Fruit cake lasts for AGES and home-made Christmas cake has so much more body than the stuff you can buy. If you’d prefer not to use alcohol then this is fine, but they won’t last for anywhere near as long. I started mine on 9th October, and hopefully by the time Christmas comes round it will have matured into something beautiful. Not sure yet how I’ll decorate it – I’ll probably post when it’s finished. UPDATE – The cakes (both the big one and all the mini ones) have now been decorated, somewhat unconventionally…
Adapted from Levi Roots’ Caribbean Christmas Cake, Caribbean Food Made Easy
Roughly Chopped Dried Fruit:
5 oz (140g) Prunes
4 oz (110g) Dates
2 oz (55g) Glacé Cherries
3 oz (85g) Dried Figs
13 ½ oz (380g) Mixed Dried Fruit
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
½ pint (300ml) Dark rum plus extra for soaking
9 oz (250g) Softened Butter
7 oz (200g) Dark brown soft Sugar
4 free-range eggs
Double Sifted Dry Ingredients:
9 oz (250g) Self-raising Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Mixed Spice
Roughly Chopped Nuts:
2 oz (55g) Blanched Almonds
1 oz (30g) Hazelnuts
1 oz (30g) Walnuts
- Mix the dried fruit and rum in a bowl with a lid, and soak for at least 24 hours, and up to a week. Stir occasionally throughout the soaking process.
- Preheat the oven to 160OC/325OF/gas mark 3. Line a deep 7 inch/18cm round tin with a double thickness of greaseproof paper.
- Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat in the dry ingredients.
- Add the nuts, fruit and soaking liquor. Add a couple of spoons of rum if the mixture is very thick.
- Spoon into the tin and bake for around 2 hours. Cover with foil if necessary. Cake is cooked when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- While the cake is warm, poke it full of holes with a skewer and spoon over 4 spoons of rum. Wrap in foil and store somewhere cool and dry.
- Check the cake once a week, and continue to feed with rum. Turn it occasionally, to ensure even distribution of alcohol. Decorate close to Christmas.