In the modern era of convenience and instant gratification, the tradition of making a Christmas cake may seem like a relic of the past. After all, why spend hours mixing, baking, and decorating a cake when you can easily buy one from a store? The answer, however, lies not just in the cake itself, but in the rich tapestry of memories, traditions, and love that it represents.
A Time-Honored Tradition
The practice of making a Christmas cake is a time-honored tradition in many households. It’s a ritual that dates back centuries and has been passed down through generations. The act of baking a Christmas cake carries with it a sense of continuity and connection to the past.
The Aroma of Nostalgia
As the cake bakes in the oven, it fills the kitchen with a warm, comforting aroma that evokes memories of Christmases gone by. It’s a fragrance that transports us back to our childhood, reminding us of the excitement and anticipation that the holiday season brings.
Baking a Christmas cake is often a family affair. It’s a time when generations come together to mix the batter, lick the spoon, and share stories. It’s an opportunity for grandparents to pass on their secret recipes to their grandchildren, creating a sense of family unity and heritage.
A Labor of Love
Baking a Christmas cake is not just about following a recipe; it’s a labor of love. It’s a way of showing your family and friends that you care enough to put in the time and effort to create something special just for them.
When you make a Christmas cake, you have the freedom to personalize it to your heart’s content. You can choose your favorite fruits, nuts, and spices, and you can experiment with different flavors and decorations. It becomes a reflection of your personality and tastes.
The Joy of Giving
There’s something incredibly satisfying about gifting a homemade Christmas cake. It’s a present that comes straight from the heart, and it carries with it the love and effort that went into its creation. It’s a tangible symbol of your thoughtfulness and affection.
The Taste of Tradition
While store-bought cakes may be convenient, there’s something unique about the taste of a homemade Christmas cake. It’s a flavor that can’t be replicated by mass-produced confections. It’s the taste of tradition, history, and heritage.
One of the distinctive features of a Christmas cake is its maturation process. After baking, it’s lovingly fed with brandy or other spirits, allowing it to develop a depth of flavor over time. This maturation process is a testament to the patience and dedication that goes into making a truly exceptional cake.
A Slice of Celebration
When you cut into a Christmas cake, you’re not just serving dessert; you’re serving a slice of celebration. It’s a cake that marks a special occasion, and every bite is a reminder of the joy and togetherness of the holiday season.
So, why bother making a Christmas cake? Because it’s more than just a cake; it’s a symbol of tradition, love, and the joy of giving. It’s a labor of love that connects us to our past, brings us together with our loved ones, and adds a touch of magic to the holiday season.
In a world that often rushes through life, taking the time to make a Christmas cake is a precious gift, both to yourself and to those you share it with. It’s a reminder that some traditions are worth preserving, and that the act of creation can be as meaningful as the end result. So, this holiday season, consider rolling up your sleeves, dusting off that old recipe, and immersing yourself in the time-honored tradition of making a Christmas cake. The effort is well worth the joy it brings.
times, but in doing things differently, we make them our own. That is the beauty of Christmas baking and why it’s worth defining your own history through Christmas cake.
Three Kings Fruit Cake
150 g raisins
65 dried cranberries
120g whole glace cherries (preferably undyed)
80g dried figs chopped into small pieces with scissors
25g dried sour cherries
60 ml whiskey
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 medium eggs
90g dark muscavado/soft brown sugar
20g tamarind concentrate
115g salted butter, very soft
25g ground almonds
90g plain flour sieved (you can also use Doves’ Farm strong plain gluten free flour instead although it will be more crumbly)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
6 cloves ground or pinch of ready ground
1/8 nutmeg grated
30 ml whiskey
- Fruit mix- night before
Put all the ingredients for the fruit mix in a large bowl, stir and cover with cling film.
Leave overnight at room temperature
- Cake Mix
Put the eggs, sugar and tamarind concentrate into a medium bowl and whisk together with a balloon whisk until the sugar is dissolved into the egg (it makes a thicker liquid when combined)
- In a bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter and ground almonds together. You don’t need to get a lot of air into this.
- Add the egg mixture slowly with the motor running. If the mixture starts to look curdled add a tablespoonful of flour and it will help it to combine.
- Fold the rest of the flour into the mixture along with the spices.
- Add the infused fruit to the cake mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until fully combined.
- Pour the mix into the cake tin and level the surface off with the back of a spoon.
- Bake on a low oven shelf for 2-3 hours (check after 2 hours). It is cooked when the top is brown and a skewer inserted into the centre is clean when removed.
- Allow to cool slightly then prick lightly with a toothpick and brush the cake with the whiskey. Remove from the tin and leave in the paper on a wire rack until fully cold.
- Wrap in foil and greaseproof paper to store.