Light and Fruity Christmas Cake
LIGHT AND FRUITY CHRISTMAS CAKE
Dried fruit* – Mixture of currents and raisins (70%) along with apricots, peaches, pears, apple rings, sultanas, glacé cherries (30%)
Liquid* – peach schnapps
Sugar* – soft, light-brown sugar
Syrup* – golden syrup
Nuts* – unsalted cashews or blanched almonds
Spice* – Allspice, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, mace
|Orange, rind and juice||1 small||1 small||1 large||1 large|
|Butter or margarine||125g||150g||175g||225g|
|Syrup*||1 tbsp||1 tbsp||1½ tbsp||2 tbsp|
|Eggs||3 large||4 large||4 large||6 medium|
|Baking powder||½ tsp||½ tsp||1 tsp||1 tsp|
|Ground mixed spice*||2 tsp||2.5 tsp||3 tsp||1.5 tbsp|
|Cooking time||2 hours||2–2½ hours||2½–3 hours||3–3½ hours|
1 Cut your chosen dried fruit into bite-sized pieces and put them into a bowl with the chosen tipple. Stir well, cover and leave overnight.
2 Preheat your oven to 160˚C . Grease and line your chosen size of cake tin with a double thickness of greaseproof paper. Cream the margarine/butter, sugar and syrup together, and gradually beat in the eggs, one at a time. Sift the flour, baking powder and spices together in a separate bowl. Add a little of this in between adding the eggs if the mixture should start to curdle.
3 Fold in the remaining flour with the fruit, tipple, nuts and almonds and mix well, then spoon into the appropriate tin. As an extra precaution I put a double layer of brown paper around the tin on the outside and cut it so that it rises up a further 10cm above the top of the tin. This gives it some extra protection against burning in the oven, although it may extend the cooking time a little.
4 Bake as indicated and check the cake halfway through the cooking process – if it is browning too quickly, cover it with a double thickness of greaseproof paper and reduce the temperature to 130˚C.
5 Test with a skewer 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready; if it comes out coated in a sticky cake mixture, cook it for a further 15 minutes and then retest. Leave to cool in the tin.
6 Remove the wrappings, then rewrap the now cool cake in greaseproof paper and foil. I pierce a few holes in the paper and foil and drizzle some peach schnapps over the top (just to get it used to the process, you’ll understand) immediately, and then once a week until the 22nd December (when the marzipan goes on), and 23rd December (when it is iced, ready for its first outing on Christmas Eve, when it’s served with an Amaretto and Coke – for me).