Along with the carols one familiar sound from my Christmas past was the sound of Dad popping open a plastic container then a shriek "Robert! Stop eating the nuts off the top of the cake!"
This was as regular as clockwork till the nuts were, eventually no more. Cashews and Brazil nuts were a particular favourite.
This would go on every year and I would think why don't you just add more nuts??
So then it came to me making a cake for him as part of a hamper, I was very clear on the brief......NUTS!
Right on track the whole top was covered, not a single crumb was visible.
I must have done ok as this year I had the phone call "you ARE making the cake again?" so I guess that meant I was.
I think there is something to be said about knowing your audience as he is divorced and now married to a bloke called Bruce, let's face it my Dad really, really likes........Fruitcake!
(Where were you going with that sentence?? Filthy!)
Nutty Christmas Cake
- 650g dried fruit (see note)
- 150ml brandy
- 250g butter soften unsalted
- 200g brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 30g treacle
- 30g jam (any kind I had strawberry and blood orange)
- 1 tsp. cinnamon ground (2g)
- 2 tsp. mixed spice (4g)
- 100g almond meal
- 300g plain flour
- 100g nuts (a mix of those listed below)
- Additional hazelnuts, cashews, macadamias, walnuts, slivered almonds to decorate
- Extra brandy for feeding
- Soak the fruit in the brandy for about 24 hours
- Roughly chop the 100g of nuts
- Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl till paler and fluffy
- Slowly add eggs and beat till combined
- Add treacle, jam and spices beat through for 30 seconds
- Stir through flour and almond meal
- Stir through fruits and nuts till mixture is well combined
- Spoon into a lined 20cm square cake time (or shape of your preference)
- Smooth over the top
- Decorate with as little or as many nuts as you like (more is more)
- Bake at 150°C for 3 hours till a skewer comes out clean
- Let cool and then remove from tin
- Brush top with additional brandy about 10-15ml, repeat weekly till ready to serve.
- Store in a plastic container
If your eggs look let they have curdled, as mine because butter and eggs are never the exact some temperature, a tbsp. of the weighed flour will bring it back together.
You can present the cake with a decorative border either, paper, foil or material, fastened with a pin to be removed before serving.
Some food writers if in a rush may stick it together with a Band-Aid not shown in the picture, but they would almost never write about it.
I had run out of mixed spice (I must have done some baking recently) so whipped up some of my own and used 3 tsp. of this mix.
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. of ground ginger
1 tsp. of ground coriander
1 tsp. of all spice
1/2 a nutmeg grated
I may not buy mixed spice again but I will certainly be buying a new spice mill!