Charles LaFond’s English Christmas Fruit Cake Recipe
Mixed on Stir-up Sunday (The last Sunday before Advent), fed whiskey throughout the year, served the following year at Christmas time.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Line a deep 8 inch cake pan with a double layer of baking parchment or brown wrapping paper rubbed with butter (its cheaper). Then wrap a layer of newspaper around the tin (sides and bottom) and tie. Repeat to get a second layer wrapped and tied.
Mix together in a large deep sauce pan:
2 pounds of dried fruits: raisins, currants, cherries, cranberries and figs or other dried, dark fruits. (I tend not to use candied fruits or rinds – a modern convention with unfortunate associations with commercial fruit cake.)
Zest and juice of a lemon and an orange
5 oz. or 10 tbsp. good Whiskey (or sherry, brandy or rum. Cointreau, for example, will make an orange flavored cake, Canton a ginger, etc. but cordials may make the cake very sweet.) More will be needed for soaking.
14 tbsp or 9 o of dark brown sugar
9 oz or 1.2 cups softened butter
mix these ingredients in a large, deep pan and bring to the boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove mixture to a bowl and set aside to cool while you mix the following dry ingredients, eggs and vanilla.
Mix into a large bowl:
8 Tbsp. or 4 oz of sliced almonds
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp. all spice
8 tbsp or 4 oz almond flour or ground almonds
12 tbsp or 6 oz flour
½ tsp baking powder
…once dry mix is mixed well, add
2 tsp vanilla extract ( very good extract, not cheap stuff!)
Then, to this, add the somewhat cooled mixture of fruit, juices , whiskey, etc.
Mix this batter up well, (some families add a large (un-swallow-able) silver coin- the finder will win good luck when the cake is eaten) then pour and spread into the lined and wrapped pan, smoothing the tip with a spatula, and bake in the center of the oven for 2 hours.
Remove the cake form the oven and poke several holes in the hot cake with a skewer 9I use a large shish kabob wood stick) and pour over the cake the whiskey or whatever alcohol you have chosen to begin the “soaking” process. Let eh cake cool entirely in its tin as the alcohol is absorbed.
Unwrap the paper, remove the cake and remove the parchment. Wrap with one layer of cheesecloth, then with plastic wrap. Every two weeks add 1-3 tbsp of to=your chosen alcohol by pouring it on top of the cake or by injection with a horse needle. If you ice the cake with marzipan and royal icing, then stop adding alcohol two weeks prior to the icing and let dry. The cake exterior should be dry when iced and the cake firm when cut. It is best to serve the cake a month or even a year later. It will slice like a cross between fudge and dense cake.
Serve alone or warm with clotted, whipped or ice cream.