Christmas is coming, brownies are baking, and old recipes are coming out for Christmas cake. Christmas is such a busy time for my Sheffield brownies kitchen, I am so grateful for all the brownie orders coming in and can see how popular the Vegan brownies are becoming this Christmas, as well as my range of Gluten free brownies
Just recently I have received brownie orders from Australia, America, France and even Jamaica, asking for brownies to be delivered by post to loved ones in the UK in time for Christmas, although it must be a different sort of Christmas in Australia in 30c heat, and no need of a roaring fire and having to water the Christmas tree.
For me, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. The Christmas decorations are out of the loft, the festive brownies are being baked and the fruit for Nan Freda’s Christmas cake is soaking in Amaretto and Brandy, ready to be baked.
Now I know it's Christmas as I think about baking my Christmas cake, and some things never change, especially using my age old favourite recipe from my Nan Freda which I would like to share with you.
So, it’s time to turn up my favourite Christmas music, switch on the oven and get my Christmas apron on! Let’s bake – Remember you must soak your fruit for at least 24 hours before baking this cake.
8oz Soft Brown Sugar
4oz Ground Almonds
1tbl Spoon Golden Syrup
1tbl Spoon Marmalade
10oz Plain Flour
2 tsp Vanilla extract
4oz Glazed Cherries/candied peel (optional)
1 small glass Brandy and Amaretto or Sugar, syrup, and orange juice if you wish the cake to be alcohol free
Soak the fruit overnight in Brandy and Amaretto, I use just one small glass, that is always enough, but you can add more if you like! ( If you do not wish to use alcohol soak the fruit in a sugar syrup mixed with orange juice) To make a sugar syrup, add equal parts water and sugar and bring to the boil, allow to cool and add orange juice then pour over the fruit.
Line an 8” round (or square) x 4" deep cake tin with grease proof paper and then create a brown paper collar and base on the outside of the tin, to protect the cake from burning – this is a must!
Pre-Heat oven Fan 130degrees, conventional 150 degrees, or Gas mark 2
Cream butter, sugar and ground almonds together until pale in colour, add marmalade, vanilla extract and syrup, add eggs one at a time (if mixture curdles add a little flour). It is okay to mix vigorously up to this point. Gently fold in the rest of the flour, then mix in the prepared fruit.
Bake for 2.5 – 3.5 hours. Test with skewer. The cake is ready when skewer is clear of mixture.
Allow to cool. Remove the cake from the tin and once fully cooled, pierce the top with a skewer, and pour over 2 tbsp of your favourite tipple or syrup. Repeat this process every week until Christmas.
Wrap the cake in greaseproof paper and place in an airtight tin.
I use brown paper to wrap the outside of my cake so it does not overcook the cake, and tie the brown paper around the tin with string.
If you do not like cherries, feel free to use an alternative fruit or nut.
Half - way through cooking I cover the cake with foil to prevent the cake from burning.
I feed the cake every week up to Christmas. Ideally you need to bake your Christmas cakes at least 4 weeks before Christmas for it to be beautifully moist.
While you are waiting for the big day, I have baked a box of festive brownies which will make a wonderful Christmas Festive brownies gift for loved ones who you may not be able to see this Christmas, but also for yourself and your family for those long evenings watching the same repeats on the TV, Back to the Future, Mary Poppins, Towering Inferno to name a few, and just think of a nicely warmed chocolate brownie, Nutella, Gingerbread, Ferrero Rocher or any one of my many different brownies and blondie flavours, lightly warmed and covered in cream or ice cream, Turkeys may have their day, but brownies are for the whole year.
Have a Merry Christmas and enjoy your Christmas bake!
P.S Nan Freda would eat this cake with Cheshire Cheese!!! Why not give it a go 😊