Friday, 16 December 2011

What I will be eating this Christmas: Part II

This morning I’ve been making my Christmas cake. Yes, this morning. I do not believe you need to make your Christmas cake six months in advance to achieve a superior result. I must add though, that I don’t think my family have a old Christmas cake recipe passed down through the generations, as so many families do, so it’s not like we have any long-standing family rituals when it comes to Christmas cake.
In recent years, we have really enjoyed this recipe for a last-minute Christmas cake. Sadly, I am in the minority in our household for actually liking icing and marzipan, so we always go for a plain cake topped with nuts. This cake is very easy to make and once it’s cooked, you don’t need to feed it or ice it - it’s just ready to be wrapped up and kept until Christmas or cut immediately.
All I do in advance is put the fruit in a bowl to soak. This fruit has been left for 36 hours

Sticking with the theme of keeping it simple, I make this cake in my Kitchen Aid

Here's the cake ready to go in the oven, topped with whole brazil nuts

This recipe is adapted from a Delia Smith recipe, and can easily be adapted further to suit any food allergies. Replace the flour with 200g of Shipton Mill Wheat Free Blend and use gluten free baking powder in the same quantites for a gluten free cake. Use soya or sunflower margarine instead of butter for a dairy free option, and just omit the nuts for a nut free cake. It’s very straightforward to play with and works well every time.
Charlotte’s Kitchen Christmas Cake
Makes one large 8” cake
225g Self raising flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
150g butter
3 large eggs
150g dark muscovado sugar
2 teaspoons mixed spice
Zest of 1 orange
Zest of 1 lemon
100g chopped nuts
For the soaking:
150ml Spiced orange and clove brandy
400g Homemade mincemeat
100g prunes, chopped
100g glace cherries, wholw
175g cape sultanas
50g mixed peel
  1. Place all the ingredients in the soaking section into a bowl, mix well and leave to soak. I like to leave this for 36 hours if I can
  2. Preheat the oven to 170C/ Gas Mark 3
  3. Grease and line an 8” round cake tin
  4. Cream together the butter and sugar (I do this in my Kitchen Aid)
  5. Add the eggs and beat in
  6. Add the flour, baking powder and spices, and mix lightly
  7. Finally, add the soaked fruit and nuts and gently fold in until evenly combined
  8. Bake for 2 hours in the oven
  9. Leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes after removing from the oven, then leave to cool fully on a wire rack. 
  10. Wrap and enjoy in a couple of weeks’ time, or eat immediately.
A quick snap of the finished cake whilst cooling

Thinking about Christmas food, we’re going to buy our meat this weekend. I would like a rib of beef and a free range turkey crown. I hope to get this from the lovely Henry Herbert at Hobbs House Butchery. It was a great pleasure to meet Henry (and indeed his brother, Tom) at the Tetbury Food Festival, where I cooked earlier this year, so I plan to try their meat this year. 
Watch this space for more last-minute Christmas food next week!

1 comment:

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