Jan 09 04
Amazing! I lost a whole pound and a half over Christmas and it had nothing to do with the strength of the euro!
But luckily I can now put it all back on – and some more – because now I can eat the Christmas cake I finished decorating just before we left for France – it was far too heavy to take.
This was from the Good Food magazine in November. I made it before we went to Australia and fed it with sherry every few days in the two weeks up to Christmas. It’s yummy!
- 1kg mixed dried fruit (without cherries)
- zest and juice of 2 large oranges
- 150ml PX sherry (actually this is so expensive I used Harveys Bristol Cream – you need something raisiny)
- 250g butter
- 250g muscovado sugar
- seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod
- 140g plain flour
- 100g ground almonds
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 4 large eggs beaten
- 140g whole almonds
20cm round cake tin, buttered and double lined. Also wrap brown paper/newspaper/plenty of greaseproof paper around the outside and secure with string – helps protect the sides from overcooking.
Mix the dried fruit, zest, juice and sherry and leave to soak at least over night.
Heat oven to 160c/fan 140c/gas 3.
Pour a glass of sherry and take a sip.
Beat butter, sugar and vanilla seeds until you’re feeling good – well at least until the mixture is pale and creamy.
Mix the flour, ground almonds and mixed spice together, then add it to the butter mix.
Add the beaten eggs.
Take another sip of sherry.
Beat some more – feeling even better? – well the mixture should now be all combined and smooth.
Add the whole almonds and the dried fruit, including any left-over juices
Munch on a few bits of fruit (now smelling absolutely delicious and all soaked up with sherry and orange) that simply had to escape from the bowl.
Make a wish.
Stir a bit more.
Pass it round the family so they can all stir and make a wish. Don’t let them smell sherry on your breath!
Go back to the kitchen and take another sip of sherry.
Pour into the prepared cake tin.
Smooth the top then make a dip in the middle.
Bake for 1 1/2 hours.
Turn the oven down to 140c/fan 130c/gas 2 and bake for another 1 1/2 hours until dark on top and the old skewer comes out cleanish.
Take it out of the oven and leave to cool enough to handle.
Turn out onto a cooling rack and peel the off the lining paper.
You could eat it straight away, but if you managed to plan well ahead, then get it wrapped up (I used more greaseproof paper), and then feed it once a fortnight (or every few days) with sherry – poke a few holes in the top with a skewer and slowly spoon over the sherry. Remember you don’t want it soggy, just lovely and moist.
I used shop bought ready roll marzipan and icing and cut out some stars for decoration, but you can do what-ever you want.
Apparently, this cake serves 12, and each slice (with marzipan and icing) has 1079 calories!!! Hmm, I think my slices are a bit smaller, but still, it is a hefty amount of calories.
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