Friday, December 7, 2007

#15 Christmas Cake

This is the first time I've been able to add an entry whilst making a dish. Yes, it's time for (#15)Christmas Cake. The idea being I can top it up with brandy throughout December ready for scoffing on the big day (assuming I can wait that long!). It is baking as we speak. It's got all you would expect inside - dried fruit, glace cherries, treacle etc etc etc!!!! God bless Greg for giving me an oven thermometer as an early Xmas pressie. My oven is shite! It took an hour just to get it to the right temperature; I have to set it at 100 degrees to actually get the required temperature of 140! It has to bake for 3 1/2 hours so I'm practising a talk as I wait, and of course, updating the old blog. I can't say what it's like, of course. We shall simply have to wait!

To make the cake you first need a huge bowl. Into it, mix together:

1 ½ pounds of mixed dried fruit;
four ounces of blanched, slivered almonds;
four ounces of chopped peel;
four ounces of rinsed, quartered glacé cherries.

Now add the rest of the dry ingredients:

ten ounces of plain flour;
a teaspoon of cinnamon;
a teaspoon of grated nutmeg;
grated rind of a lemon.

Now cream 8 ounces each of lightly salted butter and soft brown sugar in a separate bowl, then mix in a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a tablespoon of black treacle. Beat in four eggs one by one until incorporated, and the mix in the fruit and the flour. For the final stage, dissolve half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in a tablespoon of warmed milk, stir it in, and then add enough brandy to slacken the mixture slightly, so that it is a ‘soft dropping consistency’.

Line an eight inch cake tin with greaseproof paper and pour the mixture in, hollowing the top a little to compensate for the rising. Cover with a layer of brown paper to prevent scorching and bake for 3 ½ hours at 140⁰C. Test it after 3 hours though just in case. When done, leave to cool in its tin overnight. The cake needs to be kept for a month or more as you’ll need to sprinkle it with brandy every now and again. Eventually, the cake needs to be finished with marzipan and royal icing (see later posts!)

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