While the good people pray at church for the world’s salvation, I enjoy everything else, the decorations, music, food and weather, I know, I’m terribly naughty!
I went an baked:
- Mary Berry’s Rich Fruit cake. From Mary Berry’s Baking Bible.
- Nigella Lawson’s:Ultimate Christmas pudding & Star topped mince pies.
- Panettone Milanese.
- A gingerbread Globe. (Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre)
- Lorraine Pascale’s ginger and cinnamon stained-glass cookies.
Let me just say that I did not serve all at once. We had the Christmas pudding on Christmas eve, Fruit Cake on boxing day, and mince pies the following days. Cookies were placed as edible decorations for the tree, the Globe was proudly decorating the living room until one of my cats started to eat it until she finally crushed it down. As for the Panettone, we had it earlier in October!
You will need:
- 175 g red or natural glacé cherries.
- 350 g currants.
- 225 g sultanas. (If you don’t fancy sultanas or raisins you can swap them for prunes).
- 225 g raisins
- 175 g chopped ready-to-eat dried apricots.
- 75 g finely chopped candied peel.
- 4 tbsp brandy, plus extra to feed the cake. ….I used ½ cup to soak the fruits. And the rest of the bottle to feed the cake over a month!
- 275 g plain flour.
- ½ level teaspoon grated nutmeg.
- ½ level teaspoon ground mixed spice.
- 400 g softened butter.
- 400 g dark muscovado sugar.
- 5 large eggs.
- 65 g chopped almonds.
- 1 tablespoon black treacle.
- grated rind of 1 lemon.
- grated rind of 1 orange.
I used glacé cherries, halved pecans and apricot jam.
1 Cut the cherries into quarters, put the cherries, currants, sultanas, raisins, apricots and chopped candied peel into a large bowl. Stir in the brandy, cover the bowl and leave in a cool place overnight. (I actually did this a week in advance, it’s worth it, trust me).
The next day, (or week) pre-heat the oven to 140°C/Fan 120°C/Gas 1. Grease a 23 cm deep round cake tin then line the base and sides with a double layer of baking parchment.
In a bowl, mix all the ingredients and beat to mix thoroughly. Do not use an electric mixer or you will shred the fruit. Fold in the soaked fruits, then spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and spread out evenly with the back of the spoon.
Cover the top of the cake loosely with a double layer of baking parchment and bake in the pre-heated oven for 4–4½ hours, until the cake feels firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin then, when the cake is almost cold, turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.
I then transferred the cake to another mould (same size) with a layer of baking parchment, pierced the base with a fine skewer and every day I fed it with 5-6 tbsp of brandy for a month. And no…I totally did not have a sip of brandy every time, how dare you!
Make sure to wrap it in a double layer of parchment and then in foil. According to Mary B. you can store it in a cool place for up to 3 months, feeding at intervals with more brandy.
Before serving I decorated with glacé cherries, halved pecans and brushed them with apricot jam.
This recipe is embarrassingly easy, so there’s really no excuse to spend so much money on a dry and vile fruit cake when you can make this gorgeous, rich and moist cake.