IT IS less than two months to go until Christmas and if you haven’t done so already then now is the time to bake your Christmas cake.
Get it in the oven now and then you will have at least six weeks to soak in plenty of brandy or whiskey, depending on which tipple you prefer.
I have to admit the recipe I use for my family fruit cake is not my own – in fact all credit must go to Mich Turner at Little Venice Cake Company whose rich fruit cake recipe is absolutely fantastic.
I’m not a huge fruit cake fan but this one is particularly sumptuous, which maybe has something to do with soaking the fruit in booze and fruit juice for three days.
I often omit the chopped nuts but that is purely because my daughter has a severe allergy. I also add all the booze in to the fruit soaking and leave it for two to three days rather than doing half before and half after.
All her recipes are available if you sign up to her cake club here
I double line my tins to cook the fruit cake with two layers of baking parchment to ensure no burning around the edges. It is cooked over several hours on a relatively low heat and if you think the top is browning too much you can always place a couple of discs of baking parchment on top partway through cooking.
My mother always told me to wrap the outside of the tin in brown paper too and tie it on with string but I have never had to do this with this particular recipe!
Once the cake has been cooked and cooled I turn the cake out and leave the baking parchment it was cooked in on. I then wrap the cake in another layer of baking parchment and then a couple of layers of clingfilm. The cake then gets left in a cool dry place to mature.
I leave it to mature for two to three months, depending on how much time I have allowed, and add in lots more brandy.
About a third through the time I unwrap it all very carefully, drizzle a couple more tablespoons of brandy over the top then rewrap it.
I repeate the process two thirds of the way through but this time flip the cake upside down and soak in more brandy this side.
The smell when you unwrap it each time is just divine and great anticipation for the decorating to come.
Part two – marzipanning and icing your cake