Thursday, 2 November 2006

Christmas Cake

Fruit cake has a poor reputation and is the butt of many holiday jokes, from the fruit cake used as a door stop to stories told about people mailing the same stale fruit cake from friend to friend year after year. Unfortunately, I have tasted fruit cake that would fit in the category "inedible". Nuts and coconut go stale and rancid quickly and can ruin a recipe, so I leave these ingredients out completely. I find that store-bought fruit cake is too sweet and sticky, the smallest piece causing me to look quickly for something to drink.
Grandma D. made a simple, light (as opposed to dark) fruit cake that is a family favourite. We make it the first week of November, wrap it well and freeze it for at least a month. It is still delicious after six months in the freezer.
Eldest daughter came home on her days off this week to make the cake, so I pulled out Grandma's old recipe box and the stained card she had written on so I could buy the ingredients. Grandma always said you should eat twelve pieces of fruit cake during the holiday season in order to have twelve happy months the next year. I don't need any excuse to eat this cake!

Christmas Cake

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
Cream butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, almost colourless.
Add well beaten eggs.

12-16 oz raisins
1/2 lb glazed cherries
2 cups mixed peel

Pour boiling water over the raisins, drain and pat them dry with a towel.
Place them in a second bowl with the cherries and the mixed peel.

sift over the fruit:

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Add the floured fruit mixture to the egg mixture along with

1/4 c of juice
1 tsp flavouring (vanilla or almond)

Bake for 3 hours at 275 degrees F, or until done.
Place a pan of water in the oven under the cake.

This recipe makes a standard loaf pan, plus a smaller pan.
Grandma had special fruit cake tins that she used.
It must be well wrapped and kept in a cool place for a while before slicing.
Serve in slices the size of dominoes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A note for those of you with gas ovens - I made this recipe in a gas oven and instead of taking 3 hours to bake, it took only 1 hour. Thankfully I managed to rescue it before it got too brown...