December 1, 2013

Christmas Cake : How to make and mature



Preparations for Christmas is underway at the resort. It's going to be busy again come December with all the travelers escaping the cold winter months. All departments are getting ready for the biggest event this year. There will be a  brunch on Christmas Day. The F & B employees are organizing things ahead of the holiday season. Yours truly has recipes lined up  for the festivities. The first on my long list of holiday treats is this Christmas cake, a kind of fruitcake served at Christmas. I made it six weeks  ago to give it time to mature.

Adapted from BBC Goodfood.

1 kg mixed dried fruits ( A mixture of raisins, sultanas, diced maraschino cherries, diced apricots and diced prunes.

zest and juice of 1 orange

zest and juice of  1 lemon

150 mL whiskey plus extra for feeding (if whiskey isn't available, you may use Sherry or rum)

250 g unsalted butter, softened

180 g brown sugar

175 g plain flour

100 g ground almonds

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp. mixed spice

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

100 g sliced almonds

4 large eggs

1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped (you may use 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract)

Procedure:

1. Put the fruits, zests and juice, butter, alcohol and sugar in a large pan.








2. Bring to the boil over medium heat.  Once boiling,  lower the heat. Simmer  for 5 minutes. Transfer the fruit mixture into a big bowl and set aside to cool for 30 minutes.




3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 150 C/130 C fan/gas 2. I have a regular oven so I heat it to 150 degrees C. Line a deep 20 cm cake tin with a double layer of baking paper. Square or round it doesn't matter.

4. Combine the flour, ground almonds, sliced almonds, spices and baking powder in a bowl.




5. Combine the vanilla seeds with egg in a separate bowl. (Note: Lightly beat the egg before adding)
Here you will see three bowls containing different mixtures : the cooked fruit, the dry ingredients and the egg mixture. I find it easy to manage when I prepare the ingredients this way.



6. Add the dry ingredients to the fruit mixture....



7. then the egg mixture....



8.Stir well making sure there are no pockets of flour.



9. Spoon into the prepared tin. Level the top with a spatula. Bake in the centre of the oven  for 2 hours.



10. Remove the cake from the oven. Use a skewer to poke holes in it. Spoon over 2 TBSP of  your chosen alcohol, in my case whiskey.  Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.




11.Wrap the cake still in its baking paper in a double layer plastic film. Place the cake in a well sealed container.  Leave in a dark, cool, dry place. Feed the cake with 1-2 TBSP of alcohol every fortnight, until you ice it. Don't feed it for the final week to give the surface time to dry before icing.


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