Holidays are coming; Christmas Cake!
Monty the penguin, Red Cups, Coca-cola trucks, Selfridge’s sparkly window displays and Oxford Street festooned in strings of Christmas lights already. Christmas is well and truly galloping towards us at a horrendous pace.
I love this time of year; I may whinge about the dark mornings and the fact it looks as though it’s about midnight when I leave my office but I adore the frosty nip in the air and the fact I get to pile on jumpers and hats and scarves like a lunatic really does make me incredibly happy.
I know a lot of people bawk at getting too Christmassy too early, however, if you haven’t already taken care of it there is one thing that – even if you’re not allowed to put on Love Actually until December – you can definitely do. In fact it’s imperative you do…
You have to make your Christmas cake!
Now, I’m not the biggest fan of eating said cake but I do love making it. I love the smells that fill the house, I love the big fat, brandy-soaked cranberries and raisins and I love feeding it up with regular doses of alcohol until Christmas eve when it’s wrapped up in apricot jam and marzipan and slathered with icing.
Now, I have a confession to make; I made mine a few weeks back because I’m super keen but I think if you get cracking this weekend you’ll definitely have more than enough time to create a decadently spiced and boozy cake.
1kg mixed dried fruit (I used 500g currants, 200g cranberries, 100g apricots, 100g mixed peel and 100g chopped glacé cherries)
225g plain flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
Rind and juice of 1 orange
Rind and juice of 1 lemon
225g dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 tbsp treacle
Pre-soak your fruit in 100ml of brandy the night before you’re going to bake this; it makes it all plump and shiny and extra tasty.
Pre-heat the oven to 140.
Sift flour, spices and salt into a large bowl.
Pop your treacle, butter and sugar into a bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until all melted together. Beat your eggs and stir into the treacle, butter and sugar.
Pour all your liquidy ingredients in with the flour and spices and combine. Then stir in your fruit, the remaining brandy, orange and lemon juice and rind.
Pour into a deep, round 8” pan lined with grease proof paper. You want the paper really nice and high out of the pan so that you’re able to create a sort of parcel, leaving only a little hole in it when you’re baking.
You’re going to slowly bake for 4 hours. Allow to cool and wrap tightly in greaseproof paper and cling film, unwrapping every 1-2 weeks to feed it up with a tbsp of brandy.