24 November 2008

weighing up: inside

Christmas lights are being switched on all over town, but it is the ritual of making the Christmas Cake which marks the crossing over from autumn to winter for me.

So we've assembled our long list of ingredients. We hunted around for dried peaches and pears, decided that actually it was not compulsory to include glace cherries (I've never liked them) and substituted dried cranberries, forgot that we still had half a bottle of metaxa to use up and need not have bought more. We've weighed and chopped and measured and stirred, sipped beer and slugged brandy, tested and tasted and sniffed.

I've been making this boiled fruit cake for years, not always successfully. One year I forgot to put in the butter, so immersed was I in the weighing and chopping of the long list of ingredients. Most years I scorch the top of the cake, so long does it take to bake.

The first batch of ingredients have been boiled and spiced and filled the kitchen with their lovely, wintry scents. It's steeping in our chilly kitchen. If there aren't too many stolen spoonfuls, just to see how it's maturing, and if I get the rest of the ingredients weighed up properly and if I use the right size tin, maybe, just maybe, this will be the year it comes out perfect.



Anonymous said...

I love homemade fruitcake. My cousin's wife is the family baker so she makes it every year. She also did the big fruitcake for my mum's 60th which was divine.

I don't mind clace cherries. They remind me of being a child and making coconut macaroons at primary school.

emmat said...

BOILED CAKE?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Delia says wrap TWO layers of greaseproof to avoid the scorching. Have you tried that?


Weeping Sore said...

Your labor-intensive Christmas cake reminds me of the fruitcakes of my childhood. We used to joke that there were really only about three fruitcakes like this in the whole world, and that nobody ever ate them. Instead, they would receive them one holiday, store them on back shelf, and re-wrap and re-give them the next. The cakes would just circulate around endlessly. (They smelled ok, but tasted like fruit-flavored cardboard.)
I hope yours tastes better than those I remember.