I love a traditional Christmas cake; but like a lot of other people I find a little goes a long way (read - too many calories) Don’t let this put you off; the best thing about Christmas cake is that you don’t need to eat it all at once, it keeps well. After the festivities, wrap it up and put it in a tin and it will keep for as long as you can resist it. We are all far too quick to throw food away and there is no need. All this said Christmas cake never lasts long enough in our house as my husband ploughs through it with no trouble at all and just when I have a fancy of a slice it has already gone.
Top tip: if you don’t have time to soak the fruit overnight; steep it in boiling water for 5 minutes and drain and toss in a clean tea towel to remove any excess water then stir in the whiskey etc.
Whiskey and ginger Christmas cake
150 g sultanas
150 g raisins
400 g currants
100 g stem ginger finely chopped, rinsed in boiling water and drained
Juice and fine zest of 1 lemon
Juice and fine zest of 1 oranges
4 tablespoons whiskey
2 tablespoons ginger wine
200 g plain flour
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon mixed spice
50 g chopped whole almonds
200 g salted butter
200 g muscovado sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
Pre-heat oven to 140C, gas mark 1
Line an 18 cm cake tin with baking parchment
Put the dried fruit, ginger, mixed peel, citrus rind and juice, whiskey and ginger wine in a bowl, cover with a cloth and soak overnight.
The next day sieve the flour and spices together into a bowl.
Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat hard until light, fluffy and very pale. Put the eggs in a small bowl and beat with a fork. Add the egg to the creamed butter and sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. If the mixture starts to curdle add a tablespoon of the sieved flour mixture.
Fold in the flour and spice mixture and the fruit and chopped nuts and golden syrup.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tin.
Tie brown paper around the tin. Put your cake on the lower shelf of the oven for 4 – 4 ½ hours or until firm to the touch. Test with a baking skewer; if the skewer comes out dry it is ready. If not return the cake to the oven for little longer.
Leave to cool in the tin then wrap in foil and store in a plastic bag.
Unwrap from time to time. Pierce with a cocktail stick and feed with a tablespoon of spirit.Take care to re-wrap the cake carefully each time.