Autumn is my favourite time of the year. There’s always lots going on in my life during this period and one thing my husband and I love to do is make our annual Christmas cakes. We keep one to enjoy while we watch the same old Christmas movies (you know who you are Bad Santa) and another to split up and give away to family.
You’d think that after four years of making this cake we’d be fed up of eating it but there’s always something new to add to improve and change it. This year we soaked dates, stem ginger, cherries, cranberries, apricots, dried fruit and mixed peel in port for a few days before cooking.
Cake number two will be soaked in sherry then each will be fed with the booze every week until Christmas. This should keep the cake moist until I cover them with marzipan and icing. I do this a week before the big day to give the icing time to set and dry out slightly.
In previous years we’ve used both brandy and whiskey in this cake so it will be interesting to see how it tastes with port and sherry. Next year I plan to use spicy rum, similar to Morgan’s Spiced. Although I prefer my cakes to contain just fruit you could add nuts if you wanted to give it a slightly different texture.
This cake doesn’t contain treacle so I do find it to be lighter than most other Christmas cakes. This is one of the reasons why I used it for the top tier of my wedding cake and it will also be making a guest appearance (along with some lemon, chocolate and vanilla cupcakes) at my Sister-in-Law’s wedding next year.
The only downside is that I have to wait another 66 days before I can crack it open!
The original recipe can be found in Rachel Allen’s ‘Bake’ cook book although I have adapted it slightly to include more fruit and a marzipan and fondant icing outer layer.