Christmas Celebration Cake
I am one of “those” people – the kind who love Christmas cake. And this is a good one! It’s full of dried fruit and spices, and more than a “wee dram” of whiskey. It does need to be made ahead at least a couple of weeks before you want to serve it, but that doesn’t mean you need to hang your wreath in mid-November. English tradition says you make Christmas cake and pudding on “Stir Up Sunday”, the last Sunday of November (before the season of Advent.) It is also said that the cake should contain 13 ingredients, in honour of Jesus and his 12 disciples. You’ll notice this recipe has 13 different dried fruits and spices.
I know lots of folks will roll their eyes at this recipe, but for the die-hard fans out there, Merry Ho Ho!
* NOTE: use a scale to measure the fruits, butter and flour
500 g sultanas
250 g golden raisins
250 g dates, chopped fine
125 g currants
125 g mixed peel
125 g glacé cherries (you can sub dried cherries if you want more natural stuff)
125 g dried apricots
1 cup rum, whiskey or sherry
250 g butter
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1-5/6 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)
1/4 tsp mace
1/4 tsp allspice
Make sure all fruit is chopped the same size as the raisins. Combine them in a large bowl with the alcohol and mix well. Cover and let stand over it, or up to a week.
Line a deep 20 cm square or 23 cm round cake tin with 3 layers of waxed paper, bringing the paper 5 cm over the edges of the tin.
Sift together all the dry ingredients.
Beat butter until soft, then add sugar and blend just until combined. Add eggs one at a time, stirring after each one. Add creamed mixture to fruit mixture and mix well. Stir in sifted dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Spread evenly in prepared tin. Bake at 300F for 3 hours, or until knife inserted in centre comes out clean.
As soon as cake is removed from oven, pierce with a skewer repeatedly and pour over 4 tbsp of whiskey. Cover cake with aluminum foil tightly and let cool.
Once cool, cake can be removed from pan WITH waxed paper still intact. Remove aluminum foil, and wrap cake in 2 layers of plastic wrap. Wrap in aluminum foil and set aside to mellow for at least one week.
Serve at room temperature, sliced and cut into finger-sized pieces. It will keep up to a year if tightly wrapped. (One layer of plastic wrap inside a ziploc bag works very well. )