Christmas Cake

You’ll Need:

# 1lb. 2oz. (500g) currants
# 3 tablespoons of brandy
# 8 oz. (225g) sultanas
# 8 oz. (225g) raisins, stoned
# 6 oz. (175g) glace cherries
# 4 oz. (125g) candied peel, chopped
# 1 lemon
# 10oz. (275g) plain flour
# 10 oz. (275g) butter
# half a level teaspoon of mixed spice
# pinch of salt
# half a level teaspoon of powdered cinnamon
# 10 oz. (275g) soft brown sugar
# 6 eggs
# 3 tablespoons milk
# almond paste
# royal icing

Procedures : # Wash the dried fruit in a sieve, under the cold tap, two days before making the cake
# Drain and turn on to clean tea towel, pat dry then spread on kitchen paper to dry
# On baking day, grease a 9 inch round cake tin, line with double greaseproof paper and re-grease
# Tie a band of brown paper round the outside of the tin, to come 3 inches above the top
# Put the prepared fruit, peel and cherries in a bowl and mix well
# Grate the lemon rind
# Sift together the flour, spices and salt then add, together with the grated lemon rind, to the bowl of mixed fruit
# Cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale, soft and fluffy
# Break the eggs into a basin and whisk lightly with a fork
# Add the whisked egg, 2 tablespoons at a time, to the creamed butter mixture, beating until well mixed each time before adding more egg
# With a tablespoon, fold in the flour and fruit mixture; add a little milk if necessary to make the mixture soft enough to drop from the spoon when it’s held above the bowl and shaken
# Turn the mixture into the prepared baking tin, spread it evenly around the tin and make a dip in the center
# Bake at the bottom of the oven at 300F, Gas Mark 2, 160C for about four and a half hours until the cake is golden brown and firm to the touch
# To prevent the cake over-browning, cover with two or three pieces of brown paper after the first two and a half hour’s baking
# Test with a fine skewer, insert the skewer in the cake and when it is drawn out it should look quite clean
# Allow the cake to cool in the tin
# Before storing the cake, prick with a fine skewer and slowly pour the brandy over it
# When storing the cake, wrap it in several layers of greaseproof paper, then wrap in foil or store in an airtight tin
# Cakes made several weeks before Christmas will become darker in colour and richer in flavour
# Decorate the cake with almond paste and royal icing (see Hookery Cookery Christmas Recipe

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