Monday, November 24, 2014

Recipe: Christmas Cake

It might not look very pretty yet, fairly dark and boring so far, but once it's marzipanned (making up words again Mel...) and iced it'll be lovely. Made this yesterday- a lot of people were saying it was a little late to be making a Christmas cake, but I read that yesterday was traditionally "stir-up Sunday", which is the time when you are supposed to make Christmas cakes? Plan is I'll feed it with some more brandy in 2 weeks time, and then on the 14th I'll ice and marzipan it on a cake board- and then i'll post a pretty picture of it up on this post. It's not for me actually, it'll be part of my Xmas present for the in-laws! Use normal brandy if you cant find cherry brandy- have noticed not as many places sell it any more, bit of an old fashioned tipple I suppose but I love it!

PS, a month later: After icing and decorating looks rather pretty doesn't it? Haha.
Christmas Cake (serves 8)

550g sultanas
Zest of 1 orange, and the juice
Zest of 1 lemon, and the juice
85ml cherry brandy (plus extra for soaking)
140g butter
110g caster sugar
100g plain flour
55g ground almonds
½ tsp baking powder
2.5 tsp mixed spice
55g flaked almonds
4 medium eggs
1 tsp gingerbread syrup (optional, but fabulous)
For later: marzipan, icing, a cakeboard, a ribbon, whatever you fancy for decoration!

1)  In a saucepan, on a medium high heat, cook the sultanas, citrus zest and juice, brandy, butter and sugar for 6 minutes, stirring often. Pour into a mixing bowl and allow to cool for half an hour.
2) Line a 20cm loose bottomed cake tin with greaseproof paper (on the bottom and around the sides). Tie a few layers of newspaper around the tin with string. Preheat the oven to 150C. Mix all the other ingredients into the dried fruit mixture, until everything is well combined. Pour into the cake tin carefully, and smooth the top over with a spoon.
3)  Bake the cake in the oven for 1 hour 45 minutes. Remove, and allow to cool in the tin. Remove from the tin, make a few little holes in the top, and pour 2 tbsp of the brandy on the cake. Put cake in a tin and store in a fairly cool place.
4) Every two weeks up until Christmas, feed the cake with 2 tbsp more brandy, leaving 2 weeks without feeding prior to icing. Cover in marzipan, and then cover in icing. Decorate as desired!

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