Sunday, October 7, 2018

Maggie Cooper's Christmas Cake

It will soon be Stir It Up Sunday, the day when people traditionally make their Christmas cakes and puddings so that they have time to mature for Christmas.  I decided to take a jump on them by making my Christmas cake this weekend.

Every year, I try to make a different Christmas cake recipe.  The results are mixed, but the unknown is part of the fun.  This year, I chose a recipe from Maggie Cooper that I found in The Toowoomba Chronicle, but which is also reproduced here.

To make this Christmas cake, you first make a fruit mince, two cups of which is reserved for mince pies:

My fruit mince had been happily soaking in brandy for around three weeks, so I was confident that it was time to make the cake.

The recipe says to use a 20cm round cake tin, but that is not anywhere near big enough.  I used a 25cm round cake tin, and as you can see I still ended up with an enormous cake that filled the tin:

The other key change that I made to the recipe is to use a commercial gluten free flour mix in place of the plain flour, as some of my recipients are eating gluten-free.  I am a little nervous as to whether this will make the cake crumbly when sliced, but I won't find out for a few weeks yet.  The cake seemed to hold together well once it had cooled and was unmoulded, so I am hopeful that it will be just fine.

If you are planning on making your Christmas cake soon and that this one might fit the bill, you will need:

Fruit mince

425g raisins
250g pitted dates

250g pitted prunes 

250g glacé cherries

115g glacé pineapple

125g dried apricots

50g glacé ginger

850g sultanas

375g dried currants

200g mixed peel (I left this out)

3 medium Granny Smith apples 

1 x 250g jar marmalade

2 tbsp finely grated orange zest

60ml lemon juice

2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1 tbsp mixed spice

350ml brandy 
Peel, core and grate the apples.  Chop the larger fruit finely.  Put everything into a big plastic mixing bowl with a lid, and shake well to combine.  Keep the container in a dark place and shake every few days for at least four weeks (or three, in my case).

Christmas Cake

250g unsalted butter, at room temperature

120g brown sugar

5 large eggs

60g melted dark chocolate

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp almond essence

2 tsp glycerine (I used glucose instead)

2 tbsp raspberry jam

Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon

250g plain flour 

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp salt

1 quantity fruit mince (above) minus 2 cups 

1/2 cup brandy

Grease and line the base and sides of a 25cm round cake tin with baking paper and preheat your oven to 150°C. 
In a stand mixer, beat the butter until pale and creamy, then beat in the brown sugar until well combined.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the the chocolate, essences, glucose, jam, lemon zest and lemon juice.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, mixed spice, ground ginger and salt together. 
Add 1/3 fruit mince to the cake batter, then 1/3 of the dry ingredients, and fold in gently with a wooden spoon. Repeat twice more until all of the dry ingredients and fruit mince have been incorporated into the batter.

Scrape the cake batter into the prepared cake tin, and tap on the bench a few times to remove any air pockets. Tie a triple thickness strip of newspaper around the tin with string (this will help to prevent the outside of the cake burning).

Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 3 to 3 and 1/2 hours or until cooked through.

Take the cake out of the oven and prick the top of it  all over with a fine skewer.  Pour the additional half a cup of brandy over the top of the cake. Take the newspaper off the cake tin and allow the cake to cool completely in the tin.  Once cooled, take the cake out of the tin, but leave the baking paper on (I disobeyed this so I could photograph my cake). 
Wrap the cake in a double layer of alfoil and store in an airtight container in a dark cool place for at least a month before Christmas.
You can ice the cake with royal icing or marzipan and fondant before serving, if desired.

1 comment:

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Wow you're so fast Cakelaw!! I am thinking of Halloween just now :D It looks like a lovely cake.