Christmas usually means spending more time in the kitchen. It is the time where we prepare the traditional feast and bring out our recipe books to try out new dishes. It also means giving a lot of goodies and baked stuff – and sums up to frequent baking. Ever year, I bake my traditional
Christmas cake and it entails a lot of picky details to be able to finish a perfect and delectable treat. Normally, Christmas cake should be prepared well ahead of time to set out its moistness and flavor. I usually procrastinate and bake it a week just before Christmas. However, this year
I am determined to do it the right way. So yesterday the kitchen gave off a gentle spicy whiff as the cake was slowly cooked for four and a half hours. Just one hint of its aroma is enough to conjure Christmas up.
Just before Christmas I habitually take out the unfailing old Delia Smith cook book to look into the cake recipe and the quantities needed for the marzipan. Her recipes almost always work and are perfect, if not always inspired. Now she has long been replaced by the younger, and sexier Nigella. However, her books are still at the back part of my shelf, where I can easily locate and grab should I need to check on details of some dishes. In this article, I will share my traditional fruit cake recipe which I usually prepare for Christmas.
Delectable Fruit Cake Recipe
450 grams or 1 pound of currants
175 grams or 6 ounce of sultanas
175 grams or 6 ounce of raisins
50 grams or 2 ounce of glazed cherries (optional)
50 grams or 2 ounce of mixed candied peel – chopped
3 tablespoons of brandy
225 grams or 8 ounce of plain flour
½ teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon of grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon of mixed spice
225 grams or 8 ounce of unsalted butter
225 grams or 8ounce of soft brown sugar
4 pieces of large eggs
50 grams or 2 ounce of chopped almonds
1 dessertspoon of treacle
1 grated rind of lemon
1 grated rind of orange
The night before you plant to make the cake, marinate all the dried fruit and peel with brandy. Place it in a covered bowl and put it aside over night or for at least twelve hours.
Grease and line a 20 centimeter or an 8 inch round cake tin or an 18 centimeter or a 7 inch square one.
Sift the flour, salt, and spices altogether. Cream the butter and sugar altogether in a large mixing bowl until it is light and fluffy (make sure to do this thoroughly). Beat the eggs and add them gradually to the creamed mixture, making sure to beat well each time. Next, gently fold in the flour and spices. Add and stir in the dried fruit and peel, treacle and the grated lemon and orange rind. Pour the mixture into the cake tin, spreading it out evenly. Tie a band of brown paper around the outside part of the tin and cover its top with a double layer of greaseproof paper with a hole cut in the middle of it. Bake the cake at 140oC/275oF for 4 ¼ to 4 ¾ hours. Never open the oven door to test until at least 4 hours have passed. Once the cake is baked, set it aside to cool. Once it has cooled wrap it in a layer of greaseproof paper then foil. Delia Smith suggests adding it with brandy once every week by poking a couple of holes with a skewer then letting few teaspoons of brandy infuse in.
The cake should now be well-wrapped in greaseproof paper and foil and kept on a shelf in the store cupboard. A week before Christmas I usually make the marzipan to go with it. I’ll be sure to get a lot of help with it, as the children compete to collect up any scraps that fall off or are trimmed.