Ho Ho Ho….Xmas Cake anyone?

Ho, ho, ho…..Xmas Cake for anyone?  Xmas is fast approaching, and in fact it’s past time Christmas cakes should be made!  Early September is the ideal time to make them, but it’s not too late to do them now.  It simply means they won’t be as dosed and as boozy as the ones made earlier on!

This year, I decided my friends xmas gifts would be Christmas cakes, decorated with my newly gained sugarcraft skills.  Nothing better, than getting a really good homemade xmas cake, considering how pricey they are in the shops, esp. the seriously delicious ones.

Now I have never made these cakes before, so I experimented and made 4 recipes, namely:-

Since the BBC recipes, can be seen via clicking my links, I won’t repeat them, except to provide some useful tips about each of them:

  • General tip:  Your cake tins need to be lined.  I line them with 4 layers of brown wrapping paper for the sides of the tin, and then 5 layers for the bottom of the tin.  Once baked & fully cooled, I keep them in these layers, and then cover it with plastic wrap/cling wrap.  And then cover it completely with tinfoil, making them ‘air-tight’.  Furthermore, I place this then in an air-tight container, taking out only when I require to dose the cake!
  • BBC Good Food Hot Toddy Fruitcake:

    Can be made without alcohol, which is replaced with orange juice!
    Key ingredients (excl butter, eggs, flour etc): whiskey, black tea, marmalade, mixed dried fruits, mixed peel, glaced cherries, mixed spice, ground cinnamon, lemon.
    Whiskey is the dosing alcohol, if you don’t enjoy this, then simply replace with brandy or rum!
    Mixed Dried Fruits: the choice is yours, I used dried cranberries, sultanas & raisins.  Choose what you prefer in terms of flavors!
    Mixed peel is really mixed citrus peels.
    There are no nuts in this cake, however you can add them to the recipe, without changing the recipe.  I would suggest between 100-200g.  Usual choices are walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and pecans, and roughly chopped.

  • BBC Good Food Honey Saffron Christmas Cake (my personal favorite!)

    Key ingredients (excl butter, eggs, flour etc): brandy, saffron, ground almonds, raisins, sultanas, glace cherries, mixed peel, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, honey
    The alcohol can be substituted with another if you prefer, such as whiskey, frangelico liqueur, rum etc
    Raisins or sultanas or glace cherries can be substituted in equal amounts with other dried fruits, such as cranberries etc
    Nuts can also be substituted in equal amounts with other types of nuts, such as pistachios, pecans etc

  • BBC Orlando Murrin’s Deluxe Christmas Cake 

    Now this is an expensive xmas cake, due to the amount of glaced fruits& nuts it contains!  I made this one specially for my mom this year, since she adores xmas cakes!
    Key ingredients (excl butter,eggs, flour):  whiskey, sultanas, glace cherries, semi-dried pineapple, stem ginger, crystallized fruits, walnuts, lemon
    The alcohol can be substituted with another, if you prefer, such as brandy, rum etc
    Nuts can be substituted in equal amounts with another type of nut or mix, such as pecans, almonds, pistachios etc
    Dried fruits: I replaced the semi-dried pineapple with cranberries; the crystallized fruits can be any mix of them, such as pears, figs, pineapples, orange slices, melon etc).

  • Mom’s Xmas Cake Recipe (please refer to below for the actual recipe)
    Nuts can be substituted to your preference
    Key Ingredients: dried fruit, glaced cherries, dates, stem ginger, almonds, wlanuts, brandy, mixed spice.
    Alcohol, can be substituted as wellDried fruits, can be replaced with whatever dried fruits you prefer, but need to be ones that can absorb moisture!
    If you don’t like dates and/or ginger, then simply replace that amount with additional dried fruits.

In terms of how to decorate or cover these cakes, I will follow this up with another blog in November, providing you with all the details OR you can use the coverings/decor as suggested by the above links for the various cake recipes suggested.

Mom’s Xmas Cake Recipe (makes 1*30cm diameter cake)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound (225g) butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds (675g) brown sugar
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 pounds (675g) dried fruit (i.e. a mix of sultanas, raisins and mixed citrus peel)
  • 1/2 (225g) pound dates
  • 2 ounces (60g) stem or crystalized ginger
  • 2 ounces (60g) almonds (roughly chopped)
  • 2 ounces (60g) walnuts (roughly chopped)
  • 3 TBS brandy
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, dissolved in 1 TBSP cold water
  • 5 eggs
  • 4 tsp mixed spice

How to make?

  1. Chop all fruit & nuts
  2. Line tin (minimum 3 layers of brown paper for sides, and 5 layers of brown paper for bottom)
  3. Cream butter & sugar together, gradually adding the eggs, until well mixed.
  4. Add the flour and spices to the mixture.
  5. Now add the all the fruit & nuts, as well as the brandy.
  6. Mix the water with the bicarbonate, ensure well mixed, and then add to the above mixture.  Mix well.
  7. Place mixture into the lined tin container.
  8. Bake for 1 hour at 150 degrees celsius (300 Fahrenheit), then for a further 2 hours at 125 degrees celsius (250 Fahrenheit) and then for a further hour at 100 degrees celsius (200 Fahrenheit).
    Dependent on your oven being convection fan, gas etc, you sometimes have to back up to a further hour at the lowest temperature.  Simply check if your cake is baked, but putting in a skewer.  If it comes out clean, your cake is baked, if not, then keep baking it for increments of 10 minutes, until the skewer comes out clean.
  9. When it comes out the oven, dose immediately whilst it is hot, with 3 TBSP brand.
  10. When completely cold, you will wrap it with cling-wrap/plastic-wrap, and then wrap it in tinfoil, so its completely enclosed.  And then place into an air-tight container.  Dose once a week with 1-3 TBSP of brandy.  The amount is dependent on how strong you want it, and how long you are dosing it for!  I’ve been dosing 1 1/2 TBSP each week since September.
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