Irish Christmas Cake

 

A Christmas cake is generally a variation of the traditional fruitcake seen around the holidays and come in different shapes and sizes.

The spices and dried fruits in the cake represent the exotic eastern spices brought by the three Wise Men to the newborn King. The fruit is all soaked overnight in the whiskey in a covered bowl, before use, to add flavor.

 

Ingredients:

5 oz raisins
4½ oz pitted dates
4½ oz sultanas
4 oz quartered glace cherries
4 fl oz Irish whiskey
(let all of the above soak together the night before making the Christmas cake)

8 oz butter (plus extra butter for greasing)
7 oz caster sugar
4 eggs
zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
2 tbsp. molasses
8 oz all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 rounded tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ground clove
2oz ground almonds
2 fl oz Irish whiskey

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Grease a 8″ cake pan and line with parchment paper.

2. Mix together the sugar and butter in a bowl until creamy. Gradually add the eggs, incorporating a little of the flour with each egg added. Add the molasses and zest and mix well.

3. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl of soaked fruit and add the salt, spices and almonds. Stir all of this together, mixing well.

4. Fold the fruit mix into the egg mix, stirring evenly. Spoon the completed mix into the cake tin.

5. Bake in the center of the oven for 3 hours. If it is browning a little too much, cover it loosely with tinfoil. Cook for another ½ hour. The cake is cooked when a toothpick is inserted into the center and comes out clean.

6. Make small holes all over the warm cake with a toothpick and spoon the extra whiskey over the holes until it has all soaked in. Let the cake to cool in the pan.

7. When the cake is cold, remove it from pan and wrap first in clean parchment paper and then in aluminum foil.

Made prior to Christmas, a small amount of brandy, sherry or whiskey (the choice is yours) should be poured onto the cake every week until Christmas. This process is called “feeding the cake”. Turn the cake over each week, before pouring the spirit of choice onto it to help ensure the alcohol penetrates to the center of the Christmas cake and ready for Christmas Day.

 

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