Posted in Baking Day

Christmas Cake!!!

It has been at least 10 years since I have baked a Christmas Cake which means that my kids have never helped to ice and decorate one.  (The oldest two may have but would’ve been too young to remember.)  This morning i rooted out my ‘McDonnells second Good Food Cook Book’ which has love heart doodles on some of the pages as it was a book that we used in Home Economics class in secondary school.  This is the only Christmas Cake recipe that I have ever tried and as I still have it here we go again.  As I write, the cake is slowly baking in the oven and will be ready to emerge after about 4 hours.  I’ll be letting it cool, wrapping it up and then storing it away until December.

Making a Christmas Cake sounds like a big ordeal but it isn’t really.  The tricky bit is lining the tin with greaseproof paper and grating the lemon and orange rind and yes I did grate my thumb!  I was in town (aka Cork City) yesterday and stopped off in M&S on the way to the carpark to pick up a few bits.  They only had whole nutmeg so I felt very Jamie Oliver as I grated that into the cake today.  As well as lining the tin with a double layer of greaseproof paper I also used a double layer of brown paper and tied that on the outside of the tin with string.  It doesn’t say to do this in the book but I have some recollection of doing this in my Home Economics class, maybe that was for something else but I think it was so that the outside of the cake doesn’t get burned or something…
Sheila must pay attention in class and not doodle in her recipe book.
Sheila must pay attention in class and not doodle in her recipe book.
Sheila must pay attention in class and not doodle in her recipe book.
Sheila must pay attention in class and not doodle in her recipe book.
Sheila must pay attention in class and not doodle in her recipe book……

You will need:
575g currants
375g sultanas
200g raisins
150g glace cherries
150g chopped almonds
150g mixed cut peel
2 lemons – rind
1 orange – rind
4 tbsp whiskey
400g plain flour
1 and half tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
100g ground almonds
300g unsalted butter (book uses Stork Margarine)
350g dark brown sugar
7 large eggs
Tin: Deep 10 inch round or 9 inch square (I used a 9 inch round!)
Pre-heat the oven to 140C, Gas Mark 1
Line the tin with double layer of greaseproof paper on the bottom and sides and cut the paper so that it is higher than the sides of the tin. 
(Use melted butter to stick the paper.)
Chop the glace cherries into quarters.
Grate the rind of the orange and the lemons.
Sieve the flour and spices together.
Beat everything together in a bowl for 3 -4 minutes
Put the mixture in the tin and smooth the top with the back of a wet spoon.
Wrap a double layer of brown paper around the outside of the tin and tie with string.
Bake for up to 4  to 4 and a half hours.
Start testing the cake every so often after 3 hours with a skewer, when it comes out clean the cake is done.
Allow the cake to cool in the tin. 
Remove all the paper and then wrap in double greaseproof paper and in tin foil and store in cool dry place.

The picture above shows the cake before it went into the oven and I’ll put up a picture of the finished article in December.  Getting in the mood I also bought a star for the top of the tree but the napkin rings and nibbles bowls are from last year.

I have just found out that ‘Taste of Christmas’ and ‘Food & Wine Magazine Christmas Show’ are both on in Dublin over the same weekend 26-28 November.  First of all I thought this was bad planning but perhaps it’s intentional.  I hope to go to one on the Saturday and one on the Sunday but will they be child friendly I wonder?!  By the way I’ve just realised that I left the ground almonds out of the cake, but sure it will be grand!
Til next time, Sheila.


Irish Author - Dubut romantic fiction novel 'Good Enough' published in 2021. 'Gimme Dinner' a collection of 50 great dinner recipes published in 2022. 'Enjoy' published by Mercier Press in 2016 .'Gimme the Recipe' published in 2012. Work in admin of our Food Safety Consultancy business - Industrial Management Systems with my husband Denis.

4 thoughts on “Christmas Cake!!!

  1. I’m loving all the different fruits in this cake! Any reason to start getting ready for Christmas is good in my book. This particular reason sounds delicious!

    Oh, and I must say “Yay for book-doodlers!” because I’m one of those, too. 😀

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