How to make a fabulous Easy Christmas Cake in Spain!
I studied bread making and confectionery for 2 years at Salford Tech. I was taught by the same baker who was commissioned to make the cake for the wedding of Lady Diana & Prince Charles….So getting my Christmas Cake right is a must!...However it is a variation of a Nigella recipe adapted for those of us without Waitrose! ..Enjoy!...Michael
This cake is easy, just "boil" the fruit in butter and rum..and fold in the eggs and flour!
The dried fruit shopping is the worst part! So I hope this info helps save some time and parking fees! Or why not buy as you go along?
250g Sultanas (Pasas) these are available in most supermarkets but Mercadona has a good range.
250g Raisins (Raisins are called Pasas Moscatel, the Spanish variety are too large to use in a fruit cake as your cake will not “bind” and fall apart when it is sliced. So put them in a food processor and blitz them until they are small enough. Don’t worry if they all stick together, they will separate when you begin the first stage of the recipe. You must remember to buy Pasa Moscatel SIN SEMILLAS ( without stones). (Mercadona or Carrefour)
100g Currants (Pasas de Corinto) these are quite expensive in Spain and I think 100g is enough. (Usually found in the baking section of Caprabo Mercadona or Carrefour)
90g Dried Cranberries (Arándanos) I use these just to add an alternative flavour to the fruit. (Mercadona)
50g Candid Peel.... As far as I am aware you can’t buy candied peel. However you can buy dried fruit, orange, lemon etc in Carrefour, the pieces are too large to use in a fruit cake as your cake will not “bind” and fall apart when it is sliced. So but them in a food processor and blitz them until they are smaller, to about the size of the currants. Again don’t worry if they all stick together, they will separate when you begin the first stage of the recipe. Candied Peel now available at the little shop on Plaza España!!!
50g Glaced Cherries chopped into quarters to reduce the size and help your cake “bind” (Mercadona)
· 270g unsalted butter
· 250g dark brown sugar
(The darkest sugar I have found is in the little shop on Plaza España.)
· 2 Tablespoons Black Treacle to darken your cake.
(Treacle- the little shop on Plaza España.)
· 1/2 cup dark rum
· Juice and zest of 1 orange
· Zest of 1 lemon
· 4 large eggs, beaten
· 290g plain flour
· 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
· 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
· 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
· 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preperation & Baking
Preheat the oven to 300°F 150ºC or Gas Mark 2 (though you might prefer to do this after the fruits and so forth have started bubbling in their pan). Line the sides and bottom of a deep 8-inch round cake tin with a double layer of parchment paper. The parchment paper should be higher than the sides of the pan. Wrap a double layer of brown paper (the kind used for parcels) around the outside of the tin, tying it with string. The paper should be double the height of the tin, and this gives an extra layer of insulation for the cake so that it cooks slowly. If you don't have any brown paper, it is not absolutely necessary, but it will keep the cake from becoming too dark around the sides and top.
Put the dried fruit, butter, sugar, treacle, rum and orange juice and zests into a large wide saucepan and bring to the boil gently, stirring as the butter melts. Simmer the mixture for 10 minutes, and then take it off the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes, by which time the fruits will have been soused and the mixture cooled slightly. Now, add the beaten eggs, flour, baking powder and spices and stir to combine.
Pour the fruit cake mixture very carefully into the prepared cake pan.
Place in the oven and bake for 1-3/4 to 2 hours, by which time the top of the cake should be firm and dry and will have cracked a little. If you insert a cake tester into the middle of the cake it will still come out a little sticky.
Put the cake on a cooling rack and take off the brown paper from around the outside of the tin. It will hold its heat and take a long while to cool, but once it has cooled completely, unmold it from the tin and wrap the cake well in a layer of wax paper and then aluminum foil until you want to decorate it.
Spoon the apricot jam into a saucepan and add a tablespoon of water. Heat gently, stirring to make a sticky glaze and then take off the heat to cool.
Paint the top of the cake with the apricot glaze, and then decorate with the fruits and nuts of your choice. I find it easier to cut the glace fruits into pieces and then fit everything together like a jigsaw puzzle.
When the top is completely covered in the glacé fruits and nuts, paint a second coat of apricot glaze over the top to give a glossy finish.
Or if you prefer you can use tradional icing sugar and marzipan. Icing Sugar & Marzipan available at the little shop on Plaza España
The cake will keep for a couple of months well wrapped and in a cool dark place.
If you want a more boozy cake... personally I like the ritual of feeding the cake with Rum or Brandy every weekend on the run up to Christmas and I think that helps it keep moist as well! Pierce the top of the cake several times with a fine skewer, spoon over the rum and let it sink in.
You can download the list of ingredients here, and pop it in your bag for easy reference!