Orange flour

Gran’s Christmas Cake

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No Christmas is complete without the main event – Christmas cake. To my mother’s great disappointment, I do not hide the fact that I think my Gran makes the best Christmas cake, so I shall share this recipe with you all (although perhaps a touch too late so you shall have to make it next year!).

Ingredients:

– 12oz self-raising

– 1/2 tsp salt

1 dessert sp mixed spice

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/4 lb ground almonds

1 lb currants

1 lb raisins

1 lb sultanas

1/2 lb chopped glacé cherries

1/4 lb chopped blanched almonds

1/2 lb chopped whole mixed citrus peel

rind and juice of 1 large lemon

12oz unsalted butter

10oz soft light and dark brown sugar (my gran says she mixed a ratio according to whatever she has in the cupboards, but if you have enough sugar, it would make sense to do 5oz of each)

8 large eggs

(1 large egg + dash of milk)

4+4 tbsp brandy

apricot glaze (of apricot jam warmed and put through a sieve to remove pulp)

yellow marzipan

white ready-to-roll icing

Method:

(preheat oven to 150*c double line an 8″ square baking tin with baking paper and wrap the tin in 2 payers of brown paper which protrudes 2″ above the tin)

– sift dry ingredients, then add mixed fruits and stir together

– in another bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, then add the lemon rind

– beat in 8 eggs one at a time

– stir wet ingredients into dry, then add the lemon juice and 4tbsp brandy and mix well

– at this point, the mixture should be soft and moist – according to the consistency of your mixture, you may want to add the extra egg and a dash of milk specified in the ingredients list

– spoon mixture into your baking tin and level off with a spoon

– bake at 150*c for 1 1/2 hours, then reduce temperature to 125*c and bake for a further 3-3 1/2 hours until cooked through

* if your cake is browning too quickly on top, cover loosely with a little baking paper

– when out of the oven, allow cake to cool completely, then wrap in foil and store for 6 weeks

– a week of so before Christmas, unwrap your cake and lay upside down in the foil

– prick cake with a skewer and drizzle over 4tbsp brandy to soak in

– recover cake with foil and leave for a few days before icing

**ice your cake upside down so that you have a perfectly flat, squared edge surface

– to ice, gently warm your apricot glaze and paint over the whole cake, including the sides

– first cover with a layer of yellow marzipan (rolled out to around 2-3mm thick) then with a layer of ready-to-roll white icing (rolled out to the same thickness as the marzipan)

to decorate:

This is where you can let your imagination wander into the glorious world of christmas fun. Each year, I leave the tedious job of perfectly icing the cake to mum, but the task of decorating is down to me. I have previously turned the cake into a giant present, painted on baubles and topped it with a glittery snowman, but this year is my favourite creating yet. A lovely little christmas tree scene complete with adorable napping cat. I used coloured roll-out icing to create little presents, a rug and the cake and then mixed green food colouring and cornflakes into melted white chocolate to then form into a cone with the help of some baking paper lines cardboard for the tree. Finish off with some squeezy glitter icing and silver balls and hey-presto – a christmas tree!

Send in a photo of your design and have it displayed on this post! 🙂

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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(Below: the original cake made by Granny Annie :-))

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