It's time to start the preparations for Christmas, here in the cottage, but I'm not talking chocolates. Take a peek inside the tin and see what I'm cooking today...
Here are the ingredients for an 8 inch round or a 7 inch square tin:
10 ozs currants
7 ozs sultanas (golden raisins if in America)
4 ozs raisins
2 1/2 ozs glace cherries (quartered)
2 1/2 ozs whole almonds (blanched and chopped finely)
2 1/2 ozs mixed peel
grated rind of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons of Brandy
7 ozs of plain flour (all purpose flour if in America)
1 level teaspoon of mixed spice
2 ozs ground almonds
6 ozs butter (room temperature)
6 ozs soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon of black treacle
and this is the method:
Prepare the dried fruit; cut the cherries in four. Blanch the almonds, chop finely. Mix the prepared fruits, almonds, peel and lemon rind together in a mixing bowl and pour over the brandy. (If liked leave overnight.)
Sieve the flour and spice and add the ground almonds.
Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream together until light and fluffy.
Beat in the treacle. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat in thoroughly, adding a little of the sieved flour with every egg after the first.
Fold in the remaining flour mixture with the prepared fruit etc., half at a time, gently and thoroughly until well mixed.
Line the inside of the tins with a grease proof paper insert and brush inside with melted margarine. Place the mixture evenly into the prepared tins. Tie several thicknesses of thick paper or newspaper around the outside of the tins. (This prevents the cakes from over-browning.) Smooth the top of the cakes with the back of a wet spoon.
Bake on middle shelf of a very slow oven (electric 290 deg. F., gas no. 1.) Allow approximately 4 hours for a 7-inch square or an 8-inch round cake.
Remove from the oven. Leave in tin to cool slightly, turn out, remove paper and cool on a wire tray.
When quite cold,wrap in double grease proof paper and store in an air-tight tin until required.
Don't forget to feed the cake with some Brandy! You will need to poke holes in the top of the cake with a skewer when it comes out of the oven and is still warm. Then, using a tablespoon, spoon over 3 spoons of Brandy, or you could use three capsful. Watch with delight as the Brandy soaks into the cake. It will make a slight sizzling sound. The feeding will need to be done again, once or twice before Christmas arrives. The Brandy will add to the delicious flavour of the finished cake and also help to preserve the cake if you can't eat it all at once.