Monday, 29 November 2010

Christmas cake

I missed last Sunday - the stir-up Sunday, because I was still in Poland. I honestly doubt if I would have made traditional Christmas pudding, however I was really keen to make my own Christmas cake this year. There are hundreds of recipes in internet, cookery books and websites but I decided to use a recipe from "How to be a Domestic Goddess" by Nigella Lawson. I used the basic idea but I have changed the quantities of dried fruits. Click here , for the original recipe. I have made two cakes - one in round 20 cm tin and other in bread tin, based on the third column of quantities.

Today I am going to show baked cake that you have to store in airtight container and feed with brandy every 2-3 days. Traditionally it would be covered with some apricot jam, marzipan and icing just before Christmas, but I am not a big fan of icing so I think I will leave it on its own. Perhaps I will make some icing and decoration for one of them if I decide to give it away. Click here for the decoration ideas.

This cake goes amazingly well with some Real Wensleydale cheese.

500g raisins
600g sultanas
250g mixed peel
200g glace cherries
250g dried cranberries
5-6 pieces of stem ginger, chopped
200ml brandy (or sherry)
300g butter
250g brown sugar
zest of one orange
zest of one lemon
6 big eggs
3 tbsp orange marmalade (I used one with ginger by Tiptree)
500g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp salt
more brandy to feed the cake over next few weeks

Place all of the fruit in a large bowl and add the brandy. Leave to soak overnight.

Next day preheat the oven to 150C and line baking tin with brown paper.

Cream the butter and sugar, then beat in the orange and lemon zest. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one and then add the marmalade and almond extract.

Sift the dry ingredients together.

Then mix the fruit alternately with the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture.

Put the cake mix into the prepared tin and bake for about 2 hours.

When the cake is cooked, brush with a couple of tablespoons of extra brandy. Cover immediately in a tin foil – this will trap the heat and form steam, which in turn will keep the cake soft on top. Remove the cake from the tin when it is completety cold. Wrap in a paper, secure with some elastic and if needed and store in airtight container, for at least 3 weeks. Remember to feed it with some more brandy every 2-3 days.

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