As a fan of Christmas I’ve tried to create lots of lovely traditions for us as a family and make everything just perfect.
Since she was three, Aoife and I have always made and later decorated the Christmas cake together. It’s something we both really enjoy doing and it means I can use lots of lovely hashtags across social media, you know the sort; #preciousmoments #mumanddaughter #makingmemories #familytimes #lookatuspretendingwearetheperfectfamilywhenwewereyellingateachotheraminuteago
The hashtags matter not, we have created a lovely tradition.
I’m going to hold my hands up though, there is an ulterior motive to this tradition. The reason I actually let Aoife help me bake the cake and decorate it herself is so the rest of Christmas is mine. I am very particular with what I like and how I like it. No one decorates the tree but me. So when Aoife says “Mummy, can we have though blue sparkly baubles with cartoon characters on them?” I can chuckle and say “Oh darling, I didn’t interfere with your cake so don’t you interfere with my tree”
I’m not entirely awful though, I leave a special space at the back, middle of the tree for the lovely decorations they make at school.
My quest for all things perfect at Christmas has resulted in me trying and tweaking many different recipes until they are just right.
I like our Christmas cake to be nutty and not too moist. The recipe is largely Delia but with less faffing and a bit more rum. I did suggest to Rory that I use amaretto in the cake this year, it was a little too controversial for his liking.
Below is the recipe Aoife uses. Once the cake is made she decorates it. I didn’t put that bit but you know because you are super.
Perfect Christmas cake recipe ingredients
225g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon mixed spice
225g dark brown/muscovado sugar
750g soaked dried mixed fruit
4 eggs – large
225g cubed butter
1 tablespoon black treacle
50g glace cherries – chopped
50g almonds – chopped
50g almonds – flaked
zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
Perfect Christmas cake recipe – method
Preheat your oven to 140º/gas mark 1
Line an 8 inch round cake tin with grease proof paper making sure that the paper comes about 4 inches above the tin
Sift the flour and spices into a large bowl
Add the sugar, butter, eggs, & treacle then beat it all together with a hand mixer or by hand
Fold in the rest of the ingredients making sure they’re well mixed in
Pour the mix into the prepped tin making sure it’s flat
The grease proof paper above the edge of the tin needs folding toward the centre of the tin to create a roof effect with a gap for the hot air to escape and stop the cake catching
Bake for 4 – 4 1/2 hours, use a knife or metal skewer to check it’s cooked throughout. When it comes out clean it’s done
Leave to cool for 15 minutes then turn it onto a cooling rack
Once the cake is cooled, pierce holes into the cake and brush with rum (or whatever alcohol you’re using). Wrap it in grease proof paper and place in an airtight tin.
‘Feed’ the cake once a week with a tablespoon of the alcohol you used for the cake.
If you can’t source pre-soaked fruit, you can soak it yourself. Just put the fruit in a large bowl, cover with 100ml of alcohol of your choice and leave for 12 hours.