Christmas Cake 2015

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Holy fliperoony, I really made the cake late this year. My fruit was soaking in dark rum for a good week or so before my baking session, so I can say that the cake will be good and hoochy at least. Ah, it smelled so festive and wonderful in my kitchen tonight, I wish Christmas was here already!

Obvs we won’t know whether this is a top notch cake until Christmas Day, but I am confident folks. It smells ruddy amazing.

Whenever I search Google for ‘vegan christmas cake’, I have to say that the selection is not fantastic. Most of the cakes seem to be rather ‘healthy’, and that’s definitely not what I’m after. So this year I decided to veganize (and tweak) Delia’s classic Christmas cake recipe; therefore, volume bakers please forgive the weight measurements!

Ingredients

  • At least 600g mixed dried fruit (I used 600g of my soaked fruit in all).
  • One small bottle dark rum, or brandy (I used 35cl dark rum).
  • 225g plain flour (white or wholemeal)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 1tsp nutmeg
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 225g dark soft brown sugar
  • 2 large RIPE bananas (the more bruised the better!)
  • 1 generous tablespoon molasses (sit your spoon in a cup of just-boiled water first to make life a lot easier)
  • 225g margarine (I used Vitalite)
  • zest of one orange
  • Optional: you could add nuts to the cake. Personally, I prefer mine without, but there’s room in here for some flaked almonds if you’re into that.

Directions

First, try to soak the fruit in an airtight container (tupperware or kilner type jar) for at least 12 hours. I bought bargain mixed fruit packs from Asda (2 x 500g) so I have some lovely leftover fruit for pre-Christmas baking. I left my fruit soaking in rum for a week. HOOCHY FRUIT!

Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, spices, salt). Mash up the banana the best you can, either with your hands (satisfying) or with a fork/small masher. In a food mixer (or in a separate bowl by hand) cream together the mashed banana, sugar, molasses, margarine and orange zest.

Fold the dry ingredients into the mixed-up wet ingredients. Then, fold in the soaked fruit (and any nuts you might want to add). At this point I also drained the remainder of my rum-soaked fruit, and harvested the precious, thick, rummy fruity liquid that was left over. There was probably no more than 1/4 cup of liquid, and I added it to the cake mixture.

Bake the whole lovely lot in a baking paper lined tin at a low temperature, around 140°C, for around 4 hours.

When my cake cooled, I wrapped it in its baking paper cocoon and put it into a tin. Now it’s going in the coooooool cool shed until a few days before Christmas, when it’ll be time to decorate with marzipan and icing. Usually I would top it up with more booze but last time I did this I ended up with a seriously alcohol-infused cake, and I don’t want to go quite so far this year (I’d rather not poison my guests).

Christmas cake always seems such a momentous undertaking, but it’s actually a very easy cake to make. There’s no stress about how light or fluffy it’s going to be, because that’s not the point at all. You really do want it to be thick and dark and dense. And anything I can make in advance of Christmas Day is one less thing to worry about (not that I’ll be too worried anyway, I plan to be quaffing the prosecco like nobody’s business while I’m cooking the dinner).

What are your cake plans this year? Have you decided to make your own? Do you veganize a recipe or do you have an old faithful that you use every year?

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