A Christmas Cake Isn't Just For Christmas!
"Easy-Action" Christmas Cake
Mincemeat - check. Christmas Puddings - check. So what next? Well another Stir-up Sunday must... Christmas Cake! Last year we went for a Delia classic but this year we have chosen to use a recipe from the self-proclaimed domestic goddess Nigela, from her cookbook 'Feast'. "I just throw everything into a pan" she says. Seriously, it really is (almost) that easy.
Into a large pan go your dried fruits (we used mixed dried fruits, dried cranberries and glacé cherries), butter, sugar, chestnut puree, rum, orange juice, orange zest and lemon zest. The mixture is slowly brought up to a boil and, with the butter melted and after a little stir, it's then simmered for 10 minutes before being left to cool for around 30 minutes.
This handy pause gives you time to heat your oven and prep the cake tin. Start by lining your tin in the usual manner; greased and papered, bottom and sides but, in order to protect the cake during it's long bake, the tin also gets an extra coat of greaseproof (or baking paper) around the outside which is secured with some string. As we know all too well, our oven runs warm, so we also included some tin foil in the outer coat as extra protection.
Next, fold flour, baking powder, spices and eggs through your cooled fruit mix and carefully pour, or spoon the mix into your prepared tin. Then it's into the oven for around 1¾-2 hours, until the top of the cake is firm and dry and a skewer comes out of the middle sticky but not wet. For an extra boozy cake Nigella suggests piercing the top with a skewer and 'feeding' the cake with an additional 3 tbsp of the rum . No prizes for guessing what the Gents did with that information...
Leave to cool in the tin then, once freed and completely cold, re-wrap in a fresh layer greaseproof or wax paper, then foil. Store in a cool dark place to mature or until you're ready to decorate.