Christmas Cake in 5 Easy Stages: Stage Two - Baking

This is Stage Two of my 5 stage Christmas Cake series, click here for Stage One (the soaking). In this stage we are going to make and bake the cake. I mentioned in Stage One that the recipe I use has been modified from a Nigella Lawson Christmas Cake recipe in How to be a Domestic Goddess, and I am using the 1/4lb version here.
In Stage One, you soaked your dried fruit in your chosen alcoholic beverage (sherry, brandy or marsala). Before we get on to the cake instructions, you need to line your tin with baking parchment, both at the base and around the sides, allowing about 10cm of parchment to protrude up proud of the sides of the tin. You also need a second circle of parchment, the same size as the base, from which you will cut a little hole in the centre. You will use this to place on top of your cake to stop it burning (the hole allows you to do the skewer test).
Once you have lined your tin, use a folded length of brown paper (the same height as the parchment) and wrap it around the outside of your tin, securing with string.
Preheat your oven to 150C.
110g Butter
90g Demerara Sugar
1 tsp Grated Orange Zest
2 Large Eggs
1 tbsp Marmalade
250g Plain Flour
The Soaked Dried Fruit
1/2 tsp Ground Mixed Spice
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
A Little Nutmeg (optional)
1/2 tsp Almond Essence
Pinch of salt
1. Cream together the butter and demerara sugar in a large bowl (I use an electric whisk). Then beat in the grated orange zest.
2. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Then stir in the marmalade.
3. Weigh out the flour and add to it the spices. Sift a little into the wet ingredients and stir well.
4. Then add some of the dried fruit, stirring, and repeat by adding more flour/spice then the fruit until you have thoroughly mixed both. If there is any sherry left in the dried fruit bowl, reserve this for later.
5. Add the almond essence and a little pinch of salt. Place the prepared parchment with the hole on top of the cake gently.
6. Spoon into the cake tin and bake for between 2-2 1/2 hours. I have a fan oven and mine was cooked after 2 hours. You can test whether it is cooked by inserting a skewer, if it comes out clean it is done.
7. Once your cake is out of the oven, remove the top parchment and brush over the reserved sherry and leave to cool.
8. Wrap in foil and place in a container.
Your cake needs to mature for at least 3-4 weeks. Stage Three will be all about feeding the cake, and I will be back with that instalment in November, when we will also be gathering the supplies for the decorating of the cake!
Feel free to ask me any questions.
Love Mrs Jones x


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