Christmas Cake

In my imagination Christmas involves snow, mistletoe, fir trees and a figgy pudding. The reality in Brisbane involves 30 degree plus heat better suited to watermelon and a swim followed by a bbq than turkey and pudding. My Dad makes the pudding whilst I'm in charge of the Christmas cake and the mince pies.
I normally make the cake about 6 weeks before Christmas and I've been in charge of making the fruitcake since I was 16, taking over the role from my Grandmother. I tried out a few recipes before finding this version by Margaret Costa in Cake and Pastries, Technique and Recipes, part of The Good Cook a Time Life series. The recipe has been much modified over the years to reflect my family's preference for a cake without cherries and icing and to withstand the humidity of an Australian summer. We all remember the year I perfected the blue vein sour cherry Christmas cake!

The secret to a good fruitcake is all in the preparation and I started my fruitcake preparations a few weeks ago. Every week I'd buy dried fruits, nuts, flour and spices so come the day I'd be ready. I planned to bake the cake on Sunday and as I needed to wash then soak the fruit in brandy, I checked through my provisions on Saturday morning (just after returning from my weekly grocery shop) to discover that I'd bought natural sultanas instead of currants and needed to return to the shops. Bondi Junction shops late Saturday afternoon. I prepared the fruit last night, lined the tin with many layers of paper, measured, sifted, grated and generally did everything last night except bake the cake. I woke ridiculously early this morning and had the cake in the oven by 6.20 a.m. 4 hours later with the flat smelling of fruit and spices, the cake was ready. The cake is still cooling on a rack as I type this, waiting to be wrapped, sealed and stored until I return to Brisbane for Christmas.

We're always so full at Christmas time, that the cake isn't cut until well into the New Year. After 2 months maturation, the cake should be rich, moist and delicious. 

I'll let you all know how this year's version turns out,


1 comment

  1. Anonymous1:20 am

    I always enjoy your post and great photography.

    Thank you, Tommy


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