Its a myth that you have to make a Christmas cake months in advance.
There. I said it. Its out there ha ha.
I can hear chef's and professional foodies shuddering but its the truth to me. I have made this cake hundreds of times and I truly cant tell the difference if it's been made months or days ago - I have made it 3 days before it was needed, for a friend and it was still delicious.
So fear not if you haven't made yours I just did mine yesterday.
Lets do this.
Part 1 - The Fruit
This makes a 9 inch round or an 8 inch Square cake.
You need to soak the fruit first so its nice and juicy...let's not lie boozy ha ha! You can do it for a minimum of 3hrs but I find it much better to do it the day before and let it soak up all the liquid.
Clean Tee Towel
900g Mixed dried fruit.
200g Glace Cherrys chopped
100g Chopped dried Apricot
4tbsp Dark Rum
100ml Orange Juice
Place in the bowl, add all the liquid and give a good stir
to make sure its all coated.
Cover with the tee towel and leave for at
least 3hrs or ideally overnight.
Part 2 - Line the tin.
A 9inch Round or 8inch square Cake Tin
Grease Proof Paper
A large piece of Brown Paper folded (enough to wrap round the tin)
Line your Tin first so its ready to go. Really important for a great cake. First Grease the inside.
Draw around the tin with a pencil and cut out 2 circles.
Wrap the paper roll around the tin to make sure it goes all around and cut the piece off. Then fold it in half lengthways and on the open side make another 1 inch fold. Use scissors to make cuts in to it so you end up with a fringe.
Place one circle in the base.
Then line the inside of the tin with the large piece fringe edge down.
Place the last circle on top overlapping the cuts. Lightly grease inside.
Part 3: - Make the Cake.
LARGE Bowl - Big as you've got.
275g Soft Dark Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Treacle
350g Plain Flour
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Mixed Spice
Preheat oven 160C
1. Sift the flour, spices and salt together set a side in bowl. Weight out the butter and sugar.
2. Beat the Sugar and Butter together until paler.
3. Add the Treacle.
3. Crack all the eggs into a jug and give a quick whisk, it saves doing it all one by one and you can fish out any naughty escaped shell.
4. Alternate beating in Flour and Egg in batch's until all well mixed.
5. Using a wooden spoon - Get your guns ready- Mix in all the soaked fruit including any left over liquid
6. Spoon into your prepped tin. Wrap your brown paper around and tie in place tightly with string.
Bake for 1.5hrs.
Reduce heat to 150c and cook for another 2hrs. If the cake starts to brown on the top too quickly I just put the left over butter wrapper on top.
Push a skewer into the middle of the cake and if it comes out clean its cooked, remove from the oven to cool. If not cook for a little longer until the skewer comes out clean.
Leave in the tin to cool in the tin. If it the end of the day I just leave it over night on the bench.
When completely cooled remove the tin but leave the grease proof on. Place on long bit of tinfoil and wrap tightly up and repeat the other way with another piece of tinfoil. Then put in a cool dry place until needed.
I wont be covering mine with marzipan and icing until about the 22nd December, as we eat ours over Christmas and I don't want to do it too early. Although you can ice weeks in advance. I guess the thing about my Christmas cake is I like it fresh, a softer cake and fondant icing, I'm not a fan of the drier or 'mature' style. Horses for courses though and the latter is nicer with cheese.
Feed the cake.
This is a real thing. from when you make it to when you ice it you will need to feed with alcohol, like brandy or my choice rum. just prod a few holes in and with a tsp drizzle rum into the holes every 3-5 days. It will make it delicious, moist and boozy. Just don't over do...god forbid a soggy bottom!
So stay tuned for icing closer to Christmas.
You will need 1kg of marzipan and at least 1kg of Fondant, I
usually buy 1.5kg to have some extra for decorating.
Top pic photo credit Bakingmad.com
I think this is so cute and I did something very similar last year as its quite simple decoration for anyone.
Notes on my recipe.
I made up my recipe from a mixture of my own tastes, its a cross between a Dark and Light fruit cake.
No nuts- You can of course add them, I love nuts....wait, that sounds weird ha ha but my point is so many people are allergic now I just leave them out. Some chopped walnuts or almonds could be added with the fruit if you wish.
Mixed peel - I hate mixed peel, you don't eat an orange whole so don't know why this is a thing so I put the minimum amount. I'd rather add Sultanas, Cherry's and Apricots because they make the cake much more moist and yummy in my opinion.