UPDATED DEC 21ST 2015
Good things come to those who wait…this gorgeous cake was made during October half term, whilst the children’s eyes became glued to the TV screen, cuddled under blankets as the rain poured down…over 4 hours of the sweetest, richest, seasonal smells filled the house whilst this Christmas Cake baked, it was a lovely day.
This is a story yet to be finished though, the cake is baked, but it’s not decorated, nor tasted…not even a nibble. I’m trusting my nose and can tell you it’s going to be corker, and even 3 weeks on it still has a slight spring to it. The smell of sweet spice infused brandy fills the room each Friday when I ritualistically unwrap the cake from its greaseproof and foil cocoon and feed it another slug of alcohol!
Of course photos of the finished cake in all its splendour will be added in due course, in the meantime, trust me, there’s still time to make this and get it tipsy before 25th December.
150g glace cherries
75g mixed peel
75g chopped nuts (I used almonds)
300g plain flour (I used Doves Farm)
2tsp mixed spice
1 tsp nutmeg
275g dark brown sugar
60ml brandy – then more over the following weeks
- Add all the fruit and nuts to a large bowl and soak in the brandy for a couple of hours.
- Prepare the cake tin, I use a Silverwood Multisize Tin, this cake mixture makes an 8inch/20cm square cake, ensure that you have double, if not treble lined the tin (my mum always wraps newspaper around her round Christmas Cakes) the idea is to insulate as much as possible to reduce risk of the cake mixture catching and burning.
- Preheat oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2.
- In a mixer, cream the butter, sugar, treacle until paler in colour, then add the eggs one at a time, or else it will curdle. If it does start to curdle add a couple of spoons of flour to bring it back.
- Sift in the flour and spices, continue to beat until light and fluffy then add the fruit – this is when you need strong arms!
- Spoon the thick mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top down, add another square of greaseproof to the top of the cake to prevent it from burning.
- Cook on the bottom shelf of the oven for 4 and a half hours.
- Remove from oven when inserted skewer comes out clean, allow to cool slightly and pour over a good slug of brandy.
- Allow to cool completely and, still in the greaseproof paper, wrap in a second coat of tin foil.
- Once a week has passed, open up wrapping and feed cake with more brandy, re-wrapping afterwards.
- ….to be continued!….
- This hunk of gorgeousness has been fed a slurp of brandy every Friday for 8 weeks, it smells divine!
- First I brushed the cake with marmalade to allow the marzipan to stick, to cover a cake of this size you’ll need about 750g of marzipan depending on your desired thickness (I like it quite thick!)
- Roll out the marzipan and using a ruler measure the top and length of two sides. Cut the top first then the two lengths needed to cover all four sides. Make sure there are no cracks in the marzipan or else the cake may bleed into the royal icing.
- To make the royal icing is a bit of an art to get it to the right consistency, no two egg whites are exactly the some in volume so you have to do this bit-by-bit.
- Lightly whisk two egg whites in a mixer, gradually add icing sugar one tablespoon at a time. Keep stopping to check the consistency and go with your gut!
- Spread onto the cake liberally, a palette knife is always best, trust me!
- Decorate to your liking … The design I’ve gone for is easy-peasy, no need to smooth flat or worry about air bubbles, just go over the icing with the back of a spoon to create peaks in the ‘snow’.
- Have fun with it and don’t stress, people will have their socks blown off when they taste it so you don’t have to be a top cake designer to win hearts with this one!