I’ve always wanted to make a proper Christmas Cake from scratch but it’s always seemed a bit ambitious for me! And besides, my mum has always made the Christmas Cake and it just seems like a ‘mummy’ thing to do at Christmas. Newsflash……. I am the mummy now – eeeek!!! Seems a bit surreal when I say it like that. Do you have anything that you still think of as ‘a job for mum’ – but YOU ARE the mum??
My mum is coming to Sydney for Christmas this year (Yipeeee), so I though I had better make an effort and get this Christmas Cake baked. I decided to make Nigella Lawson’s Christmas cake recipe in the thermomix, because really – you can’t beat Nigella at Christmas time!
I opened up the book and the first sentence said ‘This cake should be made about 3 months prior to Christmas Day”. OOOOPS!! Well that’s a fail before I’ve even started! I bet my mum knew that!!
The reason you have to make it so early is that is needs to be fed with a little brandy every week until Christmas. I figured if I just fed it a little extra then I’d be just fine making it now (I hope).
So here goes…… (Oh and although I have used my thermomix, I didn’t really need it this time, so this recipe can quite easily be made without it).
850g mixed fruit (currents, sultanas, raisons etc)
100g glace cherries chopped into halves
75g mixed peel
75g slivered almonds
350g plain flour
1 tsp cinnemon
3/4 tsp mixed spice
200g soft brown sugar
A few capfuls of brandy (I’ll let you decide how many is a few)
- Mix the dried fruits with the cherries and the peel in a large bowl. Add a few capfuls of Brandy (I added 3 I think – or maybe 4??). Mix it all together and wrap the bowl in a tea towel. Leave it to soak for around 24 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
- Add the butter to the thermomix and cream is really well on speed 6/7 for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and cream again for another 10 seconds.
- Add the sugar and cream together with the butter until it’s light and fluffy. Speed 7 for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and repeat.
- Weigh out the flour and put it in a separate bowl.
- Add the eggs one at a time with a table spoon of flour. Beat for about 5 seconds on speed 5 for each one. I had never done this flour trick before when beating eggs – Nigella says it stops the mixture from curdling and it really works!!
- Add the rest of the flour with the mixed spice and cinnamon and mix gently on speed 5 for about 10-15 seconds.
- Add to your big bowl of fruit and fold it all together until everything is mixed through.
- Double line a cake tin with baking paper. This bit is not easy (for me anyway) and there were a few curses whilst I was trying to get it on properly. Oh and FYI cellotape does not stick to baking paper!! Once you have achieved this, scoop the mixture into the tin as evenly as possible. Use the back of a spoon to flatten it out.
- Another Nigella tip, which I thought was pretty awesome was to make a little hollow in the middle of the cake with a teaspoon before putting it in the oven. It stops the cake from rising unevenly – and it REALLY WORKS!!
- Wrap another layer of baking paper around the outside of the tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 3 and 3/4 hours. That’s what the recipe said but I took mine out of the oven after 2.5 hours as I think it was ready. A knife came out the middle clean and I could hear my mum in my head saying ‘Don’t dry it out!!”.
- Allow to completely cool. Poke a few holes into the top of the cake and tip over another capful of brandy allowing it to soak into the holes. Repeat this ‘feeding’ process every week until christmas (or in my case, twice a week as I’m playing catch up).
- To store the cake on the lead up to Christmas you will need to wrap it up in more baking paper and tie it up with string. Then put it into an air tight tin and only take it out for ‘feeding’.
I really enjoyed making this cake and it was much easier than I initially thought. Unfortunately I won’t be able to tell you how it tastes until after Christmas, but I am quietly optimistic. To finish it off, I’ll firstly put a layer of apricot jam over it, followed by a layer of marzipan (my favourite part) and then finally some white Royal Icing.
*Just adding a little update. We’re now a year later and I have just finishing making my cake for the second time around. It was absolutely amazing last year and I can’t wait to tuck in again. It worked best with some delicious brandy custard. Although Mr D and my dad preferred it with ice-cream.
Have you made your Christmas cake yet?