I thought that some people might be interested in my Christmas cake recipe.....
It is from Family Circle magazine (now no longer published) and I first made it in December 2000, so it has been around a while!
This makes one 8" round cake.
On Day One, I mix together:
8oz raisins, 7oz sultanas, 7oz currants, 6oz no-soak dried apricots, 2oz glace cherries, 2oz chopped mixed nuts, 2oz chopped mixed peel, 7tbsp brandy and 6tbsp orange juice.
This is mixed together and covered, and then frequently stirred again throughout the next 24 hours, so we are now onto Day Three - Day Two is spent stirring and enjoying the aromas!
Day Three - grease and line the tin. Preheat the oven to 150C/GM2.
Cream 8oz softened butter with 8oz dark brown sugar. Gradually add in 4 beaten eggs, each with a little flour. Total flour to be added is 8oz so use a little at a time and then add whatever is left with the spices: 1tsp cinnamon, half a tsp ground allspice, half a tsp ground ginger and quarter tsp grated nutmeg (fresh if possible). At this point, I also add in the grated zest of a lemon and an orange.
Once the basic mixture is together, the fruit can be very gently folded into it.
Then I put the mixture into the tin for baking, levelling it off and making a small dip in the middle. It needs to cook for about 3 hours - it may take a little longer but no more than 3 hours and 15 minutes. When a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean, it is done. If it is getting too darkly coloured, I just pop a double layer of greaseproof paper over the top to shield it a little.
Leave it in the tin until it is completely cold - I leave it to the next day. Then take it out of the tin and take off all the greaseproof paper wrappings. Re-wrap in fresh paper and then some foil as well, and store in a tin in a cool place until we need to marzipan/decorate them.
In addition to the brandy we used to soak the fruit, I also make fork holes in the base of the cake and pour a capful of brandy over it, probably three times between now and when I will put the marzipan on.
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