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Christmas Cake

(58 Posts)
petallus Fri 14-Nov-14 11:24:36

I have decided to make a cake this year, using my grandmother's recipe.

The recipe does not mention alcohol. I have heard cakes should be made well in advance of Christmas.

My questions are:

How soon before Christmas should I make the cake?

If the cake does not include alcohol will it keep for as long?

Any other helpful tips would be appreciated.

granjo39 Fri 14-Nov-14 13:20:29

I usually make mine 6-8 weeks before Christmas. I cannot answer you regards how long it would keep without alcohol. I don't feel it would be a proper Christmas cake without the booze! My dried fruit is soaking in brandy at this very minute and I'll make the cake this weekend.

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 14-Nov-14 13:29:21

Make the cake now. It is the huge quantity of dried fruits and the sugar that makes it keep. The alcohol gives it moistness and flavour.

Having said that, I do think a little alcohol sprinkled over the bottom of the cake before you wrap it, is bound to deter any mould that might happen. But if you've cooked it thoroughly this shouldn't happen anyway. Lots of recipes state orange juice or cold tea as an alternative to booze. Why don't you want to include alcohol though?

petallus Fri 14-Nov-14 14:34:41

My gran's recipe does not include alcohol though she might have 'fed' it.

I think I will include alcohol. We won a bottle of spiced Bacardi in a recent raffle. If that will do, I won't need to splash out on brandy.

In fact, I'll get soaking the fruit tomorrow.

FlicketyB Fri 14-Nov-14 14:39:39

Mincemeat was made last weekend, Christmas cake (with plenty of brandy) will be made this weekend and Christmas pudding (also with plenty of brandy) will be made next weekend. The Christmas season has started!

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 14-Nov-14 14:52:00

I've just taken the paper off of mine. I'm wondering if I cooked it long enough. [worry worry] hmm I've poured plenty of whisky over it. (Yes - whisky - went for a change this year)

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 14-Nov-14 14:53:35

Bacardi is rum isn't? That will be delicious!

Love Xmas cake.

ginny Fri 14-Nov-14 15:35:26

I use my Grandmothers recipe. No alcohol and do feed it. It keeps perfectly well and is much enjoyed. I made my wedding cake with the same recipe and used one tier 2 years later when our first daughter was born. It had been in a cool place well wrapped in greaseproof paper and foil.

Nansypansy Sat 15-Nov-14 07:01:17

Isn't it great that so many of us use our grandmothers recipe for Christmas cake and Christmas pudding. I must admit I no longer make the puddings as the bought ones (especially lidl) are so good. I'm now reminded to crack on with my cake .......

tiggypiro Sat 15-Nov-14 08:17:26

My Granny always 'fed' her cakes well with alcohol. I remember going to see her one Easter and she asked me if I would like some Christmas cake (silly question!). I was given the choice of 'this years, last years or the years before'. Everyone was delicious - a bit rude to choose I thought and I was only about 17 and could eat for England.

As jingl said it is the quantity of fruit and sugar which gives them their keeping qualities and of course a good storage container.

ginny Sat 15-Nov-14 08:35:52

Re. previous post it should of course read 'do not feed it'.

rubysong Sat 15-Nov-14 12:55:02

Make it as soon as you can Petallus. I usually brush the base of mine with alcohol while it is still a bit warm as I think it soaks in better.

whitewave Sat 15-Nov-14 16:33:52

WELL THAT'S IT! I had planned not to make cake , pudding, chutney mincemeat or anything this year because of diet BUT I can't stand it so am off to Waitrose on Monday (got £10 off voucher) to buy all my ingredients and will be happily cooking next week as per usual this time of year. I am soooo weak

FlicketyB Sun 16-Nov-14 09:14:18

But isn't it fun!

Nanabelle Sun 16-Nov-14 09:45:53

And doesn't it all taste so nice grin.
I thought today was Stir Up Sunday, but that's next week. None of my family likes Christmas Puddings (only me) so I gave up making those and just buy one of the very small ones.

petallus Sun 16-Nov-14 12:42:08

Well, the cake's just gone in the oven. The raw mixture tasted alright. It's the first one I've made in over thirty years.

There was one blip. I had put the cake mixture nicely in the tin when I realised the chopped walnuts weren't in so I plonked them on top and gave them a bit of a prod.

In spite of this and the fact that due to bad planning I only soaked the fruit for an hour, I am confident about my cake smile

Mishap Sun 16-Nov-14 12:48:58

Does anyone have a good recipe for a Christmas cake?

I have never made one - I always do the puds - but this year I have offered to also do the cake. I am looking upon it as occupational therapy! There will be a huge number of us this year (not at my house, I am glad to say!) so it needs to be big - I may have to buy a suitable cake tin. I love nuts and would like a recipe that has plenty in - and I need to know how to stop the edges burning. My oven is not brilliant and undoubtedly gets hotter on one side than the other; and if it is a big cake, I am concerned that it will burn, but do not want to keep opening the oven to turn it around, assuming that will make it deflate.

I could look up a reipe on the net, but would rather have one that is tried and tested and recommended by a GNetter.

Thanks for your help.

rubysong Sun 16-Nov-14 12:54:55

Mishap I line my tin with two lots of greaseproof paper (stuck down with a brushing of melted lard) and on the outside of the tin put a couple of layers of strong brown paper, tied on with string. I think that might help avoid the edges getting too well done. Also don't have the oven too hot. (Our village show judge always recommends going by the book you got with the oven.)

petallus Sun 16-Nov-14 14:43:20

Erghh! You are right to be concerned about burning mishap.

My cake has only been in the oven for two hours and I can see the top is burnt.

It should be in for 3 to 4 hours!!

whitewave Sun 16-Nov-14 14:55:03

cover the top and turn down the oven - you don't want an under cooked raw cake which is burnt on the outside!!! At least you can shave off any burnt bits and covered with icing whose to know wink

papaoscar Sun 16-Nov-14 15:15:32

Best way to get the marzipan to stick to the cake and icing to stop it going soggy? And how thick should the marzipan and icing be? Does the cake need fortifying with spirits? If so, what's best? How can you stop the icing going hard and yellow?

petallus Sun 16-Nov-14 15:54:34

I've already taken off some of the top and eaten it whitewave.

papaoscar I think a little jam makes the marzipan stick and you don't do the white icing until a day or two before you are going to eat the cake (so it doesn't have time to go hard and yellow).

FlicketyB Sun 16-Nov-14 16:14:33

Does anyone know where I can get almond-free marzipan? I have found some recipes, but would rather buy it. DGD is allergic to almonds

durhamjen Sun 16-Nov-14 16:52:06

Re another thread, my 12 year old grandson wants to make a Christmas cake this year.

Mishap Sun 16-Nov-14 17:13:28

Good to hear about all these wonderful grandmas with their great Christmas cake recipes - anyone got a minute to put one up on here for me please?! - or to recommend one that I can download.