When it comes to Christmas cake recipes we’re spoilt for choice. Some recipes are very labour intensive, others require days of preparation in advance. Some cakes, like babies, need to be wrapped up and fed regularly. If you really haven’t got the time, try this boiled cake method my grandmother used which requires significantly less cooking time than most Christmas cakes.
3 cups of mixed fruit
1 cup of milk
1 cup of brown sugar
170g melted butter
2 cups of self-raising flour
½ teaspoon of mixed spice
1 teaspoon of baking powder
3 eggs, well beaten
For the decoration:
or simply add fruit, nuts and an apricot
The night before:
Place the mixed fruit in a bowl with some fruit tea and a few balls of marzipan. Stir well, to melt the marzipan and leave to stand overnight.
The next day:
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / 160°C (fan) / 350°F /gas mark 4. Place the mixed fruit, milk, sugar and butter in a large saucepan and boil for 5 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool. Then add 2 cups of self-raising flour, the mixed spice, baking powder and three well beaten eggs. Mix together. Line a 9” (22cm) cake tin with parchment paper. Fill the lined cake tin with the mixture and place in the oven for 1hour until cooked.
Once cooled, cover the cake with melted apricot jam, this will help to secure the marzipan to the cake. Roll out the marzipan to about 4mm thick and place on top of the cake then trim to size. For a quick traditional looking cake add spoonfuls of stiff White icing on top, using a pallet knife, to make a snowdrift pattern, then add favourite toy Christmas decorations. Add a ribbon to the sides and stand back to admire your handiwork. To finish, glaze with more apricot jam.
For a nutty fruitcake: Brush the cake with a thick layer of apricot jam and arrange some of your favourite fruit and nuts on top.
Dathlu / Celebrate by Lisa Fearn (Gomer Press), £14.99