Here is a recipe for a traditional Christmas cake that is aged in brandy. It is an old family recipe that my friend Alanna shared with me, and it is easy to see why this cake has been passed down for generations. This is one of those IMPACT recipes – even with bellies full of Christmas food, fruitcake-lovers in your family will surely want this recipe.
You know how lots of leftovers taste better the next day, after the flavours have incorporated? The same is true for Christmas cake. This is Christmas cake like it is supposed to taste. It sounds like a lot of fuss, but the results are worth it: this is SO much nicer than a regular fruit cake. If you like those Christmassy flavours, don’t be afraid to increase the spices a little – you can even double them if you’re game. Another tip I’ve gained from making this cake a few times: don’t overdo the brandy – the goal is to keep the cake moist, but not soggy. As long as the whole cake is covered in the brandy, your cake will not go mouldy or stale. Enjoy!
1,375 g mixed dried and/or glace fruits.
400g glace fruit
I cheated here and used a bag of currants and a big bag of ‘Christmas cake mix’ from my local health food shop – it contained dried and glace fruit and nuts. Why do health food stores sell glace fruit? Anyone? Anyway, moving right along.
The cake also contains:
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup SR flour
A large can of apricot nectar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
A big bottle of brandy
Combine the fruit, sugar, spices and apricot nectar in a saucepan. Stir while heating to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. I loved the caramel smell and appearance at this stage. Look! Mmmmmm.
Cool this mix to room temperature.
Meanwhile, prepare a cake tin or tins. I had enough mix to fill two regular sized, round spring-form tins. First, line the tin with brown paper, doubled over, and with a high ‘collar’ above the tin. Line this with baking paper pressed firmly into the sides.
Once your cake mix has cooled, add eggs and stir. Stir in sifted dry ingredients. Pour into the prepared cake tin(s) and decorate with blanched almonds. Bake in a slow (160 degrees C) oven for 2 1/2 hours, or until a skewer pushed to the bottom of the cake comes out clean.
Pour about 1/2 a cup of brandy over the hot cake – it will give off a most satisfying sizzling sound. Wrap the brown paper around the cake. Leave it to cool.
Once it is cool, pour over another 1/2 cup of brandy.
It is now time to do what Sannie apparently called ‘putting the cake to bed’.
Wrap the cake in the paper again, followed by two layers of aluminium foil, to prevent it from drying out.
Every few weeks or so, add a bit more brandy before re-wrapping.
The cake is supposed to be at its best after six weeks – alas, I’ve left it a touch too late for that! If stored well, it can keep for months!
Ruby Roberts is a long-time fan of Mamabake, a mother of one, and a part time personal carer. She is a compulsive reader, writer and Facebooker who is prepared to weather the occasional online squabble if it means she gets to enjoy genuine discussions with deep thinkers. She thinks all folk are uniquely gifted – some are just more open-minded about what intelligence constitutes than others. Ruby is in the process of renovating her cooking, craft and philosophy blog and it looks like a dog’s breakfast at the moment – one day it will be presentable enough to share. WATCH THIS SPACE. She has about a zillion projects on the go, each in varying stages of completion. Some might sit there for decades. She likes long distance hiking and camping, conversation and correspondence, cooking, eating and creating very amateur-looking craft. Her latest hobby is fermenting stuff and making alcoholic beverages, which is really rather funny because she’s practically a wowser. Ruby is finding it very difficult to encapsulate herself in 100 words or less while writing in the third person. However, she is always looking for new pals, so go ahead and talk to her! She won’t bite. Much. Contact Ruby: firstname.lastname@example.org