Wednesday 25 November 2009

Festive Christmas Cake

Sorry for the delay in posting the next stage of the Christmas cake, things have been a bit hectic these last few days, but rest assured your soaking boozy fruit base won’t have come to any harm. The fruit should be plump, glossy and juicy by now and perfect for stirring into your Christmas cake mix to give a rich, moist texture and flavour. Peel off the clingfilm and inhale the fruits sweet, boozy, citrusy aroma, ahhh…it’s just heavenly.

When you have added the fruit to the cake mix just run a finger around the fruit bowl and taste the syrupy residue, it’s divine. The harsh raw note of the alcohol has mellowed and taken on the flavour of the fruits. The juices have become sweet and sticky while a wonderful rich fruity citrus flavour seems to explode in your mouth. It was hard to resist the urge to start eating the raw mix.

The cake mix is very easy to put together and contains its own Christmassy flavours of black treacle and an assortment of spices. This year I added ginger and cloves to help complement my choice of fruits. When you come to add the soaked fruit, you may think there is not enough cake mix for the amount of fruit, but a Christmas cake such as this is very densely fruited. Just think of it as the fruit being held together with cake, rather than it being a cake containing fruit.When spooning the cake mix into the tin it’s a good idea to create a little hollow or dip in the centre of the cake, this compensates for the cakes normal doming effect during baking and means you should end up with more of a flat surface on which to decorate later – we don’t want to have to cut off and waste any more of the cake than necessary!

During baking the cake will fill your kitchen with wafts of warm Christmas smells that linger pleasantly for several hours. Once baked, the cake is given its first ‘feed’ of some more Cointreau before being wrapped up tight. The cake will now be fed once a week until it’s time to decorate it just before Christmas. This ensures it continues to develop in flavour and stays moist – no chance of dry stale fruitcake here!

Festive Christmas Cake Base
225g plain flour
1½ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
40g ground almonds
40g balanced almonds
165g light soft brown sugar
165g butter
1 tbsp black treacle
3 eggs
1 batch pre-soaked festive fruit mix (click to see)

2 tbsp Cointreau (orange liqueur)

Grease and line base and sides of a deep 8inch/20cm tin with greaseproof paper, allowing the paper to rise an inch above the rim of the tin.Pre heat the oven to 140C.In a large bowl add the flour, mixed spice, ground almonds, sugar, butter, treacle and eggs and mix together well using an electric mixer.Roughly chop the blanched almonds and add to the mix along with your pre-soaked boozy fruits.
Fold everything together using a spatula, making sure the fruit is evenly distributed.Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, pressing down gently and smoothing the surface. Create a shallow dip in the centre of the cake mix to compensate for the cake doming in the oven. The dip should result in a flat surface when baked.Bake the cake for 2 hours and 50 minutes. (After 2 hours you can quickly cover the tin with foil if it is becoming too brown before baking for a further 50 minutes).Check the cake with a skewer, which should come out clean. Leave to cool for an hour in the tin.Measure out the Cointreau into a small bowl and prick the top of the cake all over with the skewer. Evenly drizzle over the Cointreau using a teaspoon.Allow the cake to cool completely before removing it from the tin but leaving the greaseproof paper on.Wrap it up well in clingfilm and leave in a cool dark place to mature for several weeks. ‘Feed’ the cake with an extra tablespoon of Cointreau once a week until required or ready to marzipan and ice just before Christmas.
Makes enough for an 8inch/20cm circular Christmas cake

Here is what I have been up to recently – my graduation! When I first started Uni I wasn’t sure it was really for me and a little part of me that never imaged I would actually get to wear the graduation robe - it felt like such an achievement to know I succeeded and it was a great day.


The Caked Crusader said...

Congratulations on your graduation!

And more congratulations on your beautiful cake. I agree that the smell of a Christmas cake baking is truly special...and I say that as someone who doesn't even like eating fruit cake!

Cakemol said...

The cake is fantastic¡¡¡¡¡ crogatilations on your graduation¡¡

Snooky doodle said...

ohh sounds delicious! congratulations !!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your graduation!

That is a great tip about putting a little dip in the middle of the cake.

Unknown said...

Congratulations! A lovely graduation picture! I do hope you had some celebratory cake now! - As well as that lovely Christmas cake!

tracieMoo said...

The cake is beautiful! Looking at it makes me drool. A very great job on the cake. I would love to give this a go :)

Anonymous said...

congrats on you graduating college!

And I know Christmas is near when your Christmas cake makes an appearance! I cannot wait to see how you decorate it.

Elle said...

With fruitcake like yours no one would ever re-gift it. Many congrulations on your graduation! You look great in your robes :)

Angela @ A Spoonful of Sugar said...

Congratulations on your graduation!!

Your Christmas cake looks great, Katie! It's really nice to see someone else still doing Proper rich fruit cakes :)

Issy said...

Congratulations on your graduation!

Nora said...

Congratulations on your graduation! That cake looks sooo good - I love Christmas cake.

Johanna GGG said...

congratulations on graduating - it is a nice rite of passage to actually go to graduation and the cap and gown are fun

the cake sounds delicious - I love the sounds of the dried fruits you used and love the smell of the cake as it matures

Nic said...

Hi Katie, wow - you have been busy!
Congratulations on your graduation, you look fabulous in that gown!

artymama said...

Thank you, I made this cake for xmas and it was divine! Had to make another one on xmas day because we had already eaten all of the first one!
Cant wait to make something else from your site.