It may seem that it is a bit late for a posting about a Christmas Cake, but as long as I get it written before Chinese New Year I still consider it in season. Besides since a good Christmas Cake should be made around October or early November to be ready for Christmas, it was already a bit late by the time the holidays rolled around for anyone to be searching for a fruit cake recipe (not that I had a picture of it until around Christmas anyway).
Just consider this an early start on next year’s fruit cake. Now I know fruit cakes get a bad rap in the States. And considering those bricks they sell in the store I don’t blame anyone who has tried one of those to hold a certain disdain for the whole lot of them. However, I don’t actually know all that many people who have tried them. Most people it seems hold fruit cakes in contempt without ever trying one. I guess I should chalk that up to the shifting (I dare say loss) of food culture in the US. Shame really, fruit cakes are quite good, though it may help that I grew up eating them.
So, I for one am not willing to let the fruit cake fall by the wayside. Though I do not do up my Christmas Cake with all the pomp and adornment of a true English model. With their glazing of jam to glue down the thin layer of marzipan, which is then coated with frosting and little Christmas decorations, so as to make the whole thing a grand show piece. No I don’t go that far, that would be a fair bit of work and I fear would be rather lost on most of the people around my Christmas table. No, at most I glaze the cake with a little black currant jam or a little orange marmalade, but it is fine left as is.
Like I said before the cake is best made in October or early November about the same time you make your Christmas Pudding, thus giving it time to mature and the flavors to develop. And like your pudding, you worry about it the whole time, just hoping you did nothing wrong and it will come out just fine in the end. Also like your pudding you need to feed it brandy or whiskey on a weekly basis.
- 3/4 c. glace/candied cherries, halved or quartered as desired
- 1/4 c. slivered almonds
- 2 1/2 c. golden raisins
- 2 1/2 c. currants
- 1 1/2 c. raisins
- 3/4 c. dried apricots, chopped
- 1/2 c. ground almonds
- zest of 1 lemon
- zest of 1 orange
- 3/4 c. of candied peel, chopped (preferably home made)
- 1/2 c. brandy or whiskey
- 2 T. molasses
- 16 T. butter
- 1 1/4 c. brown sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 1 1/2 t. mixed spice
- pinch of ground cloves
- 2 1/2 c. flour
- 1 cooking apple (such as Granny Smith), grated
- brandy or whiskey for feeding
- Line the base and sides of a 9″ round spring form cake pan with parchment paper, making sure that there is about 2″ of paper above the rim of the pan.
- In a nonreactive bowl mix the cherries, slivered almonds, golden raisins, currants, raisins, dried apricots, ground almonds, lemon zest, orange zest, candied peel, brandy, and molasses. Let sit for at least 1 hour to macerate
- preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Cream the butter. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Whisk the eggs in one by one, beating between each one.
- Mix the flour with the mixed spice and ground cloves.
- Slowly incorporate the flour and spice mixture into the butter, sugar, egg mixture.
- Add the grated apple to the macerated dried fruit and stir to combine.
- Incorporate the macerated dried fruit into the cake batter, thoroughly combine, but do not overmix.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan, smooth the top, leaving a slight depression in the center.
- Put the pan in the preheated oven, bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees then reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Bake until cooked, (a further 3 to 3 1/2 hours). Test center with a skewer, when it comes out clean remove the cake from the oven.
- splash the top with a little brandy or whiskey and let cool in the pan overnight.
- The next day remove from the pan. Do not remove the lining paper, but wrap in extra parchment paper and store in a airtight tin in a cool place.
- Once a week feed the cake with a little brandy or whiskey.
- After a month or better it should be nearing time to eat.
And just for fun, here is a song to eat your fruit cake to.