Tuesday, December 11, 2012

That'll do for Christmas

You can't not have Christmas cake at Christmas time, or at least a fruit cake of some description (I know all you fruit cake haters are violently disagreeing as you read this. You don't know what you're missing). I'd already done the actual Christmas cake recipe, but I still had fruit cake (p57) to make, which I'm hoping will work well enough in place of a Christmas cake.

Perusing the recipe before I left work yesterday, I noticed this cake is made in a deep 20cm tin - to my annoyance, since the only 20cm tin I have is quite shallow. I'd looked at one about the right size and shape at the market on Sunday, and told myself I didn't need it. Always the way, isn't it? When I popped by the 'House of W' on my way home, I found they conveniently had 40% off bakeware, so I purchased a suitable tin.

The first step in making this cake is to combine fruit mix with mixed peel and dust flour over it. I'm not sure what this is supposed to achieve, aside from perhaps making it less sticky and liable to clump. In a second bowl, I creamed butter, brown sugar and golden syrup. In yet another bowl, I beat five eggs until thick. Finally (and I was running out of bowls at this stage) I sifted together flour, baking powder, mixed spice and nutmeg.

Adding the dry ingredients and egg alternately to the creamed mixture, I slowly combined the contents of three of my bowls. By the time I added the fruit mixture, the bowl was quite full. I should have used my big-big bowl for this one. I managed to mix the fruit in though, and turned to lining the cake tin.

The cake tin had to be lined with two layers of brown paper and one of baking paper. I'm terrible at this - not because it's particularly difficult, but because I'm too impatient and tend to take a "she'll be right" attitude about it. After a bit of paper-wrangling and muttering, I considered the tin suitably lined.

I spooned the cake mixture into the tin and smoothed it over. It did fill the tin quite well - my shallower 20cm tin would never have worked. I placed it in the oven at 150 and left it to bake.

For the next 2 hours, the delicious smell of baking fruit cake wafted through the house. The given cooking time is 2 - 2 1/2 hours, but it seemed to be perfectly cooked at the two-hour mark. It's since been cooling in the tin, and I haven't taken it out yet, so I can't tell what it's going to taste like. It looks good; it smells good; let's just hope it tastes good as well!

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