OK, Im sorry to have disappeared off the radar for so long, on my next post tomorrow you will see why...
I finally got back to my fruit which had been quietly macerating for ooooo about a week in the bowl. It was plump and juicy and so ready to get baked.
I am making the assumption here that you have:
1. Read the previous post and had your fruit quietly soaking up its brandy for a day at least.
2. That you have gathered all the remaining ingredients you will need from the last post also.
To recap here is the full list of ingredients:
50g Glace Cherries
50g Mixed Peel
(I sometimes mix up the fruits - adding chopped dried Dates, Craisins, Figs etc as long as Currants form the base the remaining 400g can be made up of whatever you fancy.)
225g Plain GF Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Mixed Spice
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
225g Unsalted Butter
225g Soft Brown Sugar
4 large Eggs
1 Desertspoon Black Treacle
The grated zest of one Lemon
The grated zest of one Orange
50g Chopped almonds
Make sure you have a cake tin of approx 20x20cm if square or diameter if circular. Grease the tin and set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 140 Celsius / 275 Fahrenheit and measure out your dry ingredients and set aside.
- Measure your butter and brown sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat with your electric mixer until creamed, light and fluffy.
- Now add your eggs, one at a time beating all the time. The mix may curdle/split, but just keep beating it will be fine and the taste will be the same.
- Now fold in your weighed and measured dry ingredients (flour, salt, spices).
- At this point I like to add in the treacle and the grated zests of the orange and lemon and mix them thoroughly before the fruit is added.
- Now you are ready to fold through all the beautiful fruit and nuts if you want to add the almonds.
- Now transfer the mix to your greased and lined tin using the back of a spoon the smooth it evenly into the corners and ensure a nice smooth distribution in the tin.
- Now you need to add a top to the cake with a double square of baking/greaseproof paper with a small hole cut in the centre. This will protect the top of the cake while it bakes in the slow oven.
- Bake the cake on the lowest shelf in the oven for anywhere from 2-4 hours. Every oven is different. Mine bakes perfectly in 2 1/2 hours but other ovens may take up to 4. Always use a wooden skewer to check after 2 hours and keep a close eye on it.
- When the skewer is removed and the cake is cooked remove it from the oven and cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before removing it from the tin. If you remove it too early the cake will be too soft and may break in half.
- When completely cooled and all baking paper is removed, I drizzle over another 1/4 cup of brandy and then cling wrap and then foil wrap the cake completely and place in a cool cupboard until ready to decorate a day or so before Christmas.
Scarily enough I have been baking this exact Christmas cake for over 20 years now - man, just writing that makes me feel ancient! It never fails. It is dense, rich and moist just like any beautiful fruit cake should be. Enjoy with your families, share with your friends and most of all have a wonderful Christmas with it.
Closer to Christmas I shall put up a post for decorating your Christmas Cake with marzipan and rolled fondant and loads of wonderful decorating tips.