LOOKING FOR SOMETHING to do this week? Why not make your own Christmas cake? After this weekend you will not have long enough to feed it!
This is the cake I have made for years and is fool proof as well as being the best tasting Christmas cake I make, despite me being swayed to try something different now and again. I have made it again for this year and it is now wrapped up and being fed two tablespoons of brandy twice a week up until I marzipan it before Christmas.
1lb of currants
6ozs of sultanas (I use yellow sultanas)
4ozs of raisins
2ozs of chopped prunes
2ozs of glacé cherries finely chopped
2ozs of chopped candied peel
3 tablespoons of brandy
8oz of plain flour
Small teaspoon of salt
Small teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
Small teaspoon of mixed spice
Half teaspoon of all spice
8ozs of unsalted butter
8 ozs of soft brown sugar
4 eggs, size 1 , beaten in a bowl
2ozs of chopped almonds
1 dessert spoon of black treacle
Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
Grease an 8inch round (or 7inch square) tin with butter and line the inside with greaseproof paper. Tie a band of brown paper round the outside of the tin with real string - not plastic twine!
The night before you want to bake it put all the fruit in a large bowl and stir in the brandy. Cover with a cloth and leave for 10 to 12 hours.
Heat the oven to gas mark 1 (140c)
Sift the flour, salt and spices into a large bowl. In a separate large bowl whisk the butter and sugar together until it's light and fluffy. Add the eggs a little at a time until incorporated. Then add the flour and spices mixture. Now fold in the fruit and peel that has soaked overnight, chopped nuts and treacle and last the grated lemon and orange zests.
Transfer the mixture to your tin using a spoon to press down evenly.
Put a double layer of greaseproof paper, with a hole in the middle, over the top of the mixture and place at the back in the bottom shelf of your oven for at least 4 hours.
Cool the cake for 30 minutes then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.
Wrap in greaseproof paper and foil to store in a dry place. Take out and feed with brandy now and then for the next couple of weeks.
Then before Christmas cover in marzipan and after that the Royal Icing - those recipes to follow in November after the cake has been fed the brandy.