Friday, December 23, 2011
Making Christmas Cake with my mum!
Every year since I can remember my mum has made a Christmas cake or two! It is always a big event, beginning with the soaking of the fruit for days, then the hours it must spend in the oven, the rum poured over it as soon as it comes out of the oven, then the hours it must spend cooling down, so it can be wrapped up and stored! The best bit of all of course, is in the cutting and the eating, and many would agree. This is so much the case, that some years mum makes two cakes, just so she can give many pieces away, to the expectant fans of her annual Christmas cake!
This year my mum had a bit of a health scare mid year, when one of your parents has a health scare, you immediately think of all the things you'd miss about them if their health didn't improve. Over twenty years ago now, my father died, way too young, from ill health. He was a wonderful man and it really wasn't until he was gone, that I realised just how much I really did miss him and the many things he knew about and did so well.
So although my mum's health has since improved and she is no doubt going to be around for many years to come, I thought this year I would be present, both to help and learn, at the annual making of her Christmas cake.
Being that I am a qualified chef and a food blogger, who runs a cooking school and is writing a cookbook, I must confess that I had never, until this year, made my own Christmas Cake!
However, now I can say I have learnt from the master, having all the secrets revealed and seen all the alcohol that goes into my mum's famous cake, I am proud to say, that not only have I made my own cake for the first time...but am fully equipped for the years ahead!
The following photos show you our cake making day together...although you won't see me much at all, as I was simply the apprentice baker, following instructions and taking the photographs in between!
It all begins with soaking the dried fruit and almonds in a large quantity of brandy, as many days before as you can manage!
Line your cake tin with two layers of aluminium foil
Cream the butter and sugars
Add the eggs and the syrup
Then the flour
Add the soaked fruit and almonds
Give it a really good mix
Into the tin as evenly as possible
Add the blanched almonds to the top to finish
Into the oven
After approx four hours cooking, open oven and check cake with a skewer
Once out of the oven immediately pour over the rum (Mum's favourite part it seems!)
Finally the best part the eating!
Thanks mum for letting me cook with you and share your recipe, regardless of my efforts to make my own, for some reason your cake still tastes better!
Happy Christmas time to all my readers, enjoy your holiday break, eat well and take some time to rest and reflect on the year past, as well as begin to dream big for the new year to come.
PS. If your keen to try cooking my mum's delicious cake yourself next Christmas.... the recipe will be in my cookbook to be released in September 2012! So stay tuned!