You may be thinking in awe, what ? Six Christmas cakes ?? But actually Christmas cake is really easy to make, you just need to know a few tricks of the trade. I went on a year long cake decorating course which I thoroughly enjoyed, and of course the first project was Christmas cake decorating and baking. So, here goes...
This is my tried and tested Christmas Cake recipe taken from a book called 'The Cook's Encyclopedia of Christmas' by Martha Day. (Just reading that title tells me that it's my kind of book). My mom bought me the book a couple of years ago and the recipe makes for a nice tasting Christmas cake.
Here's how it goes:
115g dried, chopped prunes
50g glace cherries
50g chopped, mixed peel
45ml brandy, sherry or whiskey
225g plain flour
half tsp cinnamon
half tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp cocoa powder
grated rind of an orange or lemon
225g soft brown sugar
4 large eggs
50g ground almonds
50g chopped almonds
1. The night before you want to make the cake - presoak the dried fruit in whichever alcohol you are using.
I guess I never really realised just how important soaking dried fruit in some form of liquid is, until I first tried it in a banana loaf cake. Soaking the fruit makes so much difference it's like eating a different cake. So, put all of the dried fruit mentioned above, cherries and prunes included into a huge bowl, pour the alcohol over and preferably leave over night. I also cover my bowl with clingfilm so the alcoholic vapour is not lost. :o)
NOTE: If you don't like cherries/mixed peel/raisins, then remember the above is a guide only. As long as you use the correct weight of dried fruits, then you can substitute any for your favourites. For example, Biscuit Boy adores cherries so I will often use triple the amount of cherries and half the amount of raisins, and no mixed peel, but more sultanas.. You get the idea...
Preheat the oven to 160 deg/325F or gas 3.
2. This makes enough for an 8inch round cake, so you need to grease and line that. Although I use a 7in square tin and this quantity does fine for that too. Don't forget to make the lining in the tin nice and tall, this prevents the corners of the cake browning too quickly and becoming dry.
3. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl - flour, cocoa, salt and spices. In a different bowl whisk the (softened) butter and sugar together until light and fluffy and then add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
4. Next, add the orange or lemon rind to the sugar.butter/eggs mixture, then add the ground almonds, chopped almonds, flour mixture and fruits (basically all the rest of the ingredients above !)
6. Put in the oven and bake for 3 hours, do a skewer test to ensure the cake is cooked. eg if there is raw cake on the skewer that you dip in, then you need to cook it for longer. If the top of the cake is looking done, but the middle isn't you can cover the cake either with tin foil or cake liner to remove some of the direct heat from the top of the cake.
Here is the cooked cake:
As I am going to be decorating these cakes in the next few days I will do a Christmas Cake decorating masterclass which should be fun as I still have all of the bits and pieces from the course. Edible gold anyone ?? Come on, it is Christmas !!!
Let me be the first to say it, and not even in December ..
Merry Christmas !!!!!