We LOVE this time of year. Love it, cannot get enough of it.
Stir Up Sunday (23rd November this year) is the perfect excuse to put aside some time to do our Christmas baking, especially with the family: traditionally everyone in the family has a stir of the Christmas cake and makes a wish. So heat up some mulled wine, put on some festive tunes and grab an apron! Normally on the baking list is a traditional Christmas cake, a Creole cake, a Christmas pudding and some mince pies. We love Christmas baking so much that we actually have TWO different Delia Christmas books. We also have Nigella’s Christmas, which has some delicious recipes in, as well as Mary Berry, Raymond Blanc and the Great British Bake Off. One of our favourite things about Christmas cookbooks, are the pictures; they are so inspiring when it comes to ideas for presentation and decorating.
Christmas cakes are usually made on stir up Sunday to allow for a decent amount of maturing and ‘feeding’ of more alcohol. However a Creole cake has so much booze in it already that making it a bit nearer to Christmas shouldn’t be a problem. You can always feed it with a bit extra if you want. Depends how drunk you want to get off of one slice!
This is Delia’s Creole Cake recipe, it’s very hard to get wrong and can be decorated with something as simple as a few glazed nuts, but we all know half the fun is getting creative with the decoration!
For the Pre Soaking:
3 tablespoons rum
3 tablespoons brandy
3 tablespoons port (we used chocolate port this year-yum!)
3 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons Angostura bitters
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon molasses sugar
110g no-soak prunes, chopped
50g glace cherries, chopped
110g candied peel, finely chopped
50g mixed chopped nuts
For the Cake:
250g self-raising flour
250g demerara sugar
250g butter, at room temperature
This mixture will fit a 20cm square or round tin. This needs to be greased and double lined with baking parchment.
One week before you intend to make the cake, measure out the alcohol into a large saucepan. Now add the rest of the pre-soak ingredients. Tick them off as you go so you don’t forget anything. Stir and bring to a simmering point, then, keeping the heat low, simmer gently for 15 minutes. Leave the mixture to cool (it smells AMAZING) then put it into a jar with a lid or an airtight plastic container. Store in the fridge for 7 days, shaking or stirring it around every now and then.
When you are ready to bake the cake, preheat the oven to 140C/GM1. Mix the sugar, butter, flour and eggs in a large bowl until everything is blended.
When everything is evenly blended gradually mix in the fruit until it is evenly distributed.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, levelling the surface with the back of a spoon. Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 3 hours without opening the door. Then cover the cake with a double thickness of baking parchment and continue to bake for another hour or until the centre feels springy when lightly touched.
Cool the cake for 45 minutes in the tin, then remove and finish cooling on a wire rack. When it is completely cold, wrap in double baking parchment and foil and store in an airtight container. This will mature well over a month. Feed with more alcohol at odd intervals if you wish.