I've made a few changes to the classic family recipe this year.
1) Soak the fruit for a week, stirring daily:
500g mixed fruit and peel
1 small pot of glacier cherries
200g mixed nuts
70cl (minus two shot glasses worth to taste...) cherry brandy
2) Mix 4oz butter and 4oz brown sugar
3) Add 2 eggs alternately with 6oz plain flour
4) Add this to the fruit mixture with 1tsp allspice, 7ml liquid glycerol, 7ml black treacle and bicarbonate of soda.
5) Cook in a cool oven (150 C) for two hours then cool.
6) Feed with amaretto weekly.
It was a pretty delicious cake that went down very well with the DH's father- always good! The nuts definitely added something to it and the amaretto and cherry brandy made it very sweet so it didn't really taste of fruit cake, so not a recipe for the traditionalist.
Next year I will put in less amaretto- it was incredibly gooey!
More Christmas crafts. I had wanted to make these up last year but I moved house and didn't have time. I opened some large clear glass baubles and filled them with glitter, simple but very pretty.
I hung some candy cane charms inside some of the baubles but it's a little hard to see them: glitter by itself is just as effective.
Still too early to hang them, though, so I've packed them up until December...
I know it's a little early for Christmas posts but I've been making some Christmas decoration in preparation.
I used scales from theringlord.com. They have excellent YouTube instructions and one of their kits makes about 20 poinsettias.
I think they will look great arranged around a candle, hung on the tree or attached to a wreath!
I saw this recipe in Good Housekeeping and thought I had to try it! It is a red vanilla roulade with peppermint cream.
For the roulade you need 3eggs, 4oz caster sugar and 4oz flour, 2 capfuls of vanilla essence and strong food colouring (mine wasn't strong enough so it came out as a dark pink sponge rather than bright Christmas red).
For the peppermint cream, which is delicious- I could've eaten it straight from the mixing bowl- you need 300ml of double cream, 4oz icing sugar and three capfuls of peppermint essence.
First, whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla essence and food colouring together for about 10 minutes until you can see trails when you remove the whisks. This makes the roulade nice and fluffy.
Then fold in the sifted flour and pour into a roulade tin or in my case a baking paper lined baking tray, and cook at 180 degrees Celcius for 15 minutes until it is nice and springy.
Lie a large sheet of baking paper out on the counter and dust it with lots of caster sugar. Then, as soon as you take the roulade out of the oven, upturn it onto the paper. Peel off the cooking paper and then dust the back. Fold the new sheet of paper over the roulade and then roll it up. This should prevent cracks. Leave it to cool.
While it is cooling whisk up the icing sugar, peppermint and cream until it holds a peak.
Unwrap the roulade, spread the filling thickly over it and then reroll.
To decorate it, dust with icing sugar and smash up a candy cane with a hammer to have candy cane sprinkles. Candy canes are quite tough you will want to do this on a hard surface!
I make this Christmas cake every year and it makes a lot so you might want to halve the ingredients!
12oz Plain Flour
8oz Brown sugar
6oz mixed peel
1 table spoon black treacle
1/4 cup brandy
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1 table spoon liquid glycerine
Some supermarkets sell mixed bags of dried fruit and mixed peel so you can substitute those in instead. I also made it with port instead of brandy last year and it was delicious.
Soften the butter and then add half the flour and all spice. Then beat in the eggs and sugar and the rest of the flour. Add the fruit, glycerine, brandy, treacle, and bicarb (dissolved in water).
Pour into a greased and lined tin. I use a lasagne dish normally as the mixture is so large: my mother usually makes two smaller cakes.
Cook for 2 hours at 150 degrees Celcius.
Add brandy to the cake weekly, keeping it covered with a tea towel or cling film. I find the best way to get it really gooey is to use a syringe to get the brandy deep into the centre of the cake.
Then cover the cake in marzipan; leave it for a few days to harden and then cover with royal icing.
This year I decided to make an igloo-shaped cake using half a spherical cake tin mould and a normal tin. The penguin is made from icing and the door to the igloo is icing-covered marzipan. His fishing rod is made from a cocktail stick and some cotton. The water is made from white icing whose food colouring isn't properly mixed in leaving it with a nice swirling effect, similar to the stargate wormhole.
You rip what you sew!