Most baking families have their own recipe for a Christmas cake, one that is usually handed down through generations.
In fact, baking a Christmas cake usually starts off with a grand cake-mixing ceremony. Candied fruit, plums, currants, raisins, orange peel and more, are finely chopped and soaked in rum or brandy.
All family members then take turns in tossing the mixture around in a large mixing bowl. This is then kept aside for a few weeks before the actual cake is baked so that the fruit soaks in the alcohol’s flavour.
Flour – 500 gms
Brown sugar – 300 gms
White sugar – 100 gms; powdered
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Spice powder – 2 tsps.
Nutmeg powder – 1 tsp
Black currants – 200 gms; finely chopped
Raisins – 200 gms; finely chopped
Sultanas – 100 gms; finely chopped
Orange / lemon peel – 100 gms; finely chopped
Cherries – 100 gms; finely chopped
Rum – 500 ml
Wine – 250 ml
Butter – 500 gms
Eggs – 4 pcs; beaten
Milk – 4 tbsp
Baking powder – 1 tsp
Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
Almond essence – 1 tsp
Chocolate sauce – 1/2 cup
Icing sugar – 2 tsp
- Mix all the dried fruits together and soak in rum and wine for at least three to four weeks.
- When baking the cake, drain the fruit and dust with a little flour. Keep aside.
- Reserve the leftover rum. Keep aside.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Keep aside.
- Cream the butter, sugar and brown sugar well.
- Add the beaten eggs, almond essence and vanilla essence, and mix.
- Add the dried fruits, nutmeg powder and spice powder. Mix thoroughly.
- Slowly add the flour and fold in gently.
- If the mixture is too thick, add a little milk.
- Pour into a greased baking tin and bake in a slow oven for about one hour or more.
- To check if ready, insert a wooden toothpick. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.
- Remove from the oven, prick the cake with a toothpick all over and pour the remaining rum over it.
- Take the cake out of the tin when cold and wrap tightly in foil or waxed paper.
- Keep in an airtight container for the cake to absorb the rum.
- Just before serving, heat for a minute in a microwave oven and pour some more rum on the cake while hot.
- Dribble some chocolate sauce over it and sprinkle some icing sugar.
The time and effort that one puts in when baking a Christmas cake are all forgotten with just one bite! The flavour of the alcohol-soaked fruits lingers on long after.
With Christmas in the air, it is time to get these ingredients in order and give this recipe a go. The outcome is not much of the essence relative to the spirit of baking as a family.