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2 Traditional Christmas Cake

Traditional British Christmas Cake                                                  Prep Time:60 mins.                                                                                                              Cook Time:270 mins.

INGREDIENTS

  • 525g (3 ½ cups) currants
  • 225g (1 ½ cups) golden raisins/sultanas*
  • 225g (1 ½ cups) raisins
  • 110g (3/4 cup) mixed candied peel, finely chopped
  • 165 (1 cup)  glace cherries, halved
  • 300g (3 1/3 cups) plain flour
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ level teaspoon mixed spice
  • ½ level teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ level teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 300g (10 oz) butter, slightly softened
  • 300g (1 1/3 cups) soft brown sugar
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoon brandy, plus extra for feeding

     PREPARATION

  • In a large roomy baking bowl mix the currants, sultanas, raisins, peel and cherries with the flour, salt and spices
  • In another large bowl cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the lemon zest. Add the beaten egg to the butter mixture a little bit at a time, beating well after each addition – do not try to rush this process as the mixture could curdle. If it does curdle simply add a tbsp of flour and mix again, this should bring the mixture back together. If it doesn’t come back together, don’t fret, the cake will still be delicious.
  • Carefully fold in half the flour and fruit into the egg and butter mixture, once incorporated repeat with the remaining flour and fruit. Finally add the brandy.
  • Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin making sure there are no air pockets. Once filled smooth the surface with the back of s spoon and make a slight dip in the center (this will rise back up again during cooking and create a smooth surface for icing the cake).
  • Finally, using a piece of paper towel clean up any smears of cake batter on the greaseproof wrapping, if left on they will burn, and though it won’t affect the cake, it doesn’t smell too good.
  • Stand the tin on a double layer of newspaper in the lower part of the oven, if you have a gas oven ensure the paper is well away from the any flame, and bake for 4½ hours. If the cake is browning too rapidly, cover the tin with a double layer of greaseproof or parchment paper after 2½ hours. During the cooking time avoid opening the oven door too often as this may cause the cake to collapse.
  • After 4½ hours check the cake is cooked. The cake should be nicely risen and a deep brown all over. Insert a skewer or fine knife into the centre of the cake. If there is sticky dough on the skewer when you pull it out it needs cooking longer, if it is clean, the cake’s done and remove from the oven.
  • Leave the cake to cool in the tin on a wire rack for an hour, then remove from the tin and leave to cool completely. Once cooled prick the surface of the cake with a fine metal skewer and slowly pour over 2 – 3 tbsp brandy. This feeding should be repeated every two weeks up until Christmas.

Traditional family Irish Christmas cake  

    Ingredients    

  • 5oz (150g) raisins
  • 4½oz (125g) sultanas
  • 4oz (100g) quartered glace cherries
  • 4 fl oz (100ml) Irish whiskey
  • 8oz (225g) real butter
  • extra butter for greasing
  • 7oz (200g) caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • grated rind of 1 lemon and 1 orange
  • 2 tbsp black treacle (or molasses)
  • 8oz (225g) plain (all purpose) flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 rounded tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground clove
  • 2oz (50g) ground almonds
  • 2 fl oz (50ml) extra Whiskey

     Method

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C), Gas mark 2. Grease a 8″ (20cm) cake tin and line it with grease-proof paper. Wrap some newspaper around the outside and tie it with string. This will help the outside of the cake from browning too much during the cooking and prevent it from drying out.
  • Beat together, in a bowl, the sugar and butter until creamy. Gradually add the eggs, dusting a little of the flour in with each egg added. Add the treacle and grated fruit rinds and mix well.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl of soaked fruit and add the salt, spices and almonds. Stir all of this together, mixing well.
  • Fold the fruit mix into the egg mix, stirring evenly. Spoon the completed mix into the cake tin.
  • Bake in the center of the oven for 3 hours. If it is browning a little too much, cover it loosely with tinfoil. Cook for another ½ hour. The cake is cooked when a fine skewer, inserted into the center, comes out clean and dry.

 

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