The great Xmas cake bake 2014

It’s October so I am in the midst of boozy sultanas, raisins, currents, prunes…..

For the past several years I have made rich fruit cakes in every shape and size and decorated them in every way, to raise funds for Guernsey charities.

I have posted on these efforts here and here.

I thought I’d update these posts with general tips and ideas. I understand that rich boozy fruit cakes smothered in marzipan and fondant are a particularly British Christmas treat and I know lots of people who say ‘ oh, my family don’t like fruit cake’, all I would say is make the mini ones and see how they go! Don’t cover in fondant, and place a disc of marzipan in the middle of the cake (similar as to what you might do with a simnel cake for Mothering Sunday or Easter).

I think anybody can make a fruit cake. It’s akin to not being able to fail making a casserole. Ten minutes here or there is not going to ruin it, and because there are virtually raising agents, there is pretty much nothing that can go wrong. If you are cooking, as I do, in a four oven Aga, you can even forget about them!!

Choose ingredients you like and omit ones you don’t. I don’t like mixed peel so I rarely add that. I do however add my own freshly grated zest and juice of oranges and lemons- so much better. Make sure you leave the dried fruit to steep in brandy ( or other liquor of choice) for at least 4 days, giving it a good stir every day.

When I am preparing in large batches I have a container with 4 kg of sultanas, raisins, currents, prunes, dates, apricots, glacé cherries, zest being turned over every day. I will have added about 500ml of brandy to that.

I love making the mini cakes, round and square. They store well until Christmas, wrapped in foil. Sometimes a spare bedroom is stacked high with the quantities I make, just before the great decorating weekends!

There are so many rich fruit cake recipes out there, just go with personal preferences. One thing I change though- I omit treacle and add ginger preserve and marmalade in equal measure- totally yum.

I am going to offer nut glazed cakes this year as an alternative to the traditional fondant themes. I have inserted a layer of marzipan in the centre so that you can still get a marzipan kick.

I will do a post with the final line up in about a month’s time. In the meantime I have a nice pinterest board full of other people’s pins for holiday season cake ideas. ( have you all noticed I am bilingual LOL).

I am happy to answer any questions about rich fruit cake mixes.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. My mother makes an amazing fruit cake loaded with bourbon. She wraps them in handkerchiefs and lets them cure for a month before Christmas. Your recipe looks so much like what she makes. I hate that people think “fruitcake” is that nasty product in grocery store when it can be so very delicious made properly.


    1. vannillarock says:

      your comment was coming up with an exclamation mark again Barbara – argh! i just happened to be online. thank you for those comments- i have actually had people coming back at the xmas fayre a year after their first purchase saying their husband, child, auntie, whatever wanted one of my cakes “and they didn’t even like fruit cake!’ its funny when you taste the real thing.
      i use greaseproof paper and foil – i don’t think i have enough handkerchiefs for the no i make LOL
      just unpacking my butternut squash to give your recipe a go 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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