I love the tradition of having a rich fruit cake at Christmas. When I cut into it on Christmas day it will seem like an effort of will to make myself eat a slice - in between the Christmas pudding and the cheese and the mince pies and the Turkish delight. Come mid January though, when all the festive feasting is over, I know I'll reach for the tin hungrily and greedily when I come in from work soaking wet and it will be a comfort. This last Sunday was Stir Up Sunday - the traditional day to make the Christmas pudding. I picked this day to bake the Christmas cake and it was lovely to think of all the cosy kitchens up and down the country breaking out the brandy and spices together!
A good Christmas cake to me should be absolutely jam packed with dried fruit - this is what makes it so robust and hearty. You could eat a slice of this before going out for a brisk stomp in the woods and it would give you all the energy you need. Unlike the more sugary cakes which have to be carefully timed if you're to avoid that inevitable sugar crash that follows...
So this time last year I made a cake using a Rachel Allen recipe from the book 'Bake'. I was so pleased with it that I decided to make it again but this time (emboldened by last years success) tweak the recipe slightly to suit my need for greed when it comes to dried fruit and spices. Well, all the brandy that I used to soak the fruits must have gone to my head because I got so bold and fearless with my spices and quantities of candied peel that I'm actually going to wait to try it before I blog my version of the recipe, just to make sure I got it right! I'll keep you posted on the cakes progress over the coming weeks (you're welcome) whilst I feed it with brandy and might have to swallow my pride on Christmas day if my mother deems it not up to scratch!
I'm quietly confident though - look at it all snuggled in it's tin....sleep well my beauty!