There is no nicer smell than that of a Christmas cake in the oven.
175 g (6 oz) Glace Cherries
225 g (8 oz) Raisins
75 g (3 oz) Currants
150 g (5 oz) Sultanas
50 g (2 oz) Chopped Candied Peel
100 ml Whiskey/Brandy
225 g (8 oz) Softened Butter
Finely Grated Rind Of One Lemon
225 g (8 oz) Soft Brown Sugar
4 Eggs, Beaten
30 ml Black Treacle
225 g (8 oz) Plain White Flour
5 ml (1 tsp) Ground Mixed Spice
I'm slightly allergic to nuts so I left the next ingredients out:
125 g (4 oz) Roughly Chopped Brazil Nuts
50 g (2 oz) Ground Almonds
1. Wash the cherries in cold water, make sure all the syrup is off. Chop them into quarters. Chuck them in a bowl with the raisins, currants, sultanas and candied peel. Pour over the whiskey, cover with a tea towel and leave overnight to soak.
2. Line a 20 cm (8 inch) round deep cake tin with a double layer of greaseproof paper.
3. In a big bowl, beat the butter with the lemon rind until pale and very soft.
4. Gradually beat in the sugar until completely blended. Add the eggs a little at a time. Then add the treacle. Make sure everything is evenly blended.
5. Sift the flour and mixed spice together. Add half to the mixture (add the nuts here if you are using them). Fold in the fruit gently. Then add the rest of the flour.
6. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin, level the surface and tie a double layer of brown paper around the outside of the tin.
7. Bake in a pre-heated oven at gas mark 2 (150°C) for 3-3.5 hours or until a fine skewer can be inserted into the middle and come out clean. I usually check it after 3 hours. If it needs longer I place a sheet of brown paper over the top so it doesn't burn.
8. Leave cake in the tin to cool for about an hour then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Prick the top with a fork and spoon over about 45 ml (3 tbsp) whiskey. Allow to soak in.
9. When completely cold, cover with greaseproof paper, then with tin foil and leave in a cool dry place. It needs to mature for at least 2 weeks or up to 3 months before icing is applied.
I'll be icing the cake about a week before Christmas. Beth wants to decorate it with snow (royal icing), snowmen and Santa. That'll be fun!