Hooray - it's nearly Christmas! I know some people don't think you should talk about Christmas until at least the 1st of December but as far as I'm concerned once Halloween and Bonfire Night are out of the way then it's full steam ahead for the holiday festivities.
Even if you don't like thinking about Christmas too early one thing you do need to do in advance is make your Christmas Cake. It really does need at least 4-6 weeks to mature and absorb all that lovely alcohol. Mine is made nut free as I have a mild nut allergy so I don't include almonds or walnuts. I've been using this recipe for the last five years and it is always a success!
450g currants 225g plain flour
225g seedless raisins 1tsp ground cinnamon
100g sultanas 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 pot of glace cherries 225g soft light brown sugar
2 tbsp brandy 225g butter
2 tbsp dark rum 4 eggs
2 tbsp whisky juice of one orange
Put all of your dried fruits and the glace cherries in a large bowl and soak in the rum, whisky and brandy. ideally do this overnight!
Mix the flour, butter, sugar, spices and eggs in a large bowl. When it is at a cake mix consistency slowly fold in the fruits and the orange juice until all of the fruit is covered.
Spoon the mixture into a cake thin that is lined with well greased baking paper. Cover the cake with a double thickness of baking paper and bake in an oven at 140C/275F for 4 - 4 1/2 hours.
When the cake is fully cooled wrap it in a double layer of foil and store in an airtight tin. If you like a particularly boozy cake you can make holes in the cake with a skewer and feed it with some drops of brandy on a weekly basis.
You are also now allowed to feel a bit smug that you have at least one part of Christmas organised!