British Christmas Cake
- Find a 9-inch cake pan at least three inches deep; grease it, and line the bottom and sides with a double thickness of greased baking parchment.
- Tie folded brown paper or newspaper around the outside of the pan.
- The paper is insulation, to keep the sides of the cake from scorching as it bakes.
- Set oven to 320 – 350°F: have folded paper to stand the pan on when baking—place low in oven.
- Pick over the dried fruit, removing any stems, etc.
- Wash, drain well and spread over a cloth on a tray to dry.
- When dry, put in a bowl and pour a small wine-glass of spirit over it.
- Cover well and leave overnight.
- Next day, add chopped peel, blanched chopped almonds, and cherries minced and drained.
- Mix thoroughly.
- Sift together the flour, salt, soda and spice.
- Beat the eggs well with the molasses and flavoring.
- Put the butter into a large warmed bowl and beat until soft; then add the Sugar and beat until light and creamy.
- Beat in the egg mixture, about a sixth of it at a time, then fold in half the flour mixture.
- Add remainder of the flour to the fruit and mix well.
- Add fruit to creamed mixture and fold in well.
- Put into pan and bake for about 3½ to 4 hours or until done.
- If top of cake is browning too fast, cover with a few thicknesses of paper.
- Reduce the oven heat slightly every hour—about 10 degrees.
- Test with skewer for doneness.
- Keep the paper wrapped around the cake in place until completely cooled, so that the cooling takes place slowly.
- After completely cooled, invert the cake, lift the baking parchment off the bottom, and sprinkle the cake generously with the spirit of your choice.
- Wrap well in foil, put in a sealed tin, and keep in a cool place (not necessarily refrigerated).
- The cake benefits from occasional unwrappings and sprinkling with more spirit.
- It takes about 2 months to achieve maximum "mellowness".