When I was growing up, every year around October half term, Mum and I used to make the Christmas cake, made from an old family recipe, to store away until December. It would be wrapped up in foil and newspaper, and opened weekly in the run up to Christmas, to pour a bit more sherry over it so that it could develop a rich flavour. It would then be iced and decorated nearer to the the Big Day. It is one of my favourite childhood memories, and this year is the first year that I’ve got both Freddie and Sasha involved in the creation of this Christmas culinary masterpiece! We blasted out the Christmas tunes (the only time this will be allowed until advent begins!), and got to work. I can confirm that it was a VERY messy experience, as I tried to let them do as much of the work as possible on their own, from measuring the dried fruit and flour to cracking the eggs. You do have to be very patient (and have more eggs than you actually need to hand). It was worth it though, as both F & S had such a great time helping, and it took a good couple of hours of our day (1 hour from start to getting in the oven, and a good hour to clean up the carnage!). They loved licking the bowl (natch), although I probably didn’t win any mother of the year points here, what with the mixture containing a good slug of sherry! I love how even at their tender ages they love getting involved with any food prep. The only problem with such small children making a cake like this, is that they didn’t understand why it took so long to cook, and why they couldn’t eat and decorate it straight away! A good way of teaching patience 😉
The cake tin I use is a round 8 inch diameter one, although the amounts of ingredients listed below would work with a square 7 inch tin. If you have a different sized cake you would like to make, please email me as I have the ingredients required for a whole range of tins and sizes!
You will need:
- 400g currants
- 200g sultanas
- 200g raisins
- 42g ground or shelled almonds
- 42g mixed peel
- 85g glace cherries
- 200g plain flour
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 200g butter
- 200g moist, brown sugar
- 1 lemon- grate the rind and save the juice
- 3 large eggs
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of sherry
- Pre-heat the oven to 160 c.
- Grease sides of the cake tin.
- Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, then add the lemon rind.
- Add the fruit, peel and nuts, and mix thoroughly.
- Mix in the flour slowly, followed by the mixed spice and lemon juice. Small children should take note that eating flour does NOT taste good!
- Add the sherry. The mixture should look like this.
- Then mix well, and place in the tin, pressing down the mixture at the sides and smoothing the top with a spoon.
- Place cake in the centre of the oven, and follow the directions below:
- 1st hour- 160c
- 2nd hour – 150c
- 3rd hour – 135c
- 4th hour 120c
If the cake is sufficently brown, but not quite cooked, after the 3rd hour, place a sheet of baking paper over the top to prevent burning.
Test whether or not the cake is cooked by using a skewer. If it comes out clean then the cake is ready. Also should feel springy to touch if using fingers.
When the cake is cooked, remove from oven and leave to cool in the tin.
When quite cold, remove the cake from the tin. To increase the keeping time of the cake and to ensure moistness, prick the cake over the top with a skewer and spoon a little sherry, rum or brandy into it.
Wrap in foil and store in a tin. Repeat pricking and adding booze twice more, at weekly intervals.
There you have it- one Christmas cake, ready for icing and decorating come December (post on this to come!)
NB making a cake wouldn’t be complete without some enthusiastic bowl licking!
Teaming up with Honest Mum and ‘Tasty Tuesdays’!