My mum’s a great cook and every year since I can remember she has made a Christmas cake or two! It is always a big event - the soaking of the fruit a few days before, hours in the oven on baking day, the rum poured over it as soon as it comes out of the oven, and then the hours it must spend cooling down, to be wrapped and stored! This is her recipe.
serves about 30
what you need
750g mixed dried fruits
125g pitted dried dates
125g glace cherries
½ cup (110g) each chopped glace fig, glace apricots and glace peaches
¼ cup (55g) each chopped glace ginger, glace pear and glace pineapple
250g blanched almonds
1/3 cup (80ml) brandy
250g butter, at room temperature, chopped
125g brown sugar
125g caster sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
250g plain flour
30g self-raising flour
1 tsp cocoa powder
½ tsp each ground cinnamon and nutmeg
pinch of salt
what you do
1. Soak the dried fruits, glace fruits and half of the almonds in the brandy, at least 24hrs prior to baking the cake.
2. Preheat the oven to 180 deg C (160 deg C fan forced) and line a 22cm (base measurement) square cake tin with 2 layers of foil, leaving a decent overlap to be used later to wrap the cooked cake.
3. Using electric beaters, beat the butter and sugars in a large bowl until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the golden syrup. Sift the flours, cocoa powder, spices and salt over, and mix well.
4. Add the soaked fruit mixture, and stir through until evenly dispersed. Transfer to the prepared tin, and smooth the surface. Decorate the top with the remaining almonds.
5. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 130 deg C (110 deg C fan forced) and bake for another 4 hours. Remove the cake from the oven and pour the rum over the hot cake. Leave in the tin to cool for 2 hours, then fold the foil over to cover the top surface. Wrap the cake (still in tin) in 2 sheets of newspaper and 2 clean tea towels, and leave overnight to cool completely.
Note: If you can’t find any of the glace fruit types, you can substitute with a different glace fruit, or increase one of the others up to the total amount.
Storage: Remove the tea towels and newspaper, then lift the cake from the tin, still in the foil lining. Store in an airtight container in the pantry. The cake will keep for up to 3 months – but rarely will it remain uneaten for this length of time!
GF option: Substitute brown rice flour for the flours and add one teaspoon gluten-free baking powder.
glace fruit also known as crystallized fruit or candied fruit, has been around since the 14th century. Whole fruit, smaller pieces of fruit, or pieces of peel, are placed in heated sugar syrup, which absorbs the moisture from within the fruit and eventually preserves it.
© Recipe - Naked Food - the way food was meant to be by Jane Grover