Hello everyone! Seasons Greetings to all.
Making Christmas sweets is a family tradition and Christmas Cake is a big part of it. Earlier in the week, Phil's dad, the very talented Chef Eric had prepared most of the goodies. He was helped at a few stages by his niece Sabrina and by me. This year Phil and I decided to make the Christmas Cake. You should know now that I've never made a fruit cake before, yea I've baked lots of cakes but, they were relatively simple chocolate or pineapple or brownies. Nevertheless, I was extremely excited to make the cake. Mainly because the fruits would be soaked in rum or sherry and after baking the various juices of the fruits and of the spices added, along with the alcohol feels like heaven in your mouth!
Ok before this gets too long, I'll start with the recipe.
This is the recipe for the Rich Fruit Christmas Cake. There is also an option for making the Economical Fruit Cake. The recipe for both remains the same, the only difference being, that the quantities of the fruits added in the Economical is roughly half of the one in the Rich Fruit cake.
- 225g/8oz seedless raisins
- 225g/8oz currants
- 225g/8oz sultanas
- 100g/4oz chopped mixed peel (this is the tutty-fruity that is available in the market)
- 50g/2oz almonds/ cashew nuts, ground or finely chopped
- 50g/2oz glacé cherries, quartered, washed and dried
- grated rind of 1 lemon
- 225g/8oz butter
- 175g/6oz light or dark soft brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 225g/8oz plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- good pinch of ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons brandy, sherry or lemon juice. We used lemon juice.
- 3-4 tablespoon brandy (optional)
- Mix together the dried fruits, peel, almonds or cashew nuts, cherries and lemon rind.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time following each with a tablespoon of flour.
- Sift the remaining flour with salt and spices and fold into the creamed mixture followed by brandy, sherry or lemon juice. Add the fruit mixture and combine well.
- Turn into a greased and lined 20 cm/8 inch round or 18 cm/7 inch square cake tin, level the top, then make a slight hollow in the centre. Careful not to make it too deep as this doesn't rise much and you might end up with a deflated cake
- Wrap several thicknesses of brown paper or newspaper round the outside of the tin and bake in a pre-heated oven for 3 1/2 - 3 3/4 hours or until skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. If the cake mixture does not fit into one container and you have to use two, do not keep in the oven for the specified time. Instead check after 2 1/2 hours and keep back only if required.
Another way of knowing that your cake is done when, you can smell it.
- Cool in the tin, then turn out on to a wire rack. Store in a airtight container or wrapped in foil until required.
- If using extra brandy, pierce the cake all over with a fine skewer and drizzle 3-4 tablespoons brandy over it before storing. Instead of brandy, you can also use orange juice with rum. I suggest that you do this when the cake is considerably warm. If you wait till later then the cake might get too dry and crumbly.
Just then Chef Eric came to the rescue. He took the smaller cake which hadn't been cut and brushed on the juice and rum mixture. He then let it soak in and then put it in the microwave for 15 seconds with a break of 3-4 mins between each cycle. This heated up the cake and allowed the juices to soak in. After repeating this cycle 15-20 times, we had a perfect juicy yummy Christmas Cake!!!
The entire procedure was documented with pictures, so go see them.