You know Christmas is here when
- The radio plays 'All I want for Christmas' & 'Last Christmas' endlessly
- Starbucks bring back their famous Christmas Lattes and Christmas blend coffee
- Markets, old and new, sell Christmas goodies.
- Shimmering lights light up the once dark gloomy streets.
- Deli's start stocking the shelves with fruitcakes, mince pies & puddings.
- Roads are slippery and you don't find salt for either cooking or gritting!
But for me its this time of the year when I go through a baking frenzy...With all the snow and bad weather outside there is something cosy about just staying home and baking.
I made fruit cake, mince pies, mince meat and xmas pudding this year, in spite of being down with flu bug.
I make this fruit cake every year, experimenting with new flavours, & this time I made this cake using Pedro Ximénez an intensely sweet, dark dessert sherry that works perfectly for this cake. It gave the cake a gorgeous brown colour and fruity richness. I brushed the cooled cake with brandy to make it more boozy and christmassy, perfect to serve with a warm glass of Mulled Wine.
Boozy Fruit Cake (adapted minimally from Delicious)
Raisins - 250gms
Sultanas - 175 gms
Mixed Peel - 100gms
Glacé Cherries - 50 gms
Pedro Ximénez - 150ml (you could use all Brandy)
Grated Zest of 1 Orange and Lemon
Unsalted Butter - 200gms
Mixed Spice Sugar - 60gms (you could use all light brown sugar)
Light Brown Sugar - 80 gms
Dark Brown Sugar - 40gms
Eggs - 4
Sponge Flour - 275 gms
Baking Powder - 1/2 tsp
Ground Cinnamon - 1tsp
Mixed Spice - 1 tsp
Blanched Almonds - 100 gms
Mix the raisins,sultanas & currants in a bowl. Pour over warm water to cover & leave aside for 2 hrs. Drain the fruits through a colander and leave to dry overnight on a muslin cloth. Grease & Line an 8" loose bottom pan with grease proof paper. I used 2 sheets on the base & sides. Mix the fruits with the zest & Pedro Ximénez in a pan. Bring this to a boil and leave to cool. Preheat oven to 160C. Sift the flour,baking powder & the spices. Beat the butter & sugar till light. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture and the cooled fruits, almonds to this and gently fold everything till combined. If the mixture looks very thick add a splash of milk. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 1-1.15 min or until skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.Leave to cool for a few minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. When cool brush the top and sides of the cake with brandy.