So I finally made a choice on my Christmas cake, I decided that as I trust her on all things from Roast Chicken to Poached Eggs; Felicity Cloake was the woman for me and I decided to try out her PERFECT Christmas Cake this year! I have tried the classic Delia, because if it is one thing Delia can be relied upon it is knowing how to make the classics well. She is the Yoda in matters of stawart English classics, but this year I thought I’d give a new recipe a try, just to see what my Nan made of it! (You’ve got to take your Christmas fun where you can get it after all)! Haha! 😛
I used double the recipe below and made one 6 inch square tin cake for my Nan and then I one huge vat of Christmas cake in large oblong tray which I have previously used for my kitchen’s largest ever chocolate brownie! It is about 20 x 30 cm, approximately. I did though ensure that I double lined the tins with baking parchment and dosed liberally with Apricot Brandy (my Christmas booze of choice for cakes and puddings). I will continue to feed said cakes with the brandy about every 2 weeks until I ice them, though I do still need to read Nigel Slaters instructions as per below which might say something wonderfully inspiring and innovative about this subject. Who knows?
According to Felicity; a Christmas cake should be rich and spicy; bursting with boozy fruit but never, ever heavy. After all, you need to leave room for a mince pie.
100g dried figs, roughly chopped
100g glacé cherries, cut in half
100g mixed peel
125ml whisky, plus extra to feed
125g butter, softened
125g muscovado sugar
4 eggs, beaten
130g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
50g ground almonds
Grated zest of 1 lemon
50g whole almonds
25g crystallised ginger, chopped
1. Put the dried fruit and peel in a bowl along with the whisky, cover and leave to soak overnight. Stir well before use. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin with 2 layers of baking parchment.
2. Preheat the oven to 140C. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition so the mixture doesn’t curdle.
3. Mix together the sifted flour, baking powder, spice, ground almonds and a pinch of salt and then fold this into the butter and sugar mixture. Add the soaked fruits, and any remaining whisky, the lemon zest, chopped almonds and ginger, and stir to combine.
4. Tip the mixture into your prepared tin and smooth the surface, scooping out a small hollow in the middle to prevent a doming effect.
5. Put the cake in the oven for about an hour, then cover with foil, and bake for another 30 minutes and then check the cake. It’s done when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean – check every 10 minutes until it’s cooked.
6. Leave to cool in the tin then use the skewer to poke a few holes almost all the way through the cake, and brush them with more whisky. With the baking parchment still attached, wrap well in greaseproof paper and store in an airtight tin or a layer of foil, repeating the feeding every week or so until you’re ready to ice just before Christmas. (I’d recommend Nigel Slater’s instructions on these matters.)