flavours need to mature and blend.... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Christmas Cake Recipe

2 lbs mixed Dried Fruit (sultanas, raisins, currants etc)
2 ozs sliced Almonds
2 ozs finely chopped Walnuts
4 ozs Glacé Cherries (candied) (cut in halves)
4 ozs chopped Mixed Peel (candied)
2 teaspoons mixed spice
8 ozs Plain Flour (all purpose)
8 ozs Butter (soft)
8 ozs soft dark brown Sugar
Pinch of Salt
1 tablespoon Black Treacle (molasses)
Rind of 1 Orange (finely grated)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
4 large Eggs
1/4 pint of Brandy

1. Put the sifted flour and mixed spice in a mixing bowl.

2. In another bowl put the dried fruit, almond slices, chopped walnuts, cherry halves, and mixed peel. Mix it all up. Add 1 tablespoon of the flour from the first bowl and mix it in well to cover all the fruit etc.

3. In a third large bowl cream the butter and soft brown sugar until it is all light and fluffy.

4. Add the black treacle, orange rind and vanilla extract to the 3rd bowl with the butter and sugar. Mix it all well, in fact you can beat it.

5. Still using the 3rd bowl, add the eggs one at a time, each time adding a little of the flour from the 1st bowl to stop it curdling. Beat it well after each egg is added.

6. Add the fruit and remaining flour gently to the 3rd bowl, folding it in, adding 3 tablespoons of the brandy at the same time.

7. Mix it all well.

8. Use an 8 inch diameter round tin, or a 7 inch square tin. Use a loosed based baking tin if at all possible. Line it with 3 layers of greaseproof paper (sides and bottom) and leave 2 inches of paper above the tin all round.

9. VERY IMPORTANT - Around the outside of the tin tie a thick band of folded newspaper or brown paper. Tie this securely with string.

10. Put the cake mixture into the prepared tin. Smooth the surface down well, nice and flat, and then make a bit of a slight hollow in the middle.

The cake is now ready for baking. You can leave it like this overnight if you don't have time to bake it the same day.

11. Heat the oven to 160c (325f or Gas 3).

12. Place the cake in the centre of the oven and cook for about 1.5 hours, or until it is just starting to brown.

13. Reduce the heat to 150c (300f or Gas 2) and cook for another 3 hours or until cooked.

14. Protect the top of the cake from burning or over browning by covering it with tin foil or brown paper when appropriate (not before).

15. When it is cooked, the top will feel springy and when you poke a thin skewer all the way in it will come out clean.

16. Leave the cake until totally cold before removing all the papers and turning out of the tin.

17. Turn the cake upside down. Using a skewer, poke holes in the bottom of the cake. Pour the remaining brandy into the holes and let it soak in.

18. When it is soaked in, wrap the cake in greaseproof paper and then a layer of tin foil. Store in an airtight container.

19. Each week, unwrap it, make a few more hole in the top and bottom (alternate weeks) and pour in more brandy.

20. If you wish to almond paste and ice the cake, you don't do this until 2 weeks before Christmas.

Almond paste and icing will be in a later post.

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