My friend Candace a.k.a. @C_Joy from http://twitter.com/ asked for the Christmas cake recipe that I mentioned in my "Time Marches On" post. Only too happy to oblige!
This recipe is adapted from the book "Delia Smith's Christmas". Delia being the British Queen of family cooking. It's actually billed as "Last-Minute Christmas Mincemeat Cake". The name attracted me because the first time I made it (in my pre-Flylady days), it was a few days before Christmas and, despite the chaos around me, I wanted to have a traditional British Christmas cake.
Even if I'm not too keen on fruit cake - apart, of course, from the thick white icing (which I am now allowed to pick-off, because I'm Mum and I made it) - Christmas just isn't Christmas without one.
Even though I now bake my Christmas cake well in advance, I still use this recipe because it's easy and doesn't require 10 different spices (Denmark is still a bit of a developing country when it comes to baking ingredients). The kids and I bake it together in the school's autumn week holiday - yes, it's even written in my diary.
- 450 g mincemeat from a jar (1lb)
- 225 g wholemeal flour (80z)
- 3 level teaspoons baking powder
- 150 g dark brown sugar (5 oz)
- 150 g butter or margarine (5 oz)
- 175 g mixed dried fruit, chopped into small pieces (6 oz) [I use whatever I have handy - normally prunes, raisins, apricots, cranberries]
- 50 g walnuts (2 oz) [yuck, don't like nuts in cakes, so I don't use them ;) ]
- grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon [I don't always bother]
- 3 eggs
Put everything in a large bowl. Mix with an electric hand whisk if you have one because this mixture is pretty heavy. Get everyone in the family to stir it with a big wooden spoon (just for theatrical effect) and make a wish. Naf, I know, but that has become our little Danish/Scottish family's tradition.
Pour into a 20 cm (8 inch) round or square cake tin. Make sure the base and sides are lined with paper, because it's going to be cooking for a looooong time.
Put into the oven gas mark 4, 325 fahrenheit, 170 celcius. Check it after 1½ hours. If it is firm and springy in the middle and doesn't leave a mark when you press it, it's done. Otherwise give it a bit longer (can take up to 2 hrs in all). Depends on your mincemeat, what fruit you're using etc.
Leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes, then turn out and finish cooling on a wire rack. Don't bother taking off the paper.
I then wrap mine in tinfoil, put it in a plastic box and feed it once a week (an integral part of my WHB each Monday morning up to Christmas).
Feeding it involves poking it several times with a skewer, then drizzling with a couple of tablespoons of Drambuie (Scottish whisky liqueur). Or cognac, Grand Marnier, brandy - whatever you happen to have to hand (can't really be tasted in the final cake, mainly gives a richness to the fruit).
Just make sure that whatever you use is fairly alcoholic. Because the 'proof' of the cake is in the eating... boom boom!