Monday, 5 December 2011

Make a Christmas Cake

Everything's ready it's time to bake a most spectacular Christmas cake
Currants, raisins, sugar and spice will make it ever so nice
Cherries and nuts and almond paste,
These will give it a Christmas taste,
Everyone in the family must stir it twice!

A simple song I learned when I did my teaching practice several years ago and I always remember it when we make ours.  Boy and I have done this together for the last three years, since he was 2 years old.  I use a recipe which is a slight adaptation of Delia Smith's Rich Fruit Cake recipe from her excellent book 'Complete Cookery Course.'  Here's the recipe:

800g mixed dried fruit and peel
50g glace cherries (rinsed and chopped)
3 tablespoons brandy (optional - you can use cold tea if you prefer)
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp mixed spice
225g butter
225g soft brown sugar
4 large eggs
50g chopped almonds
1 dessert spoon black treacle
grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon

The day before, weigh out all the fruit and mix in the brandy.  Allow to soak overnight.  Grease and line an 20cm round cake tin.
Cream the butter and sugar by beating together until light and fluffy.
Then add the eggs one at a time and beat into the mixture well.
Then once all the eggs have been added you can fold in the flour, salt and spices a few spoonfuls at a time.
Then you can add all the remaining ingredients and mix gently.  Then spoon into the tin.
You will need to protect the cake with a strip of brown paper or newspaper round the outside of the tin and then some paper over the top with a small hole to allow steam to escape.
Bake in the oven at 140 degrees/Gas 1 for between 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours until the cake is a deep brown colour and is cooked through.
Once it is cooler you can take it out of the tin and let it cool completely.  Then wrap it in layers of greaseproof paper and tin foil and put it in the cupboard for a few weeks to mature before you decorate it.  Another post in a couple of week to show you how we decorate ours.

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