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Antonia's Boozy Christmas Cake


Overview:

Recipe Name:  Antonia's Boozy Christmas Cake in an Aga Range Cooker

By:

Meal Type: Dessert
Prep Time: 1 Hour

Cook time: 5 - 10 hours

Servings: 1 Cake - 8 or 9 inch
Description: 

Antonia and her family have been making this fabulously sticky celebration cake for years!

"I’m not sure of the origin but we’ve all tinkered with it to include our preferred combination of fruits and alcohol. It is not very dark in colour, like some traditional fruit cakes – I like it this way but if you prefer a darker cake, substitute the light muscovado sugar for dark. You can feed the cake simply with your tipple of choice but I highly recommend using the suggested ‘soaking mixture’ – the glycerine makes the cake gloriously sticky and indulgent. I find baking the cake slowly in the simmering oven gives a fantastically moist result but cooking times will vary hugely from one Aga range cooker to the next. Be sure to read the notes at the end regarding baking times!"

Antonia has given the quantities for both an 8 inch cake and a 9 inch.

A 20cm British made cake tin

Ingredients

8 inch

 9 inch

Sultanas

300g

450g

Currants

260g

400g

Raisins

130g

200g

Glace cherries

115g

170g

Mixed dried peel

170g

250g

Lemon zest and juice

1

1.5 lemons

Plain flour

228g

342g

Ground nutmeg

¾ tsp.

1 tsp.

Mixed spice

¾ tsp.

1 tsp.

Cinnamon

¾ tsp.

1 tsp.

Salt

¼ tsp.

½ tsp.

Butter

228g

342g

Light muscovado sugar

228g

342g

Eggs

4

6

Ground almonds

85g

125g

Rum (or brandy)

3 tbsp.

4 tbsp.

For the soaking mixture:

50ml. each of glycerine, rum/brandy and sweet sherry, mixed together and stored in a small jar/bottle.

Method:

  1. Grease and line the cake tin with a double layer of greaseproof paper.
  2. Clean the fruit – lay a tea towel out on the worktop and tip the sultanas, currants and raisins on top. Sprinkle with a little flour and wrap the towel around the fruit. Give the fruit a good rub through the tea towel – this helps to separate any stalks or grit from the fruit. Place the fruit carefully into a bowl; the gritty bits should stay behind on the tea towel.
  3. Halve the cherries and add to the bowl with the mixed peel and lemon zest. Sift the flour, spices and salt into another bowl.
  4. In a very large bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy, add the sugar and beat well to combine. You can use a stand mixer or electric beaters for this. Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. If the mixture starts to curdle, add a little flour after each egg.
  5. Stir the ground almonds and fold in the flour and spices. Add the fruit, rum or brandy and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly and scrape into the prepared tin. Level the top.
  6. Place the cake tin on a grid shelf on the floor of the simmering oven and leave to bake for approximately 7 hours. Please see note below about baking times – these vary considerably from one Aga to the next! The cake is done when the top is firm, the cake is shrinking from the sides and a skewer comes out clean.
  7. Leave cake to cool overnight in the tin. Before wrapping and storing, prick the top with a skewer and sprinkle over several tablespoons of soaking mixture. Wrap in a double layer of foil and store in a cool place. Each week, ‘feed’ the cake a little more soaking mixture giving it a week off before decorating so that the wet mixture doesn’t seep through into the icing.

Antonia's Tips:

Baking time: some people choose to bake their Christmas cake overnight but if you haven’t tried this method before, I would suggest baking during the day so that you can keep an eye on things. The temperature of the simmering oven can vary greatly from one Aga range cooker to the next – a 9 inch square cake takes about 7 hours in my Dual Control Aga. An older model may take longer – up to 10 hours. If your Aga range cooker runs on the hotter side, you should check after 5 hours. 

This cake really benefits from time to mature. Ideally, you should make this cake at least 3 weeks ahead. If you are very organised, make it in September and feed regularly. Traditionally made on Stir up Sunday! 

How to make chistmas cake in an Aga range cooker 

This festive recipe has been scribed and tested by community member Antonia, (it has been handed down through generations and gradually adapted) who is a hard working mum with two boys. Her recipes are trialed in her much loved Aga range cooker and devoured by her family, allowing Antonia to provide accurate tips and advice on how to make the dishes a success! Go check her work out! She is a country girl, happily surrounded by an excitable Lab, her dear husband, two boys and the Cotswolds. 

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