Sunday, December 7, 2008

Light Christmas Fruit-cake (level beginners)

This year I baked the same light fruit cake for Christmas as I did last year.
After looking through many of my cook books, I settled for "old favourite" from "Cook and Enjoy."
The only difference was that I baked it in two loaf tins so that I have one small cake for Christmas and one for my husband's birthday a month later.

I added all the weight of fruit, cherries and peel together and made up my own mixture of glacè- and dried-fruit and cherries.
All except the preserved ginger which I ate before the baking day. I loooooove ginger.

My husband normally buy's the fruit mixture. I just give him the amount and tell him buy whatever he wants in the cake. It is then his job to feed the cake some brandy every now and then, after it has been baked, while it is waiting in the cake tins to mature.

I soak the fruit in brandy the night before and use some of the flour and just sprinkle it over the fruit before adding it to the flour mixture. The reason for coating the fruit is to spread it evenly throughout the cake when it bakes and not all go to the bottom. The flour coating "marries" the fruit with the dough before it is mixed.

Light Christmas fruit cake

  • 250 gram butter
  • 250 gram castor sugar
  • 6 eggs (or 4 extra large)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 500 g mixed fruit (chopped sultanas, candied peel, seeded raisins, currants)
  • 250 gram candied cherries, cut into halves
  • 55 g (2 oz.) chopped nuts
  • 1 teaspoon lemon essence
  • (45ml - 60ml) brandy

  • 1. Cream the butter and gradually add sugar. Beat until light.
  • 2. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • 3. Add the prepared fruit, cherries and nuts. Mix well.
  • 4. Sift together the dry ingredients and fold in.
  • 5. Lastly add flavouring and brandy and blend well.
  • 6. Turn the batter into a cake tin lined with aluminium foil or a few layers of buttered brown paper.
  • 7. Bake in a moderately cool oven at 150 °C (300 °F) for 2-2 1/2 hours.

My variations
Before I start I turn the oven on and prepare my cake tins.
Clean the kitchen and prepare my work surface.

People living in small flats may even use the ironing board with plastic over it for more work space.
Next I find and weigh or measure all the ingredients

I did not have castor sugar so I added normal sugar to the blender and blended it into caster sugar.
Then I added the butter and mixed it until it resembled cream.

Then I transferred it to the mixer and added the eggs one at a time.
I sifted the dry ingredients and coated the fruit with some of the dry ingredients first.

It was less messy to add the other ingredients to the soaking fruit so I first added the wet ingredients and then the dry ingredients.

I mixed it carefully aiming not to break the trapped air caught up by the mixing and the sifting process. ( using a metal spoon rather than a blunt spoon.)

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