That is my Christmas cake, and so far she weighs in at a whopping 1.7kg. That’s the same as a small pig. And, much like a small pig she is very, very thirsty. Not for piggy milk though, for BRANDY. On the first day of December i made this cake, and i will NOT slice into her until the 25th. I have made a pact with myself. I shall resist until then, even if i have to make and eat a whole other Christmas cake to satisfy the craving (this is perfectly feasible and quite probable). So now, she sits dormant in her tin, laden, loaded, plump, bursting with brandy-soaked fruit. And i feed her. Every other day, she, much like fellow deceased heavyweight Winston Churchill, has a large swig of brandy. She smells out of this world. And she will go on drinking until the 25th. I bought a cheap bottle of brandy specifically to feed her, and i will do so until it is finished. This is the way to make a celebratory fruit cake. Cakes like this can last for years, decades even. One slice and you’re drunk. But oh dear sweet Father Christmas is it worth it.
Here’s how to create your own:
The Night Before
in about 200ml of brandy.
The Next Day:
175g plain flour
50g ground almonds
1/4 tsp nutmeg (grated)
1/2tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp salt
and put aside in a bowl
Add 50g glace cherries and 50g mixed peel to your soaked fruit, along with a spoonful of black tyreacle (melted quickly in the microwave)
Grate the zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange and add to the fruit mix
Cream 225g soft brown sugar with 225g butter in a magimix (or by hand…), then graudally beat in 4 eggs. Fold in the dry ingredients (listed above) Then add all of the fruit to this mixture and stir gently.
At this point you can add any additionals you think necessary/nice, such as chopped or whole almonds, prunes, dates, figs etc. I like my cake traditional.
Pour the mixture into a greased and lined cake tin and bake at 140 for about 3 hours, depending on the heat of your oven. Keep an eye on it and check regularly with a skewer. There is no danger of this cake sinking because it has no raising agent in it anyway-so you can fiddle and prod as much as you like.
When cooked remove from the oven and cool completely. Keep in a tin and feed the cake a drizzle of brandy every few days until Christmas. I cant wait…..
A Few Extra Thoughts on Christmas Cake….
In her quite useful food blog on the Guardian website, Felicity Cloake has a “perfect” Christmas cake recipe. This recipe strives for a “light and moist” sort of cake, with lots of nuts in, that will leave you with “room for a mince pie”. This is the antithesis of my sort of cake; mine will be so dense, heavy, fruity and boozy that you will never ever want to eat a mince pie again, or anything for that matter. Until you wake up on Boxing Day and realise that you need another slice for breakfast. Then you’ll feel woozy all day, probably accomplish nothing, mooch about feeling full until tea time, when you’ll realise all you want to eat is another slice. And so on…..
Last year Edmund (my extremely tolerant boyfriend and semi-willing culinary guinea pig) was still eating my cake at Easter. And still enjoying it. So for those of you who like a light and moist number, i can recommend Felicity’s recipe. For those of you who, like me, want to get their brandy’s worth from a Christmas Cake, i can recommend mine. Happy Making!