T – Christmas Cake Recipe 1

I wrote in the last edition of Happy Sunday #12, that I would be posting recipes of Christmas cakes, approximately 15 different recipes. I actually found the recipes on ”woman and home”. I will be posting 3 different recipes and that would make 5 parts. Stay tuned!!!!

Kicking off with……

Cake 1: The Whiskey Soaked Christmas Cake

400g (14oz) currants
175g (6oz) sultanas
175g (6oz) raisins
75g (3oz) dried apricots, chopped
75g (3oz) dried figs, chopped
50g (2oz) candied peel
5tbsp whisky
225g (8oz) plain flour
pinch salt
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp mixed spice
1/2tsp freshly grated nutmeg
225g (8oz) unsalted butter, softened
225g (8oz) soft dark brown sugar
4 eggs, beaten
65g (2 1/2oz) Brazil nuts, toasted and chopped
1tbsp black treacle
grated zest 1 lemon
grated zest 1 orange
Place 4 to 6 tablespoons apricot jam and 2 tablespoons water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer for about a minute, remove and strain through a sieve.

To decorate the cake, brush the apricot glaze liberally over the top and sides of the cake. Marzipan and ice the cake around 4 days before Christmas. Roll out the marzipan to fit and cover the sides and top of the cake. It’s best to leave the marzipan to dry out overnight before icing. Roll out the fondant icing to fit and cover sides and top of the cake.

Sift the flour, salt and spices into a bowl and set aside. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixture and beat on high speed until very soft, fluffy and pale in colour. Gradually add the eggs to the mixture, beating well all the time until all the egg is incorporated. Don’t worry if the mixture looks a little curdled at this stage – it will be fine once you add the flour.

Gently fold in the flour and spices, being careful not to knock out too much air. Fold in the whisky-soaked fruits, plus the Brazil nuts, treacle and lemon and orange zest, then spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Make a small indentation with the back of a teaspoon in the centre of the cake, so that the centre doesn’t rise. You want a nice even top.

Place a band of brown paper around the outside of the tin and cut another double thickness of bakewell paper to cover the top of the cake so that it doesn’t brown too much. Make a hole in the center of the bakewell paper the size of a £1 coin.
Place the cake on the lower shelf of the oven, and don’t be tempted to open the door until three-quarters of the way through cooking. To check that the cake is cooked, insert a skewer through the centre, and if there’s no wet mixture clinging to the skewer, then the cake is cooked. If not, return to the oven and test again after 20 minutes or until cooked.

Leave the cake to cool in the tin before wrapping well in double greaseproof paper and storing in an airtight tin. Rich fruitcakes can take up to 4 hours to cool. To “feed” the cake with whiskey, make a few holes in the top with a skewer and pour a couple of tea.

Additional details
Serves: 16-20
Prep time: 30 mins
Plus soaking and cooking time: 4 hrs
Total time: 4 hrs 30 mins
Cake 2: Rich Fruit Cake
150g  (5oz) glace cherries
350g (12oz) plain flour  
300g  (10oz) currants
500g  (1lb 2oz) sultanas
150g  (5oz) raisins
100g  (4oz) mixed peel
100g (4oz) chopped mixed nuts
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla or almond essence
grated rind 1 unwaxed lemon
grated rind 1 unwaxed orange
300g (10oz) butter
300g (10oz) light muscovado sugar
6 medium eggs
20cm square or 23cm round cake, greased and double lined with baking parchment

Set the oven at 150c/130fan/gas2.

Halve, rinse and dry the cherries, then place them in a large mixing bowl with the flour (reserve 1-2 tbsp ) and  everything except the butter, sugar and eggs.

In an other large bowl beat the butter and sugar until light, creamy and pale in colour. Beat the eggs, and gradually whisk into the butter and sugar beating well after each addition. Add the reserved 2 tablespoons of flour which will help prevent it curdling. Mix the butter and sugar mixture into the dried fruit, stirring well to ensure that everything is well mixed, the spread into the baking tin and smooth the top .

Place in the centre of the bowl and bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 1140c/fan120c/gas 1 and continue to cook for a further 3 hours (double check) until dark golden and firm to the touch.  Leave the cake to cool completely in the  tin. then turn out.

Additional details
Serves: 20
Prep time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 3 hrs 30 mins
Total time: 4 hrs
Skill level: Easy
Freeze: yes

To test if a cake is baked; it should feel firm, have begun to shrink from the side of the tin, and a skewer inserted in the centre should come out cleanly. If any sticky cake mixture is on the skewer return the cake to the oven to continue cooking 

The rich traditional fruit cake will keep for up to 4 months if stored properly. Leave the baking parchment on the cake as this help to keep in the moisture. Wrap the cake well in another layer of baking parchment and then place the cake in a cake tin rather than a sealed plastic container. Keep in a cool place, away from the central heating.
Cake 3: Chocolate Christmas Cake

100g (4oz) each sultanas and raisins
125g (4½oz) dried figs, chopped into 1cm (½in) pieces
75ml (3fl oz) port
150g (5oz) dark chocolate, broken 
into pieces
50g (2oz) treacle
100g (4oz) golden syrup
150g (5oz) plain flour
½tsp each mixed spice, ground cinnamon and baking powder
150g (5oz) butter, softened
125g (4½oz) soft dark brown sugar
3 large free-range eggs, lightly beaten

Place all the dried fruit and port in a large bowl, and leave to soak overnight.

Heat the oven to 140C, 120C fan, 275F, gas 1. To make the cake, melt the chocolate with the treacle and syrup in a medium saucepan over a gentle heat. Mix well to combine and leave to cool slightly. In a separate bowl, sift in the flour, mixed spice, cinnamon and baking powder.

Whisk the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light, pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs; add 1tbsp flour to prevent curdling. Fold in the flour and spice mix.

Fold in the melted chocolate mix and soaked fruits. Spoon into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Place on a low shelf in the oven and cook for 2 hours, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

To decorate, roll out the marzipan on a work surface lightly dusted with icing sugar to around 3mm (⅛in) thick and cut out a 20cm (8in) circle. Heat the jam in a pan, spread over the top of the cake and cover with the marzipan. The best way is to turn the cake upside down on to the marzipan, then trim to fit. Smooth to remove any lumps. Roll out the marzipan trimmings and cut out stars with a star cutter. Place around the edge of the cake, sticking them down with a little jam. If you like, blowtorch the top of the cake to brown, then spray with the gold spray.

Additional details
Serves: 10 to 12
Prep time plus overnight soaking: 40 mins
Cooking time: 2 hrs
Total time: 2 hrs 40 mins

20cm (8in) round cake tin, greased and double lined with baking parchment; cook’s blowtorch (optional); star cutter; Dr. Oetker Gold Shimmer Spray will also be needed.

For the decoration—
454g pack ready-to-roll marzipan
icing sugar, to dust
a few tbsp apricot jam, sieved, or Dr. Oetker Apricot Baking Glaze
                 Let’s get baking!!!! ^_^

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