Luscious Christmas Cake by Grandma Joyce
Now is the perfect time for baking your Christmas cake to ensure it is wonderfully full of flavour on Christmas Day!
110g/4oz glace cherries
50g/2oz mixed peel
225g/8oz brown sugar
5 eggs beaten
275g/10oz of plain white flour
2 tsp sweet mixed spice
110g/4oz ground almonds
Grated zest of 1 orange plus juice
7 fl oz beer or sherry
1 large tablespoonful of black treacle
Use an 8" square or 9" round cake tin
1. Set oven 170c/325f/gas mark 3.
2. Grease and double line the tin with greaseproof paper.
3. Cream the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
4. Slice the cherries, toss in some of the measured flour and mix with the rest of the fruit.
5. Add the eggs one at a time to the creamed mixture. (If the mixtures starts to curdle add a little of the flour.)
6. Fold in the flour, mixed spice, orange zest, beer/sherry and orange juice, and black treacle. (If mixture is still stiff a small amount of milk can be added.)
7. Add the fruit and ground almonds.
8. Put mixture in prepared tin and make a hollow in the middle.
9. Bake for 2 ½ hours, or until skewer emerges clean from the middle of the cake.
10. Cover the top of the cake with brown paper for the final hour if required.
11. Cool the cake on a wire rack. Once completely cold wrap in foil and store in an airtight container in a dry cool place until Christmas. Every two weeks unwrap the cake to "feed" it: prick the top with a long skewer and spoon over 1-2 tablespoons brandy. Reseal and continue to store.
Quick easy steps to decorating your cake
1. Lightly dust a clean surface with icing sugar and roll out a circle of golden marzipan roughly 1/2cm thickness and big enough to cover the entire cake (or half the cake if you want to keep some of it to have with cheese as a light supper).
2. Brush the cake with some warmed apricot jam, cover with the rolled out marzipan and trim any excess.
3. Lightly dust the surface once more with icing sugar and roll out some ready-to-roll icing in the same way as the marzipan. Brush the marzipan very lightly with a little water then drape the icing over it. Smooth out using your hands working from the centre to the edges and down the sides. Finally trim any excess.
4. Allow the icing to harden for 24 hours and then arrange your cake decorations around and on top of the cake.
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