Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Christmas Cake for One - the Traditional Rich Fruit Cake

Mother in law used to make Christmas cakes and we all loved her cake, the ones from the shops, never even close to her cakes.

Last year, I finally got her recipe - from a very old book.  Since then, I tried out different recipes, hubby loves those traditional English fruit cakes and there was one recipe from work that got the nod from MIL.

After the back operation in September this year, there's no way MIL will be able to make a Christmas cake.  So I thought, I will make her one.  Hunted down some mini spring form tins, 4.5" ones I think, great for cake for one.

However during the mad cooking season, I can't seem to locate either recipes I use quick enough, so I went back to the little cake making and decorating book by Margaret Fulton again.  There is an online recipe about her Christmas cake.  It's similar to the recipe I used.

I used the 6" quantity of rich fruit cake for the the 2 small 4.5" mini round cake tins - in her little book, it has got different quantities for different sizes of tins.

1 cup plain flour
0.5 tsp ground mixed spice
a good pinch of ground nutmet
100g butter
100g brown sugar
half of grated lemon rind
0.5 table spoon treacle (I used golden syrup)
2 large eggs
30g ground almonds
185g dried currants
125g sultanas
60g raisins
45g glace cherries
45g mixed peel
45g blanched almonds
1 table spoon brandy.

I soaked the dried fruits in brandy 2 nights prior.

This is the instruction from the book:
Sift the flour and spices together. 
Cream butter and fat and sugar and lemon rind together until light and fluffy (use the bench top mixer!)
Beat in the treacle.
Beat in eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of flour with the first egg.
Fold in the remaining flour (after the eggs) and the ground almonds, fruit and nuts until thoroughly mixed.
Turn the mixture into the prepared lined and greased tins, and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
Back on the middle shelf of a preheated cool oven, 140C or 275F for 1.5 hours (the original recipe says 3 hours for the 6" tin, but as mine were smaller and shorter, it takes only half of the time to cook...

The recipe then specified the cooling and wraping in greaseproof paper and leave dougle thickness of foil for the cake to mature for 2-3 months..

Hmm... as I'm such a last minute planner, my mini cakes were made 3 days prior to the icing...

I was a bit stressed out when it came to icing, especially it's the Christmas eve and I was busy with a million other things.

So I chose to use the Satin Icing, and applied home made marmalade glaze before applying the icing (normally it's apricot glaze, but I didn't have apricot jam).

Satin Icing:
60g butter
4 tbsp lemon juice
4.5 cup of icing sugar

Making the icing is tricky.

Warm the fat and lemon juice in a pan until melted.
Add 1.5 cup of the icing sugar and heat gently, stirring until dissolved.
When the mixture begins to simmer at the sides of the pan, increase the heat until it boils gently (take off the heat quickly otherwise it will go hard)
Add another 1.5 cup of icing sugar and beat thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
Turn it into a mixing bowl and gently fold in the rest of the icing sugar until it forms a soft dough.
Turn it into a bench space dusted with icing sugar and knead until soft and smooth.  (for birthday cakes etc, you might want to add a bit of colouring.)
Roll it out to cover the top and sides of the cake,  and I wrapped it in clim film before I wrap it with a ribbon, so it's easier for the gift wrapping...

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