It’s time to make a traditional fruit Christmas cake. I have made one with the recipe I have used for years. It is based on the recipe for Christmas cake from the 1972 edition of Good Housekeeping’s Easy-Stages Cook Book.
- 2 lb 2 oz (1 kg) mixed fruit made up of currants, sultanas, raisins, candied peel
- 6 oz glacé cherries cut into quarters
- 10 oz plain flour
- 1/2 level teaspoon mixed spice
- 1/2 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 10 oz butter – spreadable is easier for mixing
- 10 oz soft brown sugar
- 6 eggs
Prepare either an 8 inch or a 9 inch cake tin. The 8 inch will give you a taller cake. Grease the bottom and sides of the tin. Line the tin with greaseproof paper and re-grease. Make a band of brown paper round the outside of the tin and a couple of inches above the height of the tin. Tie in place.
Set the oven to 150 C. This can be cooked in an oven with or without a fan. With a fan reduce the temperature to 140 C.
Put the flour and spices in a bowl and mix together. Add the mixed fruit and cherries, and mix up so that the fruit is not lumped together and is covered in the spiced flour. Leave to one side.
In a separate bowl cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs one at a time and beat into the mix.
Add the flour, spice and fruit, making sure they are well blended. The final mix should easily drop from the spoon when held above the bowl. If it is too stiff add a little milk.
Don’t forget to make a wish as you do the final mixing. Everyone who helped with the cake should make a wish.
Put the mix into the prepared cake tin, spreading it round evenly using a knife. Make a dip in the centre.
Put the cake into the bottom of the over for about 4 1/2 hours – mine took 4 hours this time. After two hours put a layer of either brown or greaseproof paper over the top to prevent the cake becoming over-browned. Check it is ready by inserting a fine skewer which should look quite clean as it is pulled out. If you are not sure leave it for an extra twenty minutes.
When cooked leave the cake to cool in the tin.
You can add brandy to the cake once it has cooled by pricking the cake all over and slowly pouring two or three tablespoons of brandy over the top. This can be done once the cake has cooled or after a couple of weeks. This can be repeated for a richer flavour.
To store the cake, wrap in greaseproof paper and then either place in an airtight tin or wrap in tinfoil.
The traditional almond paste and icing are added much nearer Christmas.
This year we had three generations making the cake – Nannie, Daughter and Grandson, so there were three Christmas wishes!