Christmas cakes are the perfect gifting option for friends, family and colleagues, Karla Goodwin, of Auckland’s Bluebells Cakery, says.
She advises you to make them in advance, and when Christmas rolls around you’ll already have your edible gifts sorted.
“Remember to feed your cakes with brandy to ensure that they stay moist and flavoursome.”
140ml brandy, plus extra for drizzling and feeding
100g mixed peel
100g red glacé cherries, chopped
50g flaked almonds
1 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp baking soda
130g unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
Zest and juice of 1 orange
40g golden syrup
2 free-range eggs
225g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
Measure the raisins, sultanas, currants and cranberries into a bowl. Pour the brandy over the top and stir to combine, then cover and leave at room temperature for as long as possible I generally leave it for a few days.
Measure the mixed peel, cherries and almonds into a separate bowl and stir to combine.
Sift the mixed spice, cinnamon, cardamom and baking soda into a small bowl and stir to combine.
When you are ready to bake your cake, grease a 22cm cake tin and line with baking paper, putting a double layer of baking paper up the sides of the tin and extending 23cm above the top of the tin.
Preheat the oven to 140°C (120°C fan-bake).
Place the butter, sugar, orange zest, orange juice and golden syrup in a medium-sized saucepan and put on low heat to melt.
When melted, add the spices and baking soda and stir through until foamy.
Remove from the heat and pour the foamy liquid on top of your brandy-soaked raisin mix. Stir to combine and until the dried fruits are well coated.
Add the cherry mix and stir again well. Set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk the eggs in a small bowl with a fork.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and stir to combine.
When the fruit mixture has cooled slightly, add the egg to the fruit and stir through well.
Lastly, add the flour and baking powder and stir until everything is well combined and there are no streaks of flour.
Pour into the cake tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 3-3½ hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and poke some holes in the top with a skewer. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of brandy over the top. Leave to cool in the tin.
When cool, remove cake from the tin with the baking paper still attached. Wrap in a layer of cling wrap and then a layer of foil. Store somewhere cool, dry and dark.
You can keep feeding the cake every fortnight for up to 2 months: unwrap the cake, leaving the baking paper intact, and brush 2 tablespoons of brandy over the top so that it soaks into the cake. Wrap again in cling wrap and foil, and store.
If you store your cake well and feed it in the first 2 months as described above, it will keep for up to 4 months in a dark, airtight container. You can also freeze the cake for up to 12 months.
Bluebell Cakery, Classics, Karla Goodwin, Penguin, RRP $50.