Tomorrow is Stir Up Sunday, and the day that, traditionally, Christmas puds are made.
We still have a put tucked away from last year, and I am going to take a chance that there was enough booze in there for it to keep for a year 😉
So, tomorrow I am making the Christmas cake.
I have known for ages that tomorrow was Stir Up Sunday, but only remembered at 6.30pm tonight, and then felt very pleased with myself for remembering in time to soak the fruit, until I opened the recipe book, and it said “soak the fruit for a minimum of 24hrs-ideally 72”.
Now, I ask you, who is organised enough to think about a cake 3 DAYS before they need to bake it?
Anyway, I seem to recall Nigella saying in one of her recipes to heat the fruit in it’s soaking juices until it comes to the boil and then turn it off and leave it overnight. And if it’s good enough for Nigella, it’s good enough for me, so that is what I have done.
If you are lacking a Christmas Cake recipe, this is the one I do. It is from Mich Turner’s Spectacular Cakes, and is delicious 🙂
For an 8″ cake, you will need:
- 650g of raisins/currants/sultanas in proportions of your choosing
- 225g (total weight) of dried apricots and/or dates and/or prunes-chopped-again mix it up to suit yourself/what is in the cupboard
- 100g glace cherries (I had a small panic thinking we didn’t have any, and we all know that Christmas cake is not Christmas cake without glade cherries, but I found half a pot lurking at the back of the cupboard-phew!)
- 150ml brandy
- 2 oranges-zest and juice
- 2 lemons-zest and juice
- 350g plain flour
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 4tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp ground nutmeg
- 250 butter, softened
- 250g light brown soft sugar
- 4 medium eggs
- 1 tbsp molasses (I think I use treacle)
- 55g chopped almonds (optional)
This is what you do:
- Put the dried fruits, glade cherries, brandy, orange and lemon zest and juice in a bowl. Give it a good stir and leave to soak (see above for how long!)
- When you are ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 140C (120C fan)/gas mark 2
- Grease and line an 8″ square or round tin
- Sieve together the flour and the spices
- Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time while still beating
- Add the flour mix and gently stir to conbine
- Add the molasses/treacle and then the soaked fruit (the instructions say to save the brandy but I always just chuck it all in)
- Spoon into the tin, and then I always make a dip in the middle with the back of a spoon, futilely hopping this will give me a level top, and bake for 4 hours
- Leave in the tin to cool, and then brush with a bit more brandy if so inclined
- Once cool, wrap in a double layer of greaseproof and a double layer of foil and store somewhere cool until you are ready to ice
It should be beginning to smell a lot like Christmas 🙂