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CHRISTMAS FRUIT CAKE

This English-type cake rich in fruit can be made 1 - 4 weeks before Christmas and stored in an airtight container. Once a week during storing, the cake is moistened with a dash of good-quality cognac or brandy.

about 130 g chopped candied orange peel
about 65 g chopped candied citron peel
150 ml candied cherries
150 ml raisins or currants
150 ml sultanas
150 ml chopped dried figs
150 ml sliced dried, pitted dates
175 ml pecan or walnut halves
100 ml cognac
375 ml flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tbsp cinnamon
½ tsp grated nutmeg or mace
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cloves
2 eggs
200 ml soft brown sugar (firmly packed)
100 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
100 ml melted butter
50 ml dark molasses

Butter the sides and bottom of a rectangular loaf pan. Line the sides and the bottom of the pan with sheets of buttered parchment paper.

Mix the dried fruit, candied peel and cherries in a bowl. Pour over the cognac or brandy, cover with plastic wrap and let the fruit soak for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight, stirring mixture every now and then.

Combine the flour with baking powder and spices. Mix thoroughly. Beat the eggs until pale and fluffy. Mix in the sugar, the fresh orange juice, molasses and melted, cooled butter. Keep stirring, delicately, until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved.

Drain the fruit and add to the dry ingredients, along with the nuts. Mix thoroughly. Add the egg mixture and stir gently until smooth. Spoon the batter in the loaf pan and bake at 150 °C for 1 hour. Then cover the cake with foil and bake for another hour or until a cake tester/toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 30 minutes and then unmould it. Carefully peel off the parchment paper from the sides and the bottom of the cake. Wash and dry the loaf pan and line it with clean wax paper. Place the cake back into the pan.

Prick the cake, eg with a thin knitting needle or a toothpick, and pour 1 tablespoon of cognac or brandy over the surface. Cover the cake with wax paper and plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for 1 - 4 weeks. Once a week during storing, prick the surface of the cake and pour 1 tablespoon of cognac or brandy over it. This will make the cake moist and succulent in time for Christmas.

Serving suggestion:
Serve this cake as a dessert on Christmas dinner, accompanied by Tokaji Aszú wine or port and Cheshire or Wensleydale-type mild cheese.

Recipe source: mod.recipes posting, 1987.


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