Making my christmas cake is something I look forward to each November. For me it is the first marker of the festive season. Every year I use a different recipe. Years ago I would diligently follow recipes searching for the perfect one. These days I’m inspired by one of my daughters who makes amazing cakes but never repeats a recipe. Most of her baking is a spontaneous affair. She understands the chemistry of cake making and creates recipes as she goes along. A few years back she made christmas cakes as christmas presents. About 12 cakes from memory, with three variations. It was hard to choose which one of the three variations was most delectable. In her usual style she has no record of the specifics, and I’ve been trying to recreate them ever since. My favorite essentials are chunks of dark chocolate and ginger and this time I have used coriander and cardamom powder. Another element is my home made mixed peel delicious and far superior in flavour to the shop bought stuff. It has added a cointreau like flavour to the raw mixture. I confess I licked the bowl clean! For more details read the full post.
400g mixed fruit
150g crystalised ginger (can use chunks of fresh peeled ginger)
100g mixed peel
1 1/2 cups of brandy (or liquid of your choice)
200g brown sugar
6 fresh eggs
2 tsp baking powder
100g raw almonds
100g raw brazils
250g dark chocolate
1 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp coriander seed powder, 1 teaspoon cardamom powder, 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Prepare the prunes, apricots and dates by chopping in half. Place into a large bowl together with the rest of the dried and crystalized fruit adding the brandy. Stir and cover. Leave aside for a week or so giving a wee mix each day.
Measure out the butter and the sugar and place into a large mixing bowl
Beat the butter and sugar until it forms a cream
Add each egg one at a time beating well with each addition
Measure out and prepare the spices
Sift the flour, baking powder and the spices into the creamed mixture.
Chop chocolate roughly
Chop half the almonds and all the brazils into chunks (leave half almonds aside for decorating the cake)
Add the chocolate and the nuts to the mixture
Now prepare your 23cm by 23cm (or similar) cake tin by lining with two layers of oiled brown paper, cutting to size
Place the mixture into the lined cake tin and decorate with the extra almonds. Bake in a preheated oven 140C for approx 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until a knife comes clean when inserted into centre of the cake.
Remove cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.
Leave the brown paper on and carefully place the cake in a storage tin also lined with silver foil. Cover with the foil and the tin lid and let mature for a month or so.
If you wish drizzle a little brandy over the cake every few days or so. Carefully rewrap with the foil before you store it away after each wee drink. Enjoy!