One of the great joys of Winter is baking a wonderfully fragrant Christmas Cake. You can’t beat the festive aroma of Christmas baking wafting through the house, filling it joy and invoking memories of Christmases gone by. We try to make ours towards the middle of November. So pop on the Christmas tunes and get baking.
The best Christmas cake I have ever made is an adaption of Nigel Slater’s the kitchen diaries version. I am allergic to nuts, so I just switch out the nuts for extra dried fruits. It’s exciting to really mix up the fruit, adding dried blueberries, figs, apricots and cranberries along with the more traditional currants, raisins and sultanas. I steep the fruits for a couple of days in a nice cognac before I bake the cake, I really think it adds to the flavour and then I always choose the best ingredients that I can afford.
I don’t use marzipan because of the almonds, but use an extra layer of rolled icing as a base before final decoration.
The tradition here is that everyone in the house at that time must have a stir of the Christmas cake and make a wish. The more the merrier on this one.
Once baked I double wrap the cake in greaseproof paper and store it in an airtight cake tin. I “feed” the cake once per week with a tablespoon (or 2) of the cognac, before decorating it a few days before Christmas.