Having done a couple of mini sugar craft courses I’m hoping to put some of those skills to the test.Today marked the start of the prep for the cake – getting the fruit very drunk by soaking it in sherry! I’m soaking it for a week and then I’ll make the cake next Sunday. (You need to make the cake at least 3 weeks before you want to eat it).
I’m using a Mary Berry recipe and crossing my fingers that my first Christmas cake lives up to my mums!This is the recipe if you’d like to use it and I'll post each stage as I go!
- 175g (6 oz) raisins
- 350g (12 oz) glace cherries, rinsed, thoroughly dried and quartered
- 500g (1lb 2oz) currants
- 350g (12oz) sultanas
- 150ml (¼ pint) sherry, plus extra for feeding
- Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
- 250g (9oz) butter, softened
- 250g (9oz) light muscovado sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 tbsp black treacle
- 75g (3oz) blanched almonds, chopped (I used more raisins here instead of nuts)
- 75g (3oz) self-raising flour
- 175g (6oz) plain flour
- 1½ tsp mixed spice
Put all the dried fruit in a container, pour over the sherry and stir in the orange zest. Cover with a lid, and leave to soak for 3 days, stirring daily. Grease and line a 23cm (9in) deep round tin with a double layer of greased greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 140ºC/Fan 120ºC/Gas Mark 1.
Measure the butter, sugar, eggs, treacle and almonds into a very large bowl and beat well. Add the flours and mixed spice and mix thoroughly until blended. Stir in the soaked fruit. Spoon into the prepared cake tin and level the surface.
Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 4-4½ hours or until the cake feels firm to the touch and is a rich golden brown. Check after 2 hours, and, if the cake is a perfect colour, cover with foil. A skewer inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin.
When cool, pierce the cake at intervals with a fine skewer and feed with a little extra sherry. Wrap the completely cold cake in a double layer of greaseproof paper and again in foil and store in a cool place for up to 3 months, feeding at intervals with more sherry. (Don't remove the lining paper when storing as this helps to keep the cake moist.)