Baking our Christmas cake is a big part of the build up to Christmas for me. I love the ritual of gathering up the ingredients, popping on my Crimbo pinny, switching on a Christmas album, and mixing the ingredients while I sing (badly) along. It gets me really excited for Santa and the festive celebrations ahead.
I usually make the cake the week after bonfire night which gives me about six weeks to feed my cake with plenty of booze. Every weekend from now untill the week before Christmas I will unwrap my cake, prick holes in the top with a cocktail stick and very gently pour any alcohol of choice over the cake (usually brandy, rum or whiskey). Then the week before Christmas I'll decorate it.
I also make mini Christmas cakes in ramekins for gifts or just for Papa to enjoy with a mug of tea. These can be iced just as you would a large cake then wrap them up and give them out as small gifts.
This is my own recipe that I adapted from a BBC one that I used last year and it tastes really yummy. Its a really easy recipe so if you aren't usually much of a baker you will be fine with this one so dont panic.
200g plain flour
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
200g brown sugar
2 tbsp black treacle
¼ tsp vanilla extract
4 free-range eggs
170g dried cranberries
100g crushed almonds
200g glace cherries
* Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas2
* Grease an 8inch round cake tin, line the bottom and sides with greaseproof paper.
* Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl
* Add the treacle & vanilla
* Whisk the eggs in a cup then add gradually to the butter & sugar mix
* Add the flour, salt, mixed spice and cinnamon
* Once completely mixed add all your fruits and almonds
* Spoon mixture into your cake tin
* Line the outside of the cake tin with greaseproof paper and tie with string. This protects the cake during the long cooking process,
* Cut a circle of greaseproof paper and place on top of the cake mix to prevent burning on top, although the top does still tend to burn a little but it can be sliced off before icing.
* After 3 hrs of baking keep testing every 20 mins by inserting a knife into the centre of the cake, if when you pull it out it there is cake mix on the knife and it looks runny then it is not cooked yet so continue baking.
(Not quite ready)
* Once cooked, leave to cool for half an hour then turn out onto a cooling rack until completly cool, wrap in foil and place in an air tight container ready to be feed in a weeks time.
It really is as simple as that...Happy Baking!