01 Jul 2022

All About Food: Christmas is just around the corner

All About Food: Christmas is just around the corner

Rise to the occasion this Chirstmas

Welcome to all about food. I can totally justify this week’s recipe now that Halloween is over! I must say, Christmas actually starts in August in Gingergirl HQ as we make our Spiced Cranberry Chutney then to ensure the flavours have fully developed in time for the Christmas dinner table.
I would happily put up our Christmas Tree now but I think my husband would strongly object I’m so in love with Christmas that my two young daughters (aged 9 and 7) have told me that they think I get even more excited than they do and I think they might be right! Happy baking!

Ask Gingergirl
Hello Gingergirl,
I need to downsize my Christmas Cake recipe – I’m thinking that a 2lb loaf tin size would be best. I’m looking for a recipe that is more than the standard boiled cake. Can you recommend a recipe?

Hello Claire,
It seems that most of us are moving away from the larger Christmas Cakes which is probably not a big surprise with the increase of availability for festive treats and the smaller family size, amongst other factors, at play. In my own family, only one of my daughters and I actually like Christmas Cake – I love a small slice with an espresso on Christmas morning; stealing a few moments to collect my thoughts before Christmas dinner preparation gets underway. This recipe is one I have altered to suit my own taste, like you, I want some tradition with a little twist. Do note that this cake is so full of flavour that you can wait until a few days before Christmas to make it; simply wrap up the cooled cake and store in an air-tight container until you can resist it no more! .

Festive Loaf Cake
150g raisins
50g dried cranberries or dried sour cherries
50g dried apricots, chopped
100g dried figs, chopped
1 orange, zested and juiced
Zest of one lemon
250ml brandy
115g butter, plus extra melted for the tin
115g muscovado sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
120g of self-raising flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
60g bread crumbs
150g dark chocolate chips
80g chopped pecans and hazelnuts
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Icing sugar, to serve

Tip the fruit into a bowl with the orange juice and zest and 150ml of the brandy. Stir well, then leave at room temperature for 2 hours for the fruit to plump up.
Heat your oven to150˚c fan. Brush a 900g loaf tin with the melted butter and line with baking parchment. Beat the muscovado sugar and butter until light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time. Mix in the fruit, chocolate and the rest of the ingredients except for the remaining brandy and icing sugar. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for 1 hour 15 mins to 1 hr 30 mins or until a skewer comes out clean . Remove from the oven and immediately pour over the remaining brandy. Leave to completely cool before storing, Before serving, dust liberally with icing sugar.

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