Time to Bake Your Christmas Cake

Christmas Cake - Boozy Fruit Part 2So you’ve been lovingly stirring your boozy fruit for the past few weeks and enjoying inhaling the fumes as you do so! Now it’s time to turn that jar of loveliness into this years Christmas Cake. If you missed the Boozy Fruit post you can find it here, get going with it now, even a weeks soaking is going to create some Christmas Magic!

Ingredients:

225g butter, softened
150g soft brown sugar
75g dark brown sugar
2 tbsps treacle
2 tsps mixed cake spice
285g plain flour
5 large eggs, beaten

1 x Boozy Fruit already prepared.

150ml brandy for feeding.

This recipe will make an 8″ round or 7″ square Christmas Cake, if you prefer you can bake two 4″ cakes.

First, the top tips to stop your cake ending in disaster:

  • If you haven’t prepared your boozy fruit do it now (and then come back and tell me why you didn’t do it when I posted the recipe – bad Pink Whiskers!)  Soak it for at least a week, more if you can.  Once you’ve soaked it there may still be excess liquid with the fruit, heat the mixture gently in a pan until the majority of the liquid has gone, then continue with the recipe.
  • If you’re outside the UK can’t get hold of treacle, molasses is a good substitute.
  • Make sure your tin is deep sided, a shallow tin won’t do the trick here!
  • Be sure of your oven temperature, a long slow bake is what is called for to stop the cake from drying out too much and baking evenly.
  • Position your cake on a shelf about 1/3rd of the way up from the base of the oven.
  • When it comes to feeding the baked cake, you can miss this out completely if you would rather, wrap the cake well as described and set aside to mature.  The flavours of the cake still intensifies and the fruit in the cake will soften and be delicious.
  • If you would rather you can feed with apple juice or tea for a non-alcoholic cake.
  • If you don’t have a tin big enough to store your cake it will be fine wrapped well with baking paper and foil alone.

So, we’re sorted, on to the recipe

Preheat oven to a low 150c Fan/170c/Gas Mark 3.

Double line an 8” tin with baking paper.

Wrap a thick layer of newspaper around the outside of the tin and secure with string.  If you have children in your house this might be an epic adventure especially as it’s just been conker season!


Start by creaming together the butter and the sugars.

Add the treacle and beat until combined.


Add the beaten eggs a little at a time, mixing well after each addition.


After the eggs are fully incorporated sift over the flour and cake spice and fold into the mixture.


Finally remove the cinnamon stick from the boozy fruit you lovingly prepared a few weeks ago add and mix until the fruit is distributed evenly.

Add the mixture to the prepared tin and bake in the oven for approx 2 hours. Check after one hour and if the top is browning too quickly add a loose sheet of baking paper to the top. (If you’re making 4″ cakes they will need to be baked for approx 1 hour)


The cake is ready when the top is a dark golden brown and when inserted a skewer comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin.

Once the cake is cold remove it from the tin removing the baking paper from the sides of the cake but keeping the base disc in place, this will help keep in moisture as the cake is fed in the run up to Christmas.

On your worksurface lay out two large pieces of foil, one horizontally and one vertically. On top of that place two large sheets of baking paper. Finally position the cake in the middle.


Using a skewer pierce 30-40 holes in the top of the cake, only ¾’s of the depth of the cake though so that the brandy doesn’t run straight through!


I like to put the feeding brandy into a jam jar, that way it’s to hand whenever it’s time to feed the cake.

Using a pastry brush, brush over the entire top of the cake with the brandy. You are looking to add 1 or 2 teaspoons of brandy in each feed.

Once fed, gather up the baking paper and seal in the cake, repeating with the foil layer. No place the whole lot in a suitable container, I use an old Christmas sweetie tin which is just the perfect size!

Place the container into a cupboard or the pantry, it needs to be out of direct sunlight somewhere dry but don’t forget about it. Feed it every 3-4 days for the next few weeks or until the cake won’t absorb anymore.

Christmas cake – done! (well for now, I’ll be back at the end of November with some easy decorating ideas and maybe a tricky one too!)

Here’s a picture of the inside of the cake – before feeding and maturing.  It already tastes delicious!

Christmas Cake - Boozy Fruit Part 2
Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire

 

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73 Responses to Time to Bake Your Christmas Cake

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