Stage 1 ~ Done!

My Christmas cake has cooked. I’m a little concerned about the texture, as the bottom feels a little bread puddingy, but all in all it seems to have held the fruit evenly and it feels very light. It’s still too hot to wrap up, so in what has become a tradition for me, I have wrapped it in a tea towel and left it on the side to cool overnight before the big wrapping can begin!!

The recipe I followed this year is once again Delia inspired. Though I follow most chefs and cooks, when it comes to my Christmas cake, I always turn to Delia Smith. I find her recipes comforting, traditional and somehow I wouldn’t trust any other recipe for the cake. Now the keen eyed might notice its Delia inspired, which does mean I haven’t followed her recipe exactly, but I know the backbone of the recipe is in my cake, sort of, if you like, the spirit of Delia is there, with a twist of the Muddy Kitchen Floor!!

My recipe is

1kg mixed fruit, peel, glacé cherries.
1/4 bottle of Brandy
1/2 pint of fresh orange juice with bits

Put all the fruit in a bowl, pour over the Brandy and orange juice, cover tightly with cling film and leave to soak over night.

250g Butter
250g Dark Brown Sugar

Beat the sugar and butter together for 5 minutes on high speed until smooth and fluffy.

Break 4 large eggs and lightly whisk then combine with the butter sugar mix very slowly. If the mixture looks like it is going to curdle, add a spoonful of flour. Once combined, add 250g plain flour and 1 tablespoon of mixed spice. Combine the mixture making sure there are no lumpy flour bits. Pour your cake batter over the fruit and stir until combined. Add 100g chopped almonds, mix, and pour into a well lined 10″ cake tin.

Go put your oven on gas mark 2, while I tell you about lining the tin.

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I use silicone lined baking parchment and cake release from Lakeland. Line the bottom of the tin, when measuring this out, make 2 discs use one to line the bottom, then make a small hole in the centre of the other, then line the inside edge. Pour your cake batter into the tin, ensuring it is level. Then, line the outside of the tin, and secure with string. Lining the outside of the tin will protect the cake during the long slow baking process. Then, place your other disc of baking paper ( you know the one with the hole in it!) on top of the cake mixture.

Place this wrapped up delight into the oven and set your timer for 5 hours. Now I know that seems a long time, and every oven is different, but you must think of this cake as “setting” rather than baking. It won’t rise, it will just solidify!! After 4 hours, check your cake by inserting a clean flat knife into the centre. If it comes out clean, it’s done, if not, back in the oven it goes!!

When cooked, make sure you leave it to completely cool before wrapping and storing. I always double wrap in baking parchment. Then cling film. The cake is then placed in an airtight tin. Every two weeks, I feed the cake by pricking holes in the top and drizzling in Brandy.

Happy Baking !!!!!!

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