Yes , its that time of year again.. well it is to decorate the cakes. The cakes themselves were made a few weeks ago and have been *fed* very nicely and regularly with their respective Alcohol beverages.. This years have been Brandy and the second choice of Caribbean flavours, so some nicely enhanced with Dark Rum..
The first stage after them being safely nestled in wrapping and getting merrily drunk is to cover them with marzipan and then topped with Fondant roll out icing..Probably best to leave them a day after each layer.
I moisten the cake with alcohol so that the toppings have a little *glue * to adhere them to the cake..roll out and cover the cake and trim the edges..After the marzipan layer has dried I then brush that with the alcohol ..when I was taught to cover a cake this method was advised as it sterilised the surface also..Lots people use melted jam..but I think if you are keeping the cake for a lengthy time, this can actually ferment ..but each to their own. doesn’t matter if it will be consumed soon.
Then the fun starts as to decorating them.. this can be fun, quirky, traditional..pretty,modern, what ever takes your fancy really..
and here’s the recipes.. a traditional mixed fruit with Brandy..and also an option for a Caribbean twist..with added flavours of mango coconut lime and Rum!!!
Basic cake mix to add to fruit mixes
8 oz (225g) butter softened
8ox ( 225g) dark muscovado brown sugar
1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses or a spoon of black treacle if preferred.
2 teaspoons Tamarind Paste.. optional
grated zest of 1 whole orange.. un waxed preferably.
grated zest of 1 whole lemon…. for Caribbean mix use zest of two limes.
5 large eggs..free range if poss
10 oz Self Raising Flour.. most recipes state plain flour but I always use SR.. helps lighten the mix a little..
1 teaspoon ground allspice 1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 kg (2.2lb ) mixed dried fruits
200g dried apricot
31/2 oz ( 100g) mixed peel candied
7 z ( 200g ) glace cherries chopped
7oz (200g ) dried cherries and berries .. a mix of cherries and cranberries
5 oz ( 150g) almond flakes
10 fl oz ( 300ml) Brandy
plus cherry Brandy and amaretto liquer to taste , a few spoons of each//
1kg (2.2.lb mixed dried fruits )
200g ( 7oz) dried mango.. the one I used was infused with lime
3 1/2 oz ( (100g) mixed peel candied
7oz ( 200g ) glace cherries..chopped
2oz (75g ) dried cranberries…chopped
4oz ( 125g) dried apricots … chopped
5oz ( 150g ) dried coconut flakes……. *** in the basic mix of ceke above.. use grated zest of 2 limes NOt the orange/lemon
10fl oz Dark Rum plus a few spoons
these mixtures make Two six inch cakes
mix the fruit mixes in the respective alcohol mixes..for a day or so so that fruits get nicely softened and plumped..
Oven..gas mark 2 150 c / or 130 c in a fan oven..
when ready make the cake batter..using the creaming method.. cream butter and sugar together, add eggs a little t at time..with a spoon of flour to stop curdling , incorporate all the flour and spices and mix thoroughly..
then add the fruit mixture and again combine thoroughly
transfer the mix in equal proportions to two tins that have been lined with paper.. I also wrap brown paper around the tin and tie with string to protect from heat..and ensure a gentle bake..
smooth out the top and ensure the mix is level.. put into a preheated oven
Bake for about 3 and a half to 4 hours or until done when testing by inserting a skewer that comes out clean..The doneness test!!!
But do keep an eye on cake throughout ..as fruit cake can easily burn ..you can protect the cake by adding a small circle of parchment paper on top or foil..
when the cake is done remove from tin and cool on a rack..
when completely cool, wrap in baking parchment or greaseproof and then foil..
Ideally the cake should now be * fed * weekly with your chosen alcohol in the weeks leading up to Christmas..
some methods are using a skewer to poke holes in the cake and pour alcohol in by dribbling over or using a clean syringe , purchased from the chemist and injecting into the cake. a good idea is to turn the cake over and do this from the bottom..
Approaching Christmas and the cake should be nicely mature , and lovely and moist !!
The fun part starts with the decorating, a layer of marzipan..leave a day to slightly dry and harden a little and then a layer of rolled out fondant icing
and then the artistry, and fun begins !!!
Enjoy… and Happy Christmas to all