Christmas Cake

Richie Wilson's festive Christmas cake.

Ingredients


  • 350 g dark brown sugar
  • 350 g margarine
  • 450 g currants
  • 350 g sultanas
  • 350 g raisins
  • 150 g maraschino cherries
  • 150 g mixed cut peel
  • 150 g chopped almond
  • 2 grated lemon zest
  • grated orange zest
  • 425 g plain flour
  • 1.50 tsp mixed spice
  • 1.50 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 75 g ground almonds
  • 7 large eggs
  • 3 tblsp whiskey

Method

  1. Preparation
  2. Preparation is the key when you are cooking anything but when it comes to the Christmas cake it is essential to be ready.
  3. Begin by soaking the fruit over night, if possible with the whiskey.
  4. Preparing your tin
  5. Put the chosen tin on a double sheet of greaseproof paper and draw the size required with a pen or pencil.
  6. Now cut the paper to the required size. This will be for the bottom of the tin.
  7. Cut a double strip of paper that encircles the tin with about an inch over lap and 2 inches higher than the depth of the tin.
  8. Lay the double sheet out flat and fold up 1 inch along the length of the strip. Use a scissors at an angle to the fold and cut at 1 inch intervals along the length of the fold. This will allow the paper to curl at the bottom of the tin later.
  9. Use a little melted margarine to brush the tin or use the paper foil from the margarine to rub it in well. Now place the strip of paper inside the tin with the pleats at the bottom lying inwards towards the centre of the tin.
  10. Lightly grease the paper circles before placing them in the bottom of the tin over the pleats.
  11. It’s a good idea to protect the sides of the tin while cooking to prevent the cake becoming dry on the edges. To do this simply cut a double sheet of brown paper to overlap the edge of the tin by an inch or so and come over the top of the tin by an inch.
  12. Place this around the tin and use a good string to tie in place.
  13. You should also place 2-3 layers of brown paper on the baking tray before placing the tin on top.
  14. Ensure that you have weighed out all of your ingredients in front of you before you begin.
  15. Sieve together the flour, mixed spice and nutmeg into a large bowl and set to one side.
  16. Whisk the eggs until light and fluffy, set to one side.
  17. Using a mixer, cream the margarine and sugar together until it has become lighter in colour. Add in a little flour and slowly add in the beaten eggs, adding in a little more flour as you go with each egg added.
  18. Turn this mix out into a large mixing bowl.
  19. Fold in the remaining flour and spice mix, alternating between the soaked fruit and flour until they are all added.
  20. Ensure everything is mixed well but do not over mix. Place the mix into the prepared tin. Use the back of a wet tablespoon to smooth the mixture down. Press a little harder with the spoon into the centre of the cake mix leaving a slight crater, this is to try and achieve an even surface as the cake rises making it easier to ice later.
  21. Place the cake on top of the prepared brown paper and into the centre of a pre heated oven at 140 degrees for 5-6 hours. You can begin to check on the cake after 3 hours, mainly because ovens vary so much. You can reduce the temperature slightly if you wish at this point or cover the top of the cake with foil or greaseproof paper for the last hour to ensure the top doesn’t burn.
  22. To test the cake, warm a mettle skewer a little before putting it into the centre of the cake. If any of the cake mix is left on the skewer when you remove it, it requires further cooking!
  23. Once cooked through allow the cake to stand in the tin to cool overnight before removing the paper. Prick a few holes in the top and drizzle the first of your chosen spirit over the top. Wrap it tightly in greaseproof paper and store in a cool dry place. Not the fridge.

Notes:

Richie's tips: You can soak the fruit with the whiskey overnight to bring out an extra strong flavor in the ingredients. Let the cake cook for ¾ of the baking time before checking (unless you can see it is overheating). Opening the door, banging the door or moving the cake before it has set can cause it to sink dramatically. To give the fruit cake a real punch, unwrap it each week and prick a few holes in the top before drizzling over 2-3 tblsp of brandy or whiskey. Make sure you wrap it tightly once again before storing.





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