Make a Family Christmas Cake this Weekend

There may well be some of you who have made your Christmas cake already and are feeding it religiously until it become a boozy, beautiful delight by Christmas Day but most of us have not….

However, the process of making even just a small Christmas Cake, rich with fruit, glace cherries and spicy notes is a easy and altogether satisfying and relaxing – a perfect winter weekend pastime.

This is our favourite and handed down to Founder, Emily by her great Auntie Wynne (in law). A fail safe recipe that can be made gluten free by simply swapping the flour to a gluten free variety. Hand written in pounds, ounces and gills – we have converted it for you to use today.

1.5kg mixed dried fruit (Auntie.W. only used sultanas & currants but you can add some cherries, mixed peel)
zest & juice of an unwaxed lemon
2 tbsp of Rum (or a 1/4 gill!)
250g butter at room temperature
325g soft brown sugar
425g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
100g ground almonds
4 large eggs
1/2tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp ground mace
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

Line an 8″ square or 9″ round tin with double thickness greaseproof paper that comes about an inch proud of the top of the tin. Pre heat the oven to 150c/300f/gas mk 2. Weigh out the dried fruit and soak in the rum for up to 24 hours with the lemon zest & juice.Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy in a large bowl. Add the beaten egg at intervals so that the mixture is light and fluffy, (to avoid curdling, which effects the rising, always use eggs at room temperature). Seive the flour, baking powder and spices into the mixture and stir in slowly with a large metal spoon. Then incorporate the ground almonds. Finally add the fruit and rum mixtufe and fold in carefully but surely until evenly mixed.
Add the cake batter to the tin and flatten on the top and bake on a middle shelf for 3 hours. Test with a skewer at this point. if it is not clean, try the cake for another 20 minutes or so. Once cooked, allow to cool in the tin until cold. You can either leave it in the tin and feed it every day with a little rum or take out of the tin and wrap securely in greaseproof paper until you want to decorate.

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