I think I promised this recipe for a simple Christmas cake, which doesn’t really need months of maturing and weekly brandy feeds, way back on Stir-Up Sunday, when you’re supposed to bake cakes and puddings for Christmas.
If, like me, you hadn’t the time, inclination, or both, back then, or just thought that it was too early to think about Christmas, here’s a recipe for that cake you meant to bake. Now that we’re, you know, in the last few days before Christmas.
What you need to do is easy. Put whatever dried fruits and candied peel that you like into a bowl. I don’t mind if you don’t like vast quantities of fruit in a cake – my fiance doesn’t, either. He doesn’t like dried grapes, which is more annoying. So, yes. Choose your fruits and amounts according to taste. Pour a little (or a lot; your choice) brandy into the bowl and let the fruits soak it up greedily. Traditionally you leave them to soak overnight, but I’m presuming you’re not that organised. I know I’m not usually. Even when I plan when I’m baking my cake. Half an hour’s fine. So’s 5 minutes. It’ll all go into the cake mix anyway.
Lay your hands on a simple sponge recipe/grab a sponge mix from the supermarket. The first time I made this cake, I used a Victoria sponge recipe. Today, I used one of Sainsbury’s Hallowe’en recipes, for a chocolate orange spider-web cake. I’ve just adapted it a bit.
So, I had:
125g butter (I don’t care what Sainsbury’s says, I’m not using something called “baking spread” in my cake.)
125g light brown sugar. I didn’t have caster sugar.
2 tbsps milk
2 large-ish eggs
125g plain flour plus 1 tsp baking powder
40g white creme brulee chocolate powder. I’ve been saving it specially.
A bowl of dried fruits in brandy.
And the steps for making goes something like this… Mix together in order, starting by creaming together the butter and sugar, then folding in the rest.
Stick in a previously greased and lined tin and shove in the oven at 180C until it looks about ready. Half an hour or so should do it.
The trick is in using a recipe you know will give you a decent-sized cake. As you can probably see, mine’s a bit thin. Probably needed double the recipe. Never mind. Cake’s cake. I’m not fussy, I’m not proud. Or a smaller cake tin. Meh.