Every year my mum and I put aside some time to do our Christmas baking. We normally make a normal Christmas cake, a Creole cake, a Christmas pudding and some mince pies. This year we have made a normal cake and six, yes SIX Creole cakes. This is what happens when your mum joins facebook and starts telling everyone she is making alcohol overloaded baked goods-everyone wants one! Mum, being mum, of course says yes. We love Christmas making so much that we actually have TWO different Delia Christmas books. One is her classic one and the other was released last year with her latest TV show. We also have Nigella's Christmas which has some delicious recipes in. One of my favourite things about Christmas cook books is the pictures. I get so inspired with ideas for presentation and decorating.
We normally make ours at the end of October to allow for a decent amount of maturing and 'feeding' of more alcohol. However this bad boy has so much booze in it already that making it a bit nearer to Christmas shouldn't be a problem. You can always feed it with a bit extra if you want. Depends how drunk you want to get off of one slice!
For the Pre Soaking:
3 tablespoons rum
3 tablespoons brandy
3 tablespoons port (we used chocolate port this year-yum!)
3 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons Angostura bitters
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon molasses sugar
110g no-soak prunes, chopped
50g glace cherries, chopped
110g candied peel, finely chopped
50g mixed chopped nuts
For the Cake:
250g self-raising flour
250g demerara sugar
250g butter, at room temperature
This mixture will fit a 20cm square or round tin. This needs to be greased and double lined with baking parchment.
One week before you intend to make the cake, measure out the alcohol into a large saucepan. Now add the rest of the pre-soak ingredients. Tick them off as you go so you don't forget anything. Stir and bring to a simmering point, then, keeping the heat low, simmer gently for 15 minutes. Leave the mixture to cool (it smells AMAZING) then put it into a jar with a lid or an airtight plastic container. Store in the fridge for 7 days, shaking or stirring it around every now and then.
When you are ready to bake the cake, preheat the oven to 140C/GM1. Mix the sugar, butter, flour and eggs in a large bowl until everything is blended.
(I normally do the old method of creaming the butter and sugar then adding the eggs one at a time with a bit of flour then the rest of the flour)
When everything is evenly blended gradually mix in the fruit until it is evenly distributed.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, levelling the surface with the back of a spoon.
Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 3 hours without opening the door. Then cover the cake with a double thickness of baking parchment and continue to bake for another hour or until the centre feels springy when lightly touched.
Cool the cake for 45 minutes in the tin, then remove and finish cooling on a wire rack. When it is completely cold, wrap in double baking parchment and foil and store in an airtight container. This will mature well over a month. Feed with with more alcohol at odd intervals if you wish.
Decorate with glazed nuts or a layer of marzipan and icing.
Mine is maturing in the cupboard and so has not been decorated yet but I will post a picture when I do.
A small note: the photos from this post were taken of a cake that I made with gluten-free flour. It all looked ok when it came out so hopefully it will taste as good as the normal one too.