CHRISTMAS IS COMING!
I always look forward to the day I bake my Christmas cake because it feels like it’s officially the beginning of Christmas… Perhaps that’s why I bake mine in September. And yes, there will be Christmas music coz it’s never too early for a bit of Bublé or some good ol’ Bing.
For so long I’ve been making the same Christmas cake. I looked at recipes from the greats (hello, Delia) and honed it over the years. The truth is, Gen’s Christmas Cake has never let me down, and if you prefer the more traditional flavours – check it out. But with this recipe, I used the same formula, mixed up the flavours, and the result was simply delicious. So, now I’m committed to making two Christmas cakes every year (which is no bad thing).
If you can’t make yours as crazily early as I do, then try to make it at least 4 weeks before the big day so you get in some decent maturing time and can feed it with plenty of booze.
RECIPE: FIG & PEAR CHRISTMAS CAKE
MAKES: 1 x 18CM CAKE
- 125g DRIED FIGS, diced
- 125g DATES, diced
- 120g DRIED PEARS, diced
- 200g MIXED RAISINS & SULTANAS
- 30g DRIED SWEET CHERRIES
- 1/2 ORANGE, zest and juice only
- 75g SPICED RUM (plus extra for feeding)
- 60g GOLDEN SYRUP
- 140g BUTTER
- 100g BROWN SUGAR
- 30g DATE SYRUP
- 2 EGGS, beaten
- 175g FLOUR
- 15g CRYSTALISED GINGER, finely diced
- 40g GROUND ALMONDS
- 1 tsp. GROUND GINGER
- 1/4 tsp. GROUND CLOVES
- 1/2 tsp. GROUND CARDAMOM
- 1/2 tsp. GROUND NUTMEG
- 3/4 tsp. GROUND CINNAMON
- 1/2 tsp. SALT
- The night before, chop and weigh out the DRIED FIGS, DATES, DRIED PEARS, RAISINS & SULTANAS and DRIED SWEET CHERRIES, ORANGE ZEST & JUICE and place in a large mixing bowl with the SPICED RUM. Give it a good stir, ensuring that the fruit is evenly covered. Cover bowl with a tea towel and leave overnight for the rum to absorb.
- The next day: Preheat oven to 120c. Line the bottom of an 18cm springform cake tin with greaseproof paper.
- To the mixing bowl of dried fruit, add the GOLDEN SYRUP, DATE SYRUP and CRYSTALISED GINGER. Stir well.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the BUTTER and SUGAR until it is light and fluffy.
- With the whisk running, slowly add the BEATEN EGGS so that the mixture doesn’t curdle.
- Sift in the FLOUR and all the spices (GROUND GINGER, GROUND CLOVES, GROUND CARDAMOM, GROUND NUTMEG and GROUND CINNAMON). Add the GROUND ALMONDS and SALT. Gently fold it in.
- Add the Dried Fruit Mixture and fold it in.
- Spoon the mixture in to the cake tin.
- Cover loosely with greaseproof paper and bake for 4 hours.
- Pierce the top of the cake with a skewer and sprinkle half a capful of Spiced Rum.
- Keep the cake well wrapped in greaseproof paper. I put mine in a tin (an old Quality Street or Roses tin would be perfect) and store in a cool dark place until Christmas.