I will 'fess up now. I'm not a fan of Christmas cake but I really wanted to make one! So this weekend I jumped in the deep end...
The recipe - wow, there are so many to choose from! I ended up going with one from my mum's Good Housekeeping magazine - November 2007 - Christmas Cake with a Hint of Dark Chocolate
125g Agen prunes, chopped
125g ready to eat Apricots, chopped
150ml Dark Rum + 1 tablespoon for feeding the cake (we used original Antiguan rum from our honeymoon)
Zest and juice of 1 orange
175g dark muscavado sugar
175g softened butter
4 medium eggs
125g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 level teaspoon cinnamon
75g Green & Black's Dark 85% chocolate, finely grated
100g lightly toasted flaked almonds
Start the night before you will make the cake
Put the rum and orange juice & zest in a large pan
Add the dried fruit and bring to the boil, then turn off the heat, cover and leave to soak overnight
The next day
Preheat the oven to 150 °c (130 °c fan)
Grease and double line the baking tin with greaseproof paper, allow it to stand proud at the top
In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light & fluffy - I used an electric hand mixer for about 5 minutesAdd the eggs one at a time, making sure the mixture doesn't curdle (if it does add a little of the flour)
Gently fold in the flour, mixed spice & cinnamon
Next, fold in the chocolate and almond flakes
Lastly add the fruit and carefully mix through
Pour the mixture into the tin, taking care not to catch & pull the greaseproof paper off the sides of the tin
Level the surface of the cake
Wrap 2 layers of brown paper around the outside of the tin leaving a good inch above the top of the tin. Use the cotton to secure this.
Pop in the oven for 3 to 31/2 hours. Use a skewer to make sure the centre is cooked through.
Once cooked leave in the tin for 10 minutes, then take the cake out (leaving it in the greaseproof) and let it cool on a cake rack.
Once cold, wrap in clingfilm and then tinfoil and pop it in an airtight container.
After 2 weeks add the tablespoon of rum & re-wrap the cake. It will last for up to 3 months.