So there I was on Sunday with a houseful of giggling teenage girls… well there were 5 of them anyway. They’d come to rehearse a play… ‘Frankenstein’ would you believe… with the eldest daughter. The wife decided to take herself and the youngest daughter off to the shops to buy some ‘casual’ gear for an overnight course she’ll be on later this week which left me on my own.
To pass the time I decided I may as well carry on working towards getting the house cleared so made a start in the larder. The shelves needed tidying and it all looked pretty crowded so in I went.
As I rummaged about on the shelves I found lots of packets of dried fruit etc that I’d collected over the past year or three. Some were open, some closed, some needed to be dumped immediately. The remains were piled out on the counter.
As I looked at them and back at my newly tidied shelves I figured there was little point in just piling them back in the corner, and there was even less point in throwing them away, so I decided to make a somewhat belated attampt at a Christmas Cake.
Anyone who’s followed this blog for the past few years will know just hjow pathetic my Christmas Cakes are usually. The only time they are anything like a success is when the wife makes them, but bearing in mind the alternatives I thought I’d make yet another attempt.
I dug out a recipe I’ve had for some years, and like… sorted out which ingredients I had, which was virtually all except for some candied peel, and got on with it.;
Well like all good ideas, I can’t resist ‘fiddling’ with the concept and doing some mix and matching, especially when, as in the case of this cake, I have more of this ingredient and less of that one.
Basically I threw almost everything I found in the cupboard into the bowl. There were too many raisins, too few currants, *way* too many glace cherries, the slivered almonds were flaked and ‘roughly chopped’ instead, I found glace ginger and a lot of other stuff that was just thrown in for the hell of it. I couldn’t find the mortar and pestle so used the coffee grinder to break up some allspice… and used two teaspoons instead of one, plus ‘extra’ cinnamon and some nutmeg that looked like it needed using… and there was the basic fruit mix.
Ok some of the fruit was three years old… but hey… nobody but me will be eating it (if I have my way!!). 🙂
I beat up the 8 eggs, softened the butter and prepared the sugar. I had more than enough ‘Dark Brown Sugar’ in a new bag, but decided I’d use up what was left of the old bag and the remains of some light brown sugar I had as well to make up the quantity.
Into the mixer it went. Butter and sugar first, some of the eggs, then the remainder trying not to curdle it all, and then the treacle… too much treacle… ah well.
A good vigorous mix into the fruit (ok the fruit should be added to the batter but I wasn’t too worried) and then I remembered I’d forgotten the brandy so threw in too much of that as well. Everyone made a wish… they wished on the cake because I wasn’t making a pudding… and it was over to the cake tin.
This is where I discovered I’d prepared the wrong tin. Instead of my 9″ square one, for some reason I’d lined a 9″ round one! Erk… too much mix!! No worries, threw the remainder into a loaf tin and into the oven they went.
Five hours later out they came looking quite nice… as you see in the photo.
Did the usual ‘wait an hour’ thing, turned it out onto the rack and left it overnight, Came back this morning, and yes it *had* sunk a little ( lot) in the middle but not so much I cared overmuch. However on closer examination it *did* appear a little ‘greasy’. So greasy in fact that a small pool of butter had formed underneath!
Say what? Well I thought about it and then daylight dawned. The recipe called for 14 ounces of butter, but because I was distracted I’d thrown in two whole packs… i.e. 500 grams… almost 18 ounces!!
Feeling a bit silly I thought it prudent to try a slice of the loaf to make sure it would be edible (even I draw the line at food that just tastes gross). Well I *can* report it was let’s say ‘interesting’. Better yet, perhaps ‘amazing’ would suit. It was *very* buttery as you’d expect with half as much butter as required but also has a distinct brandy bias to it! It wasn’t as packed with fruit as I’d thought though did have far more than usual. 🙂
If the cake proper tastes as good I’ll be well pleased.
So it’s now sitting on the counter waiting until this evening when it will be receiving another liberal dose of finest French brandy ready for it’s rather short sojurn in the pantry before being hoiked out for the almond paste and icing session which will render it (hopefully) fit for the the table.
In the meantime, I will make do with liberal slices of the loaf washed down with copious amounts of tea. I love cooking. 🙂
Oh yes… the larder *is* looking a lot clearer now.