If you mention anything Christmas related now, most people will reply angrily that it’s too early to even think about it...
But you may not realise that for the perfect Christmas cake, you must make it well in advance and let the flavours settle as well as allowing time to keep ‘feeding’ it.
Some people say 6 weeks before Christmas is a good time to start baking but some sites such as Nigella.com recommend 12 weeks beforehand.
Your Christmas cake should be fed every 4 to 6 weeks but in the meantime, after baking, it should be stored away in a secure, air tight container.
Another way to keep the freshness of your Christmas cake is to wrap it in a couple of layers of greaseproof paper or baking parchment and then wrapped in a layer of foil. You should then keep the cake in its air tight container away from direct sunlight.
Foil should not be wrapped directly onto the cake as it can react with the fruit.
A good old Christmas cake is one of the nation’s favourite foods to enjoy over the festive season, so to make the best cake yet, why not follow one of our top family recipes:
12oz Self Raising Flour
1tsp mixed spice
4oz Ground Almonds
8oz Caster Sugar
4 Eggs beaten with ¼ pint milk (or ½ milk and brandy)
4oz Halved Glacier Cherries
4oz Cut Mixed Peel
- Sieve together flour, spice and ground almonds.
- Cream butter and sugar, stir in flour mixture and eggs with milk (alternatively, a little at a time).
- Lastly add fruit. Mix thoroughly.
- Place mixture in a greased and lined 23cm (9in) round or 20.5cm (8in) square tin. Protect with brown paper (fasten a band of doubled brown paper round the tin 2-3 inches higher than tin, and also stand the tin on a thick layer of brown paper or newspaper. Cover the cake after 3 hours)
- Bake in a slow oven 150ËšC, 300ËšF, Gas Mark 2 for about 3 ½ to 4 hours.
- The cake can then be iced and/or decorated as you wish long after cooling.
Your toppings and cake decorations can be as simple or as complex as you like. Christmas cake can be just as nice left plain too, it’s completely personal preference!
Happy baking - don't forget to share your results with us!!