Recipe Number One Hundred & Thirty Six: Page 136.
Here it is; my last Baking Bible Christmas cake! This recipe is graced with a photograph and the cake looks absolutely delicious; it certainly appears to be light and fruity. Judging by the photo and the list of ingredients a slice would certainly provide me with my five a day!
Neil took me on a 'big shop’ to get all of the things I need for Christmas. As I am making truffles and fudge for gifts this year, the trolley soon filled up. It definitely wasn't cheap! I think Neil thought it would have been easier and cheaper just to buy everyone a box of Thorntons!! A lot of ingredients are needed for this cake, but this is to be expected for a Christmas cake. I managed to get all that I needed apart from glacé pineapple but, as this was only required for decoration purposes, I didn't think it worth going all the way into town to search the shops!
I have to admit that I found it hard to summon up the energy to make this cake. As with most people at this time of year, we have a lot going on; I am a tad stressed that I'm simply not ready for Christmas!! I was told to write a ‘to do’ list. Apparently crossing things off when completed would make me feel better. However, I'm not sure it helped my stress levels when I had to reach for a second piece of paper! This cake was at the top of my list so I really couldn't ignore it for long. Thankfully, as soon as I was in the comfort of the kitchen, I felt my enthusiasm flood back and continue to grow as I dug out all the ingredients required. As always, baking soothed my soul and I soon felt a sense of calm, even when I had a battle double lining my cake tin!
First of all I had a lot of fruit to plough through. I was delighted that glacé cherries have such a large role – I don't think I've ever chopped and washed so many in one go. Rather unusually for a Christmas cake, I needed to include a good quantity of pineapple. Mary says to dry the cherries and pineapple on kitchen towel, of which I required copious amounts. Pineapples in particular are juicy little things! Now to move on to the vast quantity of dried apricots; I'm not a big fan of apricots, so I didn't feel tempted to pinch any as I snipped them with scissors. Luckily I enjoy them in cakes! I needed 350g but after 50g I was bored!! After about ten minutes of snipping apricots I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I'd finally completed my mission. Sadly there was little rest as I had to chop up a fair amount of blanched almonds. At first I tried to keep the pieces small but, by the end, they were substantially larger! That was all the rinsing, drying, snipping and chopping done and dusted, hooray! I added a lot of sultanas to the bowl; I really should have chosen a larger bowl as I had a leaning tower of fruit and nuts which was threatening to topple over at any given moment! I gingerly stirred in some grated lemon rind. I was lucky that only the odd sultana and cherry made a successful escape!
Now I could move on to make the cake by adding a whole packet of butter to another bowl along with the caster sugar. I measured in the flour and some ground almonds. I really love the flavour of almonds, especially when combined with cherries. I was surprised that I should need five eggs; it seemed such a lot, I hoped it wasn't a misprint! All that was left to do was give it a good old whisk and then stir in the mountain of fruit. I have to say it was quite a workout for my flabby little biceps! Once I had spooned all of the cake mixture into my deep cake tin I could decorate it with some whole blanched almonds and glacé cherries. I could quite understand why it would take over two hours to cook as the cake was absolutely massive and was in danger of spilling over the sides of the tin. I placed the heavy tin into the oven, where it would remain for two and a half hours.
The smell that wafted from the kitchen was heavenly and I was quite impatient for it to be ready so that I could have a taste! Finally I could collect the fruit laden cake from the oven; it looked so good that my mouth was soon watering. I left the cake to cool in the tin for the suggested half hour and then tipped it out to cool completely on a wire rack.
Neil was most impressed by the appearance of the cake and even more so by the taste. He thought it to be a deliciously sweet, moist and fruity cake. He really was very taken with it! I prefer my Christmas cakes to be rich and dark but this did make for a nice change. I still can't get over the volume of fruit it contains. The Victorians obviously enjoyed the finer things in life as this really is rather decadent!
|Big Fat Christmas Cake!!|