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Archive for December, 2009

Christmas Cake

Ingredients
250g sultanas
250g seeded raisins
250g currants
200g mixed glace cherries, chopped in halves
½ cup mixed peel
¼ cup brandy
¼-½ cup sherry (I use a combination  of  equal parts of sweet, cream, and/or dry)
250g butter, chopped
¼ cup jam (I like cherry but you can use plum or apricot)
1 cup firmly packed dark brown or brown sugar
½ cup hot water
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
5 eggs lightly beaten
1 ¾ cups plain flour
1/3 cup self raising flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon mixed spice (optional)
200g California walnuts, roughly broken into large pieces
125g slivered, blanched almonds
Whole, blanched almonds to decorate
Extra brandy (optional)

1.  Combine the raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries and mixed peel with brandy and sherry in a large bowl, cover and soak overnight or for up to 2 weeks.
2.  Combine fruit, butter, water, and sugar in large saucepan; stir over a medium heat until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolved. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered 10 minutes; transfer to large bowl; cool to room temperature.
3.  Preheat the oven to 150c. Line the base and sides of deep 19cm square cake pan or a deep 23cm round cake pan with 2 layers of baking paper, bringing the paper 5cm above the edge of the pan.
4.  Stir the eggs into the fruit mixture until well combined.
5.  Stir in sifted flour, jam, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, walnuts and slivered almonds.
6.  Spread mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Decorate the top with whole almonds. Bake in a slow oven for between 2 ½-3 hours. Cover the cake loosely with foil during cooking if it is over-browning.
7.  Brush extra brandy over the top of the hot cake (optional) and cover tightly with foil, cool in pan.

This recipe can be made 1-2 months ahead to age the flavour. Keeping time is 3 months. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place or refrigerate if the weather is humid.
If the cake is dry, it can be stored in a airtight container with a quartered apple which can be replaced every couple of days.

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