Christmas Fruit Cake

Prepared and baked in November… we keep them wrapped in cheesecloth and feed them with Cognac until Christmas. Bake them in small cake tins as they make wonderful presents.

450 Gr. Currants
175 Gr. Sultanas
175 Gr. Raisins
50 Gr. Glace Cherries – rinsed & finely chopped
50 Gr. Mixed fruit peel, finely chopped
20 Gr. Candied Ginger, finely chopped
3 Tablespoon Brandy – Cognac
225 Gr. All purpose flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon fresh grated Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Mixed spices
225 Gr. Butter
225 Gr. Brown Sugar (light or dark – depending on what you have at hand)
4 Large Eggs
50 Gr. Almond chopped
1 Teaspoon Molasse – Black Treacle if you have
Zest of 1 Large Lemon
Zest of 1 Large Orange

Pre-heat the oven at 140 Degrees Celsius. Butter and line with greaseproof paper, 3 small cake tins.

The night before you make the cake, place all the dried fruit and peel in a bowl and mix in the Brandy or Cognac. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave to soak for at least 12 hours.
Over a large bowl, sift the flour, salt and spices and in a separate bowl cream the butter and sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy. (This is the most important part of the cake preparation) . Next beat up the eggs and a tablespoon at a time, add them to the creamed mixture, beating thoroughly after each addition. It may look like it is starting to curdle, if it is so, add a little bit of flour. When all the eggs have been incorporated, fold in the flour and spices, a little at a time and then fold in the soaked fruits and nuts, treacle and grated lemon and orange.
Bake the cakes at the bottom of the oven for about 3 – 3.5 hours and don’t open the oven until the 3 hours mark. Insert a skewer and if it comes clean, take the cakes out and let them cool at room temperature.
When cooled, pour a little bit of cognac and let the cake absorb it all. Wrap the cakes in cheesecloth and aluminum foil. Keep in a cool place.
Give the cakes a little Cognac bath every two weeks, until Christmas.
They will be tender, soft, spicy and with a hint of Cognac. Fah la la la la !

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