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Food and Recipes

The Riviera Gourmet Christmas Cake

A Christams Cake of moist richness, heavy with fruit and nuts and the all those evocotive chrismas spices. Perfect for Christmas but also for any celebration cake! Prepare well in advance.... the flavours get better and better!

Recipe for one 20cm (8 in) Cake

First double line your cake tin with greaseproof paper, (I watched my mum every year prepare the tin with a magazine tied around the outside of the tin and an additional butter wrapper at the bottom of the tin inside to help protect the cake from burning during the long cooking time). So I do the same, to keep the tradition!

Preheat oven to 140 C/275 F/ or gas mark 1

Ingredients:

225g unsalted butter
225g sofft brown sugar
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
4 large eggs
50g ground almonds
50g chopped almonds
Juice and grated rind of a lemon
Grated rind of an orange
2 tablespoons of marmalade
1 tablespoon of black treacle (you can find mélasse noire as a sub from organic shops in France)
4 tablespoons of brandy
500g currants)
200g Sultanas) - you might need to just use raisins difficult to find currants, use a mix of light and dark raisins
200g Raisins)
75g glace cherries
75g mixed candied peel
brandy to feed cake!

Weigh out all your ingredients before you start.... there are alot, every cake is an investment with the cost of fruit and nuts so we don't want to make a mistake!

1. Add the marmalade, black treacle, brandy, lemon juice to a pan and gently warm until the marmalade has melted, take off the heat and then add all the dried fruits, cherries, peel and zests from the lemon and orange to allow them to marinade and plump up for a while.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together until creamy light and pale.

3. Sift the flour together with the salt and spices.

4. Beat the eggs together and slowy incorporate a little at a time into the creamed butter. (I do this on medium speed with the food mixer; It's important to add slowly to allow the mixture to emulsify. If the mixture begins to curdle then sprinkle about a tsp of the flour which will stop the mix from separating completely).

5. Gently add the flour and ground almonds, I pulse the mixer until just incorporated, then gently add the chopped almonds.

6. Fold in the marinaded fruits.

7. Spoon into tin, level out leaving a dent in the middle to allow the cake to rise evenly.

8. Pop into oven and cover the top of the tin with a double layer of greaseproof paper with a hole in the top for steam to escape.

9. Cook for 3 - 3 1/2 hours. Cooking time can be 4 hours or slightly longer depending on your oven but best to keep the temp low to avoid over colouring the cake. Test with a skewer which should come out clean. The cake should remain moist but without any raw mixture on the skewer.

10. Once cooked leave in the tin to cool for 45 mins before removing from the tin completely to cool on a wire rack.

11. Once cool, skewer small holes all over the top of the cake and 'feed' with a couple of spoons of Cognac to be absorbed by the cake.

12. Wrap cake with greaseproof and store in a tin or plastic container, the brandy soaking can be repeated every 4-5 days, making the cake richer and richer!

The cake is traditionally finished with an abricot glaze then a covering of Marzipan which should be left to dry for a few days before topping with either a royal icing, or a sugar paste icing which can be rolled and adds a smooth finish to the cake.

A fantastic centrepiece to your Christmas table.

It is always better to bake your Christmas Cake well in advance - If you haven't had the time, contact me and buy one that I have personally made and is ready for this Christmas.

Tracy Duffy

 email: rivgourmet@interfacemarine.com

Tel: +33 (0)6 23 87 74 06

Facebook Page: Riviera Gourmet

Friday, 9 December 2011    Section: Food and Recipes    Author: Tracy Duffy
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