Monday, December 7, 2015

Fast and easy Christmas cake

Tis the season, or at least the season is very fast approaching. This weekend we put up our Christmas tree and it's starting to feel quite cheery and seasonal around here. So I reflected on what I should put here on the blog. Every year I imply that I will be doing loads of baking and posting and, all to frequentl, I get overwhelmed with just doing all the baking and then forget to actually blog. So this year, despite (maybe because of) the fact that I am under more pressure than every before, I have decided to start early and get some Christmas posts up this year!!

So I shall start with the Christmas cake, now before you run for fear of fruit cake, let me assure you that this is a lighter cake! It has lots of delicious flavour but it's not dense or overwhelmingly fruity. Even if you have disliked Christmas cake in the past, I implore you to give this a try. If you love Christmas cake, well this has it all, so do try this!

As a bit of a baker, there are certain..........erm..............expectations! I will acknowledge that a great many of these expectations are self-imposed! However once you start a tradition people get used to it and making Christmas cake for my bf's family is one of those traditions. Anything that makes this a little easier is a blessing and this year I think I have it twigged!! The secret = mince meat (the fruit) and with this recipe you can go from start to finish in one hour!!!

You see mince meat has been stewing for months and all that delicious fruit has been soaking up the delicious spice and juices that make it appear that you put hours of work prepping your fruit and maybe even feeding the cake for a while. So you take this wonderful mixture (preferably one without lard) and put it into a saucepan, add water, whiskey, and extra fruit of your choice, I added sultanas and cherries and then heat this gently for about 10 minutes.

Quick and easy Christmas Cake (makes 2 trays or 10" loaf tin)

800g Minced meat
100ml water
40ml whiskey
300g sultanas
300g chopped cherries
225g Butter
75g white sugar (there is a lot of sugar in the mince meat)
500g Plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp each of cinnamon, all spice and nutmeg
1 pinch salt
300ml Milk
3 whole eggs
1 tsp vanilla

(I know it's a lot of ingredients but it really is simple, I promise!)

1- Preheat oven to 180'C. Put your minced meat, water, whiskey, sultanas and cherries into a big, thick bottomed saucepan. Heat gently for 10 mins.

2- Once it's been heated through, remove from heat, add your butter and sugar and mix thoroughly.

3- In separate bowls, beat together the flour, baking powder/soda and spices and in the other bowl the eggs and milk.

4- Now alternate in the flour and milk mixture until everything in incorporated!

5- Pour into baking trays and bake for 20 minutes for a shallow baking tray or 45 minutes for a loaf tin.

This sight just says Christmas to me!!

To decorate:
I blitzed together almonds, hazelnuts and some icing sugar and then sprinkled on top before nnaking but this is naturally optional!

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