One of my favourite parts of the run-up to Christmas is making Christmas cake. I am not the biggest fan of eating it, given it is summer and all, and it is suited far more to winter. But it does keep a good long time so it's possible to have the best of both worlds.
This year I have made two types. The Embroidenator has a real soft spot for the fig and chocolate version I do - it has only figs, prunes, ginger, apricot and dried peaches in it, and a lot of chocolate, and lots of orange zest, and the fruit is soaked in green ginger wine and cointreau. I made four of this type, two little ones and two medium ones.
The much larger batch is your standard one. This has good quality cake mixed fruit, to which I add prunes, ginger, apricots, peach, dried cranberries and dried, not glace, cherries, and dates. The fruit was soaked in black beer. Last year it was Guiness, but this year it is a combo of Tuatara Black and 8 Wired's iStout, at the advice from the very clever beer guy at Moore Wilson's liquor store. It tickles me that he really took the whole thing quite seriously instead of dissing the crazy cake lady. I may have to gift him one!
So, today was Cake Day. I left the shop just after 1pm to get home and get started. It's a big job and there's no rushing it. After all, the point is to enjoy the process.
Fig cake fruit I soaked in a 6 litre stock pot but for the big mix, I didn't have anything big enough, so I was chuffed to find this huge food safe sealable bucket at Moore Wilson's - it holds 15 litres so this year it was only half full.
All up I used:
2 lb butter, same of sugar
1 lb chocolate
3.5 lb flour
13.5 lbs dried fruits
plus all the other flavours, spices etc. And the beer, cointreau and wine.
So now they just need to cool, get fed some brandy, put on cards, decorated, wrapped in cellophane and distributed.
And I need to decide which ones to keep! :)