Cranberry Christmas

Cranberry Christmas

Unintentionally, this year, almost all my baking has contained cranberries. Christmas cake, Maltese Chocolate log, Biscotti, and I was in tempted to use them in my English chocolate log but I refrained!! All these cranberries and I haven’t even started on the savouries, they will come soon.
The reason for the Crimson Christmassy cranberries has come into play so much is that I am really not a lover of glacé cherries. Although I am a lover of the of the colour they bring to the usually dark rich Christmas delights. I find the dried cranberries (bought from Holland and Barrett) blend very well with the other fruits, give extra moisture AND I have convinced myself that they count as one of the recommended 5 a day.
As the blog has begun quite late in the day for Christmas I am going to start with the obvious choice….the Christmas cake. I will endeavor to do a recipe every other day so you have a choice of baking and in the New Year we will share, maybe 2 recipes a week.
Most people have a favourite Christmas cake recipe, often used throughout the family and passed down through the generations. Anyone who read my first post knows that this is not the case in my family! I have resorted to the many wonderful cookbooks available and have found a wonderful rich fruity nutty, and glacé free Christmas cake as a result. Mainly due to Nigella Lawson.
Just a few tips before we get started:
-Do warm the fruit through with the chosen alcohol, it not only creates a wonderful aroma but it also takes the edge off the alcohol and then leave the fruit soaking overnight, they become extremely juicy
-Everyone’s oven is different, I find that by placing a roasting tin of water in the bottom of the oven whilst baking the cake does not dry out or burn the edges. It may take a little longer to bake but you do end up with a wonderfully moist cake
– I don’t use too much alcohol in my cake as I enjoy the taste of the fruit more, but if you are adding more whilst storing the cake just add a tablespoon every week
– LASTLY, as tempting as it is do not pick at the cake!!!!
700g sultanas
225g raisins
200g dried cranberries
110g currants
120g chopped pecans and walnuts
120ml Cointreau (or whichever chosen alcohol)
225g butter
195g dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons mixed lemon and orange zest
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon almond extract
250g plain flour
210g almond flour (well worth using the real thing here)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
A good grate of nutmeg
– Bring all the dried fruit to the boil in the chosen alcohol and then remove from the heat and allow to steep overnight
– To prepare the 9″ springform tin, grease and use a double layer of baking paper to around 2″ above the tin
– Preheat oven to gas mark 2 150 degrees
– Cream together the butter and sugar, preferably with an electric whisk and then add the lemon and orange zest and mix well
– Add the beaten egg slowly until mixed well and then add the molasses and almond extract
– Blend all the dry ingredients and add slowly to the bowl mixing well
– Once all the dried ingredients have been added you can use a wooden spoon to add all the soaked fruit and chopped nuts
– Pack the cake tin with the mixture and place in the middle of the oven for 3-3 1/2 hours
– Check the cake after 3 hours of cooking and once the toothpick comes out clean the cake has been baked
– Place on a wire tray in the tin and prick the cake all over the top then ad approx 1 tablespoon of chosen alcohol
– Wrap the cake in the tin in foil and leave until completely cooled, remove from the tin and place in an airtight container still in the foil
– Keep adding the alcohol as you wish and decorate approx 3 days before eating

Dried fruits in the making



Christmas cake before icing



Iced Christmas cake



Iced Christmas cake 2



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