Sunday, 25 December 2011

Christmas Fruit Cake


I hope that everyone is having a wonderful day wherever in the world you are or whatever you are doing today. I am sure that a lot of people are feeling as stuffed as their turkey by now but I guess the diet can start tomorrow; for today tough the food gorging is the way ahead.

If you have ever had Christmas cake you'll understand what I mean when I say it's rich, dense and sweet. It's something that you wouldn't have everyday but would indulge in during the festive period. The cake uses an extensive list of ingredients but don't be put off by the length as it's quite a simple process; you just mix everything together and bake. I made this cake pretty last minute, but if you had time and wanted to make it several days before you want to eat it you could feed the cake with brandy to add extra moistness and a depth of flavour. Also you don't have to cover it in marzipan and icing if you don't want to, as it looks rather pretty when it is bare.

I had a bit of a minor error with this cake, in other words I burnt it a little. Most recipes say to leave the cake in the oven for 3 hrs so I took their word. I realised after it was too late that this is way too long. I guess it depends on your oven but make sure you check if it is done after 2 hrs (try not to open the oven door too many times before this).

Preparation time: 4hrs
Serves: At least 6 (very large portions)


225g plain flour
200g butter
4 beaten eggs
200g dark brown sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/2 tsp rum flavouring
2 tbsp black treacle
500g mixed dried fruit
200g mixed peel chopped
75g glace cherries chopped
75g cranberries chopped
50g mixed nuts chopped
200g marzipan
200g white ready made (sugar paste) icing
2 tbsp apricot jam 
optional: brandy 

1. Preheat the oven to 150C.

2. Grease a 8" circular cake tin, and line with baking parchment.

3. Mix together all the dry ingredients: dried fruit/ currants, flour, ground spices, salt.

4. Cream the butter with the sugar. Mix in the vanilla essence, rum flavouring and black treacle. Then add the beaten egg a little at a time alternating with adding the flour mixture a little at a time.

5. Pour the mixture into the baking tin. Then make sure that there are no air spaces in the mixture, and flatten the top with the back of a spoon. Make a small well in the middle of the mixture as this will rise once in the oven.

6. Bake for around 2 hrs, the cake may need longer in the oven; check if it is ready by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cake and if it comes out clean it's done.

7. Once done, remove from the oven and let the cake cool for 1 hr before removing it from the tin.

8. At this point you may want to soak the cake in brandy; pierce holes on the top of the cake using a skewer and pour around 3-4 tbsp of brandy on top, you can pour a few tablespoons of brandy over the cake every week before you are wanting to eat it. Store the cake in an airtight container wrapped in foil.

9. If you want to cover the cake in icing, first make the cake completely flat so cut of the top of the cake if risen. If you find that the cake is slightly burnt on the outside, just cut it of making sure that cake is flat and neat as possible. Place the cake onto a cake board or plate.

10. First heat the apricot jam on the hob or in the microwave till runny. Then spread a layer of jam over the cake using a pastry brush.

11. Now dust the work surface with icing sugar. Work the marzipan till it is soft. Then roll it out till it is around 3mm thick and big enough to cover the top and sides of the cake.

12. Drape the marzipan over the cake and smooth over from the middle outwards. Cut off any excess marzipan from the sides using a knife.

13. Now wet the marzipan with water (not too much) using your fingers or a brush; this is so that the white icing will stick.

14. Roll out the white icing the same way, shape and size. Trim off any excess icing.

15. Drape the white icing over the cake and smooth over from the centre outwards. Trim off any excess.

16. Now make the decoration using any left over white icing. You can colour the icing by either kneading in the food colouring into the icing or by painting it on after you have moulded the shapes.Make sure that you dab the cake with water before you place the decoration onto the cake so that it sticks better.

 17. Add any finishing touches such as ribbon and eat.

This recipe was adapted from BBC Food. 

A post from Fullest of Life

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