Monday, November 16, 2009

Christmas Fruit Cake

Have you made your christmas cake yet ? If you haven't, it is time to get cracking. Christmas is but just 6 weeks away. This leaves you with enough time for the fruit cake to mature ensuring the best possible flavour.

This the second year running I am making the cake from this recipe. Lovely and moist and the steps are easy and straight forward. From now till christmas, it will be dribbled with rum or brandy every week.

Fruit cakes are best made a few weeks or 2 months in advance.

christmas fruit cake
Makes : 3 x 6" (15cm)round cake

225g softened butter
200g sugar

6 eggs

2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 orange, grate rind and juice (¼ cup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond essence
½ tsp baking soda dissolved in 1 Tbsp water

400g flour
1.5kg dried fruit mix

1. Mix half the flour into the dried fruit mix.

2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg one at a time (if the mixture cuddles, add a tablespoon of flour with each egg). Beat well.

3. Add the spices, grated orange rind, orange juice, essences and baking soda. Stir in the remaining flour.

4. Add the dried mixed fruit and mix thoroughly to combine.

5. Spread mixture into a 23cm (9 inch) tin lined with greaseproof paper. Level the surface (wet your hand) leaving a slight indentation in the centre.

6. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 150 deg C (300F) for 1½ hours (cover the top of the tin with a cardboard with a hole in the middle to let off steam).
Lower the heat to 140 deg C (275 F) for another 1-1½ hours longer (remove cardboard) or until a skewer in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

7. If you like, brush with a tablespoon of brandy, whisky or rum over the cake while hot. Leave in the pan for an hour before removing to cool on rack.

8. Every week till Christmas, drizzle with a tsp of alcohol.

fruit cake
Note :
1. This moist and fruity cake would make a great birthday or wedding cake as well.

2. To store : Leave the baking paper on, cover with another layer of baking paper and foil and store in an airtight container. My 6" round cake fits perfectly into 2L ice cream containers.

3. After the New Year, any leftovers is sliced up and frozen in airtight containers.

4. The fruit cake can be iced but I prefer to keep it simple and just dust with icing sugar.

christmas cake
1. Prepare the cake tin the day before. Use either a 9"(23cm) or 3 x 6"(15½cm) tins. Grease and line a deep-sided cake tin with 2 layers of baking paper. Wrap the outside of the tin in about 8 layers of newspapers, securing with strings.

2. Last year I made this recipe into 2 x 6" round tins but I find the cake a bit tall 3½"(9cm) and it took ages to cook. This year I have spread it to 3 x 6" tins and it was a perfect height of 3"(7cm) and it baked within the 3 hours timeframe.

3. My 6" round tins are recycled from LKK sauces.

4. Drizzle the fruit cake every week (until Christmas) with a tsp of rum or brandy. The cake will smell divine and it will take a bit of willpower to resist the temptation to eat the cake pronto !

xmas fruit cake
Recipe : eelcat @ lifestyleblock by Allyson Gofton(adapted)


Shereen said...

Hi There.

I have bought a Sunbeam breadmaker, which I believe is the same model as yours. I have read the instruction book but I cannot figure out some of the functions.

ie. I have come across many bread recipes that use breadmakers and the instruction was to set it on the dough function. However as you know our breadmaker does not specifically have that function. How do I set the machine to achieve the dough function as stated in some recipes? I believe that if you were to do it without a breadmaker you would have to knead it and let it rest until it doubles in size. How do I achieve to this stage with a breadmaker?

When you knead bread dough manually you are suppossed to knead it until it reaches the window pane test. However I notice that with a bread machine despite having the dough rise and knocked down 3 times it still does not achieve this stage. Did I do something wrong here or with bread machines is this normal?

For your info I have never baked my bread using the bread machine, I am just using it to knead my dough and shape it manually afterwards and let it proof again before baking it.

I am so sorry to trouble you but after a couple of months having the bread machine I have not been very successful in producing great breads.

Thank you.

Sinner said...

Hi Shereen,

What model is your Sunbeam ? Mine is Sunbeam Quantum BM7800.

The functions in yours sounds very restricted. This model is very versatile and each 'function' from kneading, resting, baking and time of each is programmable.

No complains about my Sunbeam breadmaker as it produces fantastic bread. Much better than my first basic breadmaker (Breville).

Shereen said...

Hi again,
My breadmaker model is Sunbeam Quantum BM7800 which is also the same with yours.How do I set it to a dough fuction as stated in many recipes?

Sinner said...

Hi Shereen,

In the 'menu settings' on page 11-12 in the manual, it will show you the different options.

To set it to dough, press the menu button until you reach the number '12'.

Page 74-75 will show you the times cycle for each of these settings.

I don't use the factory settings for my bread. I program the breadmaker (page 18-20) as I need a separate cycle for making bread in the cold winter or hot summer season. I set the time I want it to knead, rise, punchdown, bake etc.

My everyday loaf is baked straight in the breadmaker from start to finish. Texture is nice and soft.

If you find your bread have not risen high enough, press the 'pause' button to delay the bake cycle.

Shereen said...

Dear Sinner,
Thank you so much for the info.By the sound of it,it looks like I have to do it with lots of trial and error.Perhaps I should just stick to my Kitchen Aid mixer...hahaha.I was very skeptical to get a bread maker earlier until I read your post and was inspired to bake my bread with bread maker.Anyway,I am living in Bucklands Beach,East Auckland.Thank you again.

Sinner said...

Hi Shereen,

Don't give up on your breadmaker just yet. As with any machines or gadgets with lots of extra features it does take a while to get familiar with them.

I would have read the manual a hundred times to try and understand what they are on about.

We love this breadmaker so much that we even bought another one to be on 'standby' (just in case this one breaks down) when it was on special. We can never be without a breadmaker !

The 'paddle' for this BM7800 can be considered quite strong as it is one of the very few bread machines that can make gluten free bread.

Shereen said...

Hi Sinner,
Thank you for the encouragement.I shall endeavour with the breadmaker.I love baking breads but somehow I got put off whenever I think of going through the confusions this breadmaker is causing me.I guess I must just persevere and feed the birds more often..haha!Love your blog.Your recipes are foolproof and you are very resourceful.Thanks again,Sinner and keep up the good job.

Sinner said...

Hi Shereen,

We have all been there. My first few loaves went to the cows ! Didn't hear them complaining though. lol

Thanks for your compliment.

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