Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Cake recipe

My cake has come out nice, looks good enough to eat! Here is the recipe I used:


8 oz currants
8 oz sultanas (golden raisins)
4 oz raisins
2 oz of mixed cranberries, raisins, etc (from Trader Joe's) to add some variety, or you can just increase the quantity of one of the 3 dried fruits above instead
4 oz glace cherries, chopped in half
Grated rind of 1 lemon
Grated rind of 1 orange
3 tablespoons of whisky, brandy, rum or sherry (I used brandy)
5 eggs - room temperature
2 sticks butter - room temperature
1 cup soft brown sugar (or caster sugar)
1 cup of self raising flour
1 cup of plain flour
Half a cup ground almonds (I used blanched almonds chopped up small in a blender)
2 teaspoons of mixed spice
1 tablespoon golden syrup or corn syrup
Optional 2oz walnuts or blanched almonds chopped.

Prepare the cake ingredients
The quantities in this fruit cake recipe must be baked in a deep round 8-9 inch tin or square 7-8 inch tin.

1. Before you mix up the cake, SOAK the dried fruit and the halved cherries in the alcohol for about 4-8 hours

2. Heat oven to 140 degrees Celsius or Gas mark 1 or 275 degrees Fahrenheit

3. Butter and double line your baking tin with greaseproof/baking parchment paper.

4. Place the tin ready on a flat pizza or other baking sheet – this helps in removing it from the oven.

5. Chop the nuts if you are using them and lightly whisk eggs in a jug.

6. In a large bowl sift the flour with the mixed spice. Add the ground almonds and the chopped nuts to that bowl.

Mix the Cake
In another very large mixing bowl cream the room temperature butter with the sugar. Next add the lightly beaten eggs teaspoon by teaspoon to the sugar and butter, beating well to mix them in between additions. If you add too much egg too soon and it curdles, just add a tablespoon of flour and mix in.

Now add the golden/corn syrup. Dip a tablespoon into piping hot boiling water and remove the spoon of syrup from the tin, drop it onto the cake mix and stir it in.

Next fold in the spiced flour and ground almonds and nuts. Add all the soaked dried fruit. Stir it all together until mixed well

Spoon the Christmas cake mixture into the tin and smooth the top absolutely flat with a spatula. This cake should not rise in the middle, but be flat.

Drop the tin from about 10 inches in the air onto the floor to make sure it has no air bubbles. Replace it onto the pizza support tray

Bake the cake

Bake for 3 hours. A piece of greaseproof paper with a 1 inch circle cut from the middle placed over the top of cake will help retain moisture and prevent too much crusting. It is done when a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin. The next day remove the paper wrap. You can either eat the fruit cake immediately as it is or "feed" the cake for a month until a few days before you are ready to decorate. To feed the cake, make some skewer holes on the underside. Pour over 2 tablespoons of alcohol (sherry, brandy, port, whiskey etc). Do this about every 5 days. Each time wrap the cake in double greaseproof paper and then aluminum foil and store in a plastic container.

Decorate the cake
For a traditional finish cover with almond paste/marzipan and icing or fondant. Or instead use a simple glazed topping of crystallised fruits or nuts and encase in large ribbon band. Alternatively, decorate the cake with glace fruits and an apricot jam glaze made from heating 3 tablespoons of apricot jam with 2 tablespoons of brandy or sherry. You could also use a quality selection of various nuts such as brazil nuts, pecans, almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts in rows or circles.

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