Halloween over - the shops will be all out now gearing up for Christmas. You can Google anything these days so typing in 'days to xmas' brought me to this 'Christmas Countdown' website. As of today, 1st November, there are 53 days to go....eeeks. So without further delay, having taken the family orders, I prepared to make a catering size batch of Christmas cake mix. Overnight I soaked the raisins and sultanas in brandy and orange juice, I'm not a great fan of currants so they didn't make it into the mix!
I mentioned this versatile cake tin before in the post about my sister Sue's oblong shaped Suitcase cake and I set the dividers so that I would end up with 4 x 6" cakes. For years I've used the same rich fruit cake recipe from my well thumbed 'Special Occasion Cakes' book with just a few omissions and additions. I leave out prunes, bought mixed peel (yuk) and walnuts and add in the zest of fresh oranges and ground almonds. The massive mix consisted of 2.3kg dried fruit, 350g cherries, 275g ground almonds, 675g Stork, 600g dark brown Muscovado sugar, 725g flour, 4 oranges, a very large splosh of brandy, 4 tsp spices, 12 eggs, 5 tbsp marmalade and 3 tbsp black treacle. The sugar and treacle give the cake a lovely dark colour - I remember in days gone by adding gravy browning, do they still make gravy browning?
The problem with making this much cake mix is finding a bowl big enough to mix it in - I had to resort to using one of those 'Really Useful Boxes' which lived up to it's name.
After five hours in the oven on a low heat the cakes were cooked and after cooling down were ready for the first of many 'feeds' with brandy. Here's a few xmas cakes from previous years - watch this space to see what designs we go with this year!