For as long as I can remember, Mum has baked a Christmas cake for Christmas. It is dark, and rich and smells potently of alcohol, and is delicious.
The recipe has come from an out of print recipe book Dad bought Mum in 1982 for Mother’s Day. It has pages taped, the binding is held together with more tape, but you can still read on the front cover Dad’s message to Mum. ‘Happy Monther’s Day- what more could a man ask for other than breakfast in bed xxx’.
There has been the occasional year that it hasn’t been baked (usually because they have been visiting relatives overseas), and it just hasn’t been the same at Christmastime.* Actually one year, mum made a healthier version, and while that cake was quite nice, it just wasn’t the same.
It was also my wedding cake; in fact in the recipe book it’s listed as a wedding cake.
So this year, I decided to make my own. Dad took a photo of the page, sent it to my phone, and I was set!
I bought currants, raisins, sultanas, mixed peel, glace cherries, all of which were soaked in brandy overnight. Then Miss BG and I creamed butter and brown sugar, added eggs and vanilla, fig jam (it should have been marmalade, but I’m not buying a jar of marmalade for two tablespoons when I don’t eat the stuff), and grated orange and lemon peel. We folded it in to the soaked fruit, along with sifted flour and spices. And stirred and stirred and stirred before popping it into a big tin lined with brown paper and placing it in a slow oven.
The proof will be in the eating…
*Another tradition has been the Christmas stocking which my parents threatened to discontinue for us a couple of years back. All of us, in our thirties, protested vociferously against this :).