Friday, 28 September 2012

Christmas Cake!

So yesterday was the big day! I had class in the morning and cake home and spent the afternoon baking. The cake does take a wee while to do from start to finish so set the best part of the day aside for it, but don't worry a good chunk of it is spent waiting for the cake to bake so I recommend getting a few Christmas films in to get you in the mood. Edit. This is a process of two days, the day before cake day you want to soak the fruit, here's the post on it.

So, Lets get started! First off the ingredients and supplies list:

200g of glacé cherries

200g of candied peel (some times referred to as mixed peel)

1kg of currants and sultans mixed

(if peel and cherries are not your thing just sub with more dried fruit)

175ml of dark rum (just buy a bottle of the super market own brand, as we'll need more to feed the cake weekly)

25ml of vanilla extract or essence

250g v. dark brown sugar

250g butter (I actually use a butter substitute)

6 medium eggs

400g plain flour (all purpose)

1/4 of a teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

100g ground rice or ground almonds.

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

2 teaspoons of mixed spice (pumpkin pie spice)

A large (23cm or so) spring form pan (or two if you prefer a shorter cake)

A roll of grease proof baking paper

Some kitchen string

A flat baking tray that's wider than the cake tin

A large bowl to soak the fruit and mix the cake in.

A pastry brush

A kebab skewer

A wooden spoon

A large cake tin or cling film (this will make more sense at the end of this post. i promise.)

And an oven obviously and a cooling rack is also handy!

Its best to prepare the tin first, so grab your self your spring-form pan, the string, the tray and the baking paper and a pair of scissors. You'll need a good amount of space to so this. You need to basically put your cake in a jacket. Trace the base of the tin, cut out with about an inch extra all around. Snip into this extra inch at intervals of about half an inch all round. Pop the circular piece of paper into the completed cake pan.

Next measure the circumference of the pan and cut a sheet of baking paper to this length and then fold it in half length wise, now this is the trickiest bit of what you have to do we want to slip the paper over the sides of the tin, like a brown crinkly hard to wrangle jacket. I use a shorter piece of paper to stabilise the whole job.

It should end up looking something like this:

The paper acts as insulation and adds stability. The cookie sheet and the baking paper on it act as insulation against the base of the cake burning.
Don't worry too much about the fiddlyness, the paper needs greasing with butter or oil so folds and kinks get worked out easily. Just use a pastry brush or a scrap of scrunched up baking paper to aid with the greasing.

Check the shelves in the oven, you'll probably have to move their position to fit the tin in it's jacket.

Now, go and turn the oven on, medium heat.

The actual process of making the cake is a very simple one, sift the dry ingredients together and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar, slowly add the eggs in till well combined. Add the dry ingredients in a little at a time, will well combined. Slowly fold in the fruit with a big spoon, don't agitate it too much to keep the fruit whole.

Spoon into the cake tin, level mix off gently with your spoon.

Pop it in the oven. It should take about 1 1/2 to 2 hours to bake. One a skewer comes out clean and it's a nice golden colour its ready to come out!

Let it cool slightly before attempting to take the tin apart and the paper off.

Once its cool, prick all over with a clean skewer, brush all over with a little rum. Wrap it in baking paper and pop into an air tight container. (If you don't have a tub large enough just wrap in baking paper and enough cling film to make the package air tight.) Store in a cool dark place. Take it out once a week and brush over with rum!

Pat yourself on the back, you've made a Christmas cake!

I'll cover decorating it much closer to the time. If any of that didn't make any sense feel free to drop me an email or a comment and I'll try and help!

Minnie xoxo

P.S. sorry for all the instagram pictures but I'm afraid I can't find my camera cable :(

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