two Christmas cakes

I am late with Christmas cake baking this year (later still with writing this post). I find it strange to bake a cake months in advance and feed it with alcohol... and I try not think about the cake's age when eating a divine, moist slice. I am also a procrastinator, which doesn't help. 

Essentially, I use a standard recipe from a BBC Good Food magazine a while back. It is also online here. I don't have a family recipe as we Swiss don't bake Christmas cakes but indulge instead in making many varieties of dainty Christmas biscuits. More of that in December.

The recipe requires the soaking of 1 kg of dried fruit in 150 ml of spirit.  
This is my choice of fruit: 150g cranberries, 300g currants, 100g glace cherries, 125g dried figs, 150g apricots and 175g sultanas. No mixed peel, I don't like it at all.

I rummaged in my spirits cabinet and found a bottle of Swiss Cherry brandy (Kirsch). Having used up the Calvados last year and not having sloe gin as used by Anne here (next year!), I settled for the Kirsch. In Switzerland, Kirsch is often used to dunk a piece of bread before dipping it expertly into a cheese fondue. This is quite a task I can tell you here, especially because the Kirsch saturated piece of bread will be disintegrating rapidly. But I grew up to be and expert bread dunker and it is the uninitiated who loose their bread.
I am not only a procrastinator, I also tend to go off topic...

For the actual cake, I creamed 250g of unsalted butter with the same amount of light brown sugar and two teaspoons of vanilla essence. Then I added 4 eggs, one by one. It still curdled (and yes, the eggs were at room temperature).

To this come 2 teaspoons of mixed spice, the zest of and juice of 4 clementines, 200g of plain flour and the fruit. Gentle mixing with a spoon at this point only. I don't know if it this matters but the electric mixer can't cope with the fruit. I like to use a square tin because I like even cuboid slices of Christmas cake.

I baked the cake at 160 centigrade for 90 minutes, lowered the temperature to 140 centigrade and baked the cake for a further 40 minutes.
To stop it from burning on the side I wrapped the cake in some layers of Times Higher Education that I found in the recycling. I guess the Guardian or any other newspaper would do, too.

And here is number one of my cakes. I baked two this year, one for us and one to donate as a raffle price for the School Christmas Fair I help to organise.

It is now wrapped, waiting to be fed with some more Kirsch next week.
How do you like your cake? Do you have any family recipes?

Christina x



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