QUICK CHRISTMAS CAKE? Afraid not…
When it comes to something as traditional as Christmas cake, short cuts aren’t recommended. The trick to preparing this ultra-moist Christmas cake is patience (a virtue, I hear). It must be made over two days (yes, you read right).
The first day will allow the fruit to become totally tipsy (and what would a Christmas cake be if not tipsy)! The second day will see to the actual baking. It’s worth the wait, so seeing as Christmas isn’t exactly sprung upon us every year without fair warning, plan ahead and try this two-day baking adventure…you won’t regret it!
DAY ONE INGREDIENTS
- 1 kg mixed cake fruit
- 1 cup (100g) slivered almonds
- 2¼ cups glace cherries, halved
- 1 cup (200g) crystallised pineapple (or figs, if you prefer), chopped
- 1 Tbsp (15ml) grated lemon rind
- ½ cup (125ml) honey, molasses or treacle
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 x 375 ml bottle or can of stout beer (you were expecting brandy here, weren’t you? Read on to the end, it’s there – don’t worry!)
Mix all the ingredients together, and leave at room temperature overnight to macerate.
DAY TWO INGREDIENTS
- 1½ cups (180g) cake flour
- 2 tsp (10ml) baking powder
- ½ tsp (2.5ml) salt
- 2 tsp (10ml) bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp (10ml) mixed spice
- 2 tsp (10ml) ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp (5ml) ground nutmeg
- 3 cups (750ml) soft, fresh, white breadcrumbs
- 1 cup (250g) butter, at room temperature
- 4 Tbsp (60ml) cornflour
- 1¼ cups brown sugar
- 4 jumbo eggs
- ½ cup brandy
- Preheat oven to 170°C (340°F). Grease a round or square pan (about 30cm diameter and at least 7cm deep) and line with greaseproof paper.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice, cinnamon and nutmeg twice. Add the breadcrumbs and toss gently. Cream the butter until light in colour. Mix the sugar and cornflour, adding to the butter in small batches. Cream very well after each addition. The mixture should become quite light and fluffy.
- Now add the eggs one at a time – the white and the yolk alternately. Continue to cream thoroughly after each addition. Once all the eggs have been added, add a third of the flour mixture and mix with a spatula. Add half the tipsy fruit and fold it in. Then add a third more flour, the rest of the fruit and end with the last of the flour. Blend it all in gently.
- Pour the mixture into the cake pan and bake for 1 hour. Then turn the heat down to 160°C (325°F), and continue baking for another 2 hours. Switch off the oven, open the door slightly, and allow the cake to cool in the oven. Once cool, pour the brandy over the cake.
- Remove the greaseproof paper, wrap the cake in foil and keep in an airtight container.
- It has a long shelf life – about 3 months. It also freezes really well, but try to finish it before next Christmas…