Christmas is coming and this old goose is getting fat.Whether using Grandmother´s, mother´s or somebody else's recipe,It´s never tw'early to think about making the Christmas cake. My mother's recipe has long since disappeared and I have always made this rich dark fruit cake, from the writings of the late Michael Smith.It should be left for at least a month for its flavours to fully mature.This cake is good at any time of the year. Got a wedding in 2011 anybody? Dare I suggest you try eating fingers of it, as they do in Yorkshire, with a sliver of Wensleydale or Cheshire. or any other crumbly cheese for that matter.
RICH DARK FRUIT CAKE
Preparation time30 minutes ( plus overnight optional)
Cooking - 3- 31/2 hours
serves 30-40 ( get you Martha Stewart!!!!)
12oz/ 340g self-raising flour
1 dessertspoon mixed spice ( mace, cinnamon and ground cloves )
1/4 teaspoon salt
3oz / 85g sultanas
8oz/230g seedless muscatel raisins,chopped
6oz/ 170g glace cherries, halved
4oz/110g glace apricots, roughly chopped
4oz/ 110g stoned prunes, soaked overnight in rum and chopped
6oz/170g blanched almonds roughly crushed
4oz/110g mixed candied peel
10oz/280g moist brown sugar
5 large eggs beaten
4 Tablespoons treacle
Juice and grated zest of 1 large lemon
Light rum or brandy
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark3 ( 160ºC, 325ºF )
Sieve together the flour, spice and salt. In a large bowl mix together the fruits, nuts, peel and spiced flour coating all the fruits with the flour.In a second bowl cream the butter and sugar until quite light in colour. Beat in the eggs then the treacle, lemon juice and zest.
Combine the two mixtures in one bowl. Mix well, adding enough rum or brandy to arrive at a soft dropping consistency.
Butter and line the bottom and sides of a 7-8lb ( 3.2 - 3.6 kg ) square or round cake tin ( about 9in/23cm square or 10in/25.5 cm in diameter and 31/2in/9cm deep)with double buttered paper. Fill with mixture and level the top. bake for 1 hour, then reduce the temperature to gas mark 1 (140ºC, 275ºF ) for a further 2-21/2 hours.Test with a skewer to see when the cake is done. Leave to cool. Store for at least a month, spiking it with rum and or brandy once a week.
Cover with home made almond paste and royal icing if you like.Decorate the top with a snowman, Father Christmas, reindeer, Christmas tree,baubles, whatever. Its extra work but its camp, its naff and so old fashioned, I lurve it!!!