The making of the Christmas cake
For once I am organised for Christmas. Well, as far as the Christmas cake making goes anyway. I’m sure with social media and especially instagram, we can all see if we are lagging behind in the preparation stakes and this can cause a bit of panic.
We have quieter Christmases now that grandparents have passed over, but we always have a cake. It’s the recipe I was given at school. One from an old Marks and Spencer cake book, and one I have used ever since. It always works.
I won’t put the recipe here, there are far too many cake size options to choose from, and most people have their own favourite to use. They are all very similar.
I will however give you my top tips:
Read your recipe and get all the ingredients weighed out before you start. Make sure you are using the correct size tin and prepare and line it well. If you have an Aga like me, you won’t need the brown paper collar.
Use very fresh eggs. If possible get duck eggs! I use half duck and half hens.
To ensure you have a flat cake to make decoration easier, make a well right down to the bottom of the tin before baking. It feels odd, but it works. Old school tip, literally!
Make sure your cake is completely cool before piercing with a skewer and adding a tablespoon or two of brandy. Wrap well in foil and feed it weekly up to the icing date! Personally I no longer ice my cakes. I just glaze the top with apricot jam and embellish it with glacé fruits. I have been known to add some edible gold leaf too. I’d rather leave the icing off as I never ate it. Christmas cake is just loaded with calories without adding even more with sugar and marzipan.
So, happy baking! Don’t fret if you haven’t made yours yet. I only baked mine yesterday because I had a morning free from clients and the mood took me! All the best baking happens when you are in the right mood. Never bake if you are stressed or just in a rush. A badly baked Christmas cake is an expensive mistake.