It is almost 30 days to Christmas, and time for the perfect Christmas cake. This has been a ritual in my home to make cake and cookies for Christmas. In Bangladesh, not many people bake Christmas cakes. But my love for cakes has just given me another good reason to dance around in my kitchen and prepare the ultimate fruit cake infused in orange juice or brandy. My friends come over on Christmas Eve and we eat together and cut the cake with a bang. I love to decorate it with whipped cream and also put my plastic Santa and ice-man. Few years back my friends got me a gingerbread house; I took out the toppers and kept it and using it ever since every year on my cakes.
The internet is full of cake recipes especially made for Christmas. I have tried quite a few and came up with my own recipe. But my basic recipe has been an all time BBC good food favorite by James Martin. This is an easy recipe and I use whatever local fruits and items I can get. After making it, I regularly feed the cake with best quality brandy or orange juice. Decorating it with fondant is also a great option, however as I don’t like the taste of fondant much, I keep it simple and use whipped cream instead. Vanilla Ice-cream can also be served with it.
Here is the recipe for you to try:
600gm mixed dried fruits (use a mix of
raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries,
Orange rind 80 gm and juice of 4 oranges
zest and juice 1 lemon
150ml brandy or rum,
plus extra for feeding
250g pack butter, softened
200g light soft brown sugar
175g plain flour
100g ground almonds
½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground mixed spice (ginger, nutmeg, mace)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Put the dried fruit, rinds and juice, brandy, butter and sugar in a large pan set over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 mins. Tip the fruit mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool.
Heat oven to 200c. Line a deep 20cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment. Add the remaining ingredients to the fruit mixture and stir well, making sure there are no pockets of flour. Tip into your prepared tin, level the top with a spatula and bake in the centre of the oven for 45-50 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over 2 tbsp of your chosen brandy or orange juice. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.
To store, peel off the baking parchment, then wrap well in cling film. Feed the cake with 1-2 tbsp alcohol every week, until you ice it. Don’t feed the cake for the final week to give the surface a chance to dry before icing.
Make your Christmas cake now.