Last Sunday, quite a few of you stirred up your Christmas pudding along with me. I wondered if you might also like to make a Christmas cake this weekend? I’ve left it a little late this year, but I plan to overcome that terrible oversight by soaking the fruit in booze for a few days and then being very diligent about feeding the cake with yet more booze between now and Christmas.
The cake I’m making is based on one in The Constance Spry Cookery Book. I often turn to it when something very trad is required, and nothing’s quite so trad as Christmas. In my house, at least.
To start, assemble your fruit:
If you’ve already made a Christmas pudding, you’ve probably got quite a few of these ingredients kicking about already.
170g glace cherries, washed, patted dry and halved
170g crystallised, chopped, mixed peel
Finely grated zests of 2 oranges and 1 lemon
Mix the fruit together in a bowl with 200ml sherry (I used Solera Jerezana Rich Cream, Lustau) and 50ml brandy. If you prefer, you could use all brandy, or stout or port. Add the finely grated zest of two oranges and a lemon and stir again. Cover tightly with cling film and leave in a cool, dark place for three days, giving it a good stir every day to make sure the fruit is evenly soaked.
The rest of the shopping list for the cake:
225g unsalted butter
225g light muscovado sugar
Cinnamon, ground cloves, mixed spice, ground nutmeg
Small tin black treacle
250ml apple juice, cider or milk
Bicarbonate of soda
125ml rum or brandy
Got it? Great. See you at the weekend.