My friend Angela has been a great supporter of this blog since it started. She is also known for her sublime Christmas cakes. I do not bake cakes, and would not know where to begin with anything like a Christmas cake, so I was delighted when Angela agreed to guest blog her Christmas cake. I agree with her wholeheartedly about marzipan. Thank you Angela!
It’s not every day the ‘galloping gourmet’ gets to share centre stage with Mrs Gusto, so I would like to thank her for allowing me a little indulgence.
As a friend of Mrs Gusto I have noticed a change in her demeanour since she has entered the world of blogging, in particular how her eyes now glaze over when we go out for a meal and food is served. I’m getting use to the curious glances of fellow diners as she produces her camera and shrieks ‘stop’, more often than not when my fork is mid air. Many a time I have been left gaping like a goldfish!
So with Christmas upon us you can imagine the excitement when Mrs Gusto discovered I was baking my Christmas cake. Sadly, it is no secret recipe passed down the generations just a simple and easy recipe I picked up in a supermarket many years ago. It has stood the test of time and is moist enough if you want to serve any leftovers as a Christmas pudding.
375 g Raisins
125g mix peel, chopped
125g glace cherries quartered
60g blanched almonds, chopped
250g butter, softened
1 ¼ cup brown sugar
2 ½ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon mixed spice
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
The most important ritual before you begin is to soak your fruit in copious amounts of brandy. If you dislike even the smell of brandy as I do, then pinch your nose! You can also use sherry or rum. I usually soak my fruit for a good week. So with this in mind let us begin!
Mix together the raisins, sultanas, mixed peel, cherries, currants and almonds. Sprinkle with brandy, cover the bowl in cling film and leave to stand for up to a week (24 hours would be fine)
Combine the softened butter and brown sugar and beat until creamy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition
Sift together the flour, spices and salt, and add alternately to the mixture with the combined fruit and nuts. Mix thoroughly.
Place the mixture in a 20cm square or round cake tin, which has been lined with two layers each of aluminium foil (or brown paper) and greaseproof paper and bake in a SLOW oven for about 4 hours, or until cooked when tested.
I have a strong aversion to marzipan icing so I don’t ice my cakes. Instead I’ve always eaten fruit cake with a slice of Wesleydale cheese; I thought everyone did this but apparently not. If you haven’t tried fruit cake with a good tasty cheese you simply must!