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Christmas cake making…

December 21, 2012

One tradition I was sure I wanted to start was making a Christmas cake. I began preparing for this back in November when I started soaking the fruit (as Ms. D. Smith advises!) I have since made the cake, baked, marzipan’d it and decorated it. I have never made a Christmas cake or any sort of fruit cake for that matter, so it was a nice challenge. I used Delia Smith’s Classic Christmas cake recipe its looks like a lot of ingredients but it was so simple to make heres whats needed;

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (450g) currants
  • 6 oz (175g) sultanas
  • 6 oz (175 g) raisins
  • 2 oz (50 g) mixed candied peel, finely chopped
  • 2 oz (50 g) glacé cherries, rinsed, dried and finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons brandy, plus extra for ‘feeding’
  • 8 oz (225 g) plain flour
  • ½ level teaspoon salt
  • ¼ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ level teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • 8 oz (225 g) unsalted butter
  • 8 oz (225 g) soft brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 oz (50 g) almonds, chopped (the skins can be left on)
  • 1 level dessertspoon black treacle
  • Grated zest 1 lemon
  • Grated zest 1 orange

Instead of buying the individual dried fruits I had a look at the amount put into a 1kg bag of mixed dried fruit and it was almost the same quantities so used that instead!

The day before you plan on making this wonderful cake put all of the dried fruit into a mixing bowl and pour over the brandy. Cover this and leave over night so all the brandy is absorbed by the fruit. The smell is amazing!

IMG_1128

Soaking the fruit the day before!

The next day pre heat the oven at gas mark 1, 275°F (140°C) and get a 7″ round cake tin ready, Delia suggestes lining the tin with baking parchment, I also had a round piece cut for the top with a hole cut out the middle about the size of a 50 pence piece, and a long piece for around the outside of the tin. This cake takes 4 hours to cook so you want to protect the outside a little bit so it doesnt burn, (apparently!) (So Mum says!)

First cream together the butter and sugar, once light and fluffy slowly beat in the eggs, once all the eggs have been added sieve the flour, salt and spices into the mixture, and gentally fold the mixture. After fold in the fruit, peel, chopped nuts and treacle and finally the grated lemon and orange zests. Once this is all nicely mixed together place into the tin. It’s that simple!! Cook then for approx. 4 hours.

You can find the full method here.

Here’s my attempt

The Cooked Cake!!

The Cooked Cake!!

Once I had cooked it I poked holes in it and poured a little more brandy over the top, I did this once a week for four weeks before I marzipan’d and iced it. I cheated with the marzipan and icing and bought the stuff you just had to roll out and mould on top! Sooo much easier! I did remember to coat the cake with warm apricot jam to make the marzipan stick.

Once it was all iced it was now to the fun part, decorating! I searched everywhere for different decorating ideas- mainly Pinterest. Not being very creative and only having limited patience I decided on something simple. My Inspiration can be found here on the pinterest website. So heres my final product;

My wintery forest  christmas cake

My wintery forest christmas cake

The trees are made from melted dark chocolate, piped onto tin foil. Once I manage to pipe the shapes I was happy with I popped them in the fridge to harden. To stick them on I just melted a bit more chocolate.

Ok, so my trees aren’t quite as straight and my icing not quite as neat but all in all I think its a pretty fine attempt. All it needs is a nice christmas message and a sprinkle of icing sugar snow. Done! Let me know what you think.

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