It may seem a little early to start talking about Christmas but if you want to make the perfect cake for the big day then it is essential to start now. This is because you can keep feeding your cake until just a couple of days before serving ensuring it will be rich and juicy. Below is a great recipe to get you started on making a great cake for this year’s festivities!
120g Small Dark Currents
50g Chopped Apricots
200g Glare Cerries
110gMixed Dried Peel
250g Unsalted Butter
200g Muscovado Sugar
5 Whole Free Range Eggs
Handful of Walnuts
300g Plain Flour
Mixing together the ingredients:
The first thing you would need to do is to obtain a bowl large enough to hold the huge range of fruits that you will have. You should put your raisins, sultanas, small dark currents, chopped apricots, figs and dates into the bowl. You should also include your halved glace cherries and mixed dried peel at this point. Once all the ingredients are in the bowl, you should then pour over the whiskey and the grated zest and juice of one orange.
This should then be mixed together and left to soak overnight. This will ensure that the aforementioned fruits will flesh out, creating a really rich juicy cake when it’s done.
Beating the butter and sugar
Start with 250g of unsalted butter which should be at room temperature and add 200g of muscovado sugar. This type of sugar will embody a caramel sort of flavour and gives the cake a nice depth and colour. You should then beat this mixture until light and fluffy.
Once the mixture is nice and light and fluffy then you will need to add five free range eggs. It is important that all of the eggs go in together at the same time. Then all you have to do is whisk the mixture until slightly curdled. This may seem unnatural but once all the other ingredients are mixed together it will be nice and smooth.
After this you should take the mixed fruits that you have prepared and tips these into the beaten mix at the same time. At this stage you should also ensure that any remaining liquid at the bottom of the bowl that the fruits have been soaked in are also added. This will make the mixture juicy and plump.
Next you should add your pecans and macadamias to the mixture, if these nuts are not to your taste then simply replace for alternative nuts. Then you should add 300g of plain flour and mix gently until the flour is just covered by the mixture.
Now your mixture is ready, you should pour it into a tin ready to go into the oven. Around a 25cm bottom caked tin will be fine. However, it is important that that the tin has been greased and lined with some baking paper. You should spoon the mixture into the tin, ensuring there is an even spread. You should flatten the mix with a spatula so that when it comes to icing there is a nice, smooth and even base.
It is important to preheat your oven at a temperature of 150 degrees centigrade. It is also advisable to wrap a double layer of baking paper around the outside of the tin, so that the cake doesn’t burn on the outside. You can tie this with some string or tuck into the paper itself.
Once the cake has been in the oven for three hours, you should check to see if it’s cooked. You can do this by inserting a skewer into the cake. If it comes out clean then it is cooked, if not it requires longer. If the cake is going dark on top the cut out a circular piece of baking paper and place on top. Check every twenty minutes for a further one hour until cooked.
To get the maximum flavour out of your cake it is advisable to make it about six weeks before consumption. If you’re going to do this however, you will need to wrap the cake in baking paper and then some tin foil. This should then be put in air tight container and stored in a cool dry place. You’re then able to feed the cake right up until Christmas. All you have to do is create a couple of holes on the surface of the cake with a cocktail stick and pour a few tea spoons of either whiskey or brandy in every week.
Finishing the cake
To finalise the cake you should smother it with apricot jam. Once this is done you should do the same with marzipan and both processes should be done approximately two week before Christmas. This will then create a glue for the icing. However, the icing should be left until only one week before Christmas so that it doesn’t turn yellow by the jam and the marzipan. Finally, after iceing the cake one week before the big day, you are then able to add simple decorations such as a sprig of holly.