One thing I have never been able to do is stick to a recipe - I feel that a recipe makes a good guide, but I tend to adapt any that come my way. The recipe below is equally adaptable - try to keep the proportions roughly the same but add or subtract ingredients according to preference.
Christmas cake is a rich, moist fruit cake, best made a couple of months before Christmas to allow it to mature.
Actually, the most important reason to make it in advance is so that you can 'feed' it weekly with a good dose of brandy, whisky, Cointreau - or whatever else takes your fancy :-)
Ingredients - enough to make an 8 or 9 inch round cake
- Soak the dried fruit, peel and nuts in the orange juice and brandy overnight
- Line base and sides of an 8" round tin with a double layer of greased greaseproof paper or parchment paper so that it comes about 1" above the top of the tin
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
- Beat the eggs into this a little at a time
- Stir in the treacle
- Fold in the flour, spices and rest of ingredients
- Put into cake tin, level off the top then slightly depress the centre
- Bake in a preheated oven - 140°C/275°F or Gas mark 1 for around 5 hours. To check if it's done insert a skewer - when done the skewer comes out clean and dry with no sticky bits on it.
- Allow to cool in the tin before removing
- Feed with a couple of tablespoons of your favourite tipple before wrapping.
- Store in a cool place, unwrapping and feeding on a weekly basis until a few days before Christmas
Christmas cake is usually covered with a layer of marzipan before icing/frosting and then eaten at leisure. It stores well if you can make it last that long.
According to wertperch it is best eaten with a good hard cheese - most people prefer to eat it with a nice cup of tea or coffee!