Next week is my turn to provide the tea, coffee and cakes/biscuits at my private sewing group. To say I’m just a little bit nervous is an understatement. Although I have been welcomed by the majority of the group and really made to feel at home, there is just a very small minority of the group that are having trouble adapting to the change. I do think, that I am pretty scary to look at, – well I frighten me when I catch sight of myself in the mirror. And sometimes people find it difficult to get past that. I’m sure it will be fine and as my gran used to say, “it will all come out in the wash”, meaning it will sort itself out. But until that time I thought I would try and win them over with cake.
I get the feeling that they are all championship quality bakers especially in the Victoria sponge department, so there is no way I am going to compete in that arena. But I have been making Delia’s Christmas cake recipe for over twenty years and as Claire (my knitting pal) said, “Play to your strengths Mandy”, so that is what I am doing.
I know that this recipe is sound as long as you don’t splash extra brandy in, (you think your doing yourself a favour, in fact you find yourself with a cake that won’t cook properly and remains soggy in the middle – ask me how I know!) and it needs to be wrapped up well for the oven, otherwise you end up with a crusty dark and bitter top.
Here is my tin, which has a false bottom and is double bottomed, like a flask so that it protects the bottom of the cake from the heat.
Hubby’s mum gave it to me when we first became married and it had been used for a long time by her, so it must be at least forty years old, maybe fifty or even older than that. As you can see it is a little bit rusty and showing its age, but as the cake is wrapped up in a double layer of greaseproof paper this doesn’t matter.
There are times that I do like very big supermarkets because they have a postal section and I can buy brown paper and string. I can become quite giddy when I see string, its often quite difficult to track down.
The tin all wrapped up for Christmas! I love doing this in November, making your Christmas cake brings the magic of the festivities ever nearer. As you can see it is a double layer of greaseproof around the sides and on the bottom and then a double, double, yes four layers of brown paper on the outside of the tin tied up with string and when the cake mix is in I put a double layer of greaseproof on the top with a small hole cut in the centre, (Delia recommends the size of a 50p) to allow the steam to escape. It may seem like an awful lot of effort but you need this to protect the cake.
The fruit had been soaking in brandy overnight and smelt divine.
and I forgot to take a photograph of the mix, I went onto autopilot and got the cake in the oven, but there are some advantages of working on your own. You don’t have to share the licking out of the bowl.
I thought I would make a few shortbread biscuits coated with demerara sugar for those that are not partial to fruit cake. Which is basically a shortbread mixture shaped into a log and then rolled in the demerara to coat the sides and then slices are cut off to bake, they look very pretty.
Wish me luck!