The first thing I feel I need to point out is that this is not my Great Grandma’s Christmas Cake. Rather it is Julie Goodwin’s Great Grandma’s Christmas Cake. It was published in the Australian Women’s Weekly last year and it was the third Christmas fruit cake recipe I have ever made. I am not a fruit cake lover but this cake is the exception.
I love everything about it – the Christmas scent that fills the house as you make it, the simplicity of the recipe and the cake itself. The cake is not rich and heavy as I’m accustomed to which is a breathe of fresh air. Perfect to have with a cup of tea or for dessert served alongside a big jug of custard.
You can replace the lemon zest in the cake for some orange zest. Then in the custard add a little extra orange zest and a splash of cointreau. Orange, cinnamon, nutmeg and brandy soaked fruits is the essence of Christmas.
I make mini cakes to use as edible gifts for Christmas by dividing the batter in between two 13cm round cake tins. Then I wrap them in beautiful hand printed tea towels or in a cake box tied with a ribbon. Last year I just dusted the sides of the cakes with icing sugar and then topped them with a sprig of holly of the plastic variety. I didn’t buy any holly this year but they look perfect just as they are.
great grandma’s christmas cake
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
60g unsalted butter, chopped
1 cup (150g) sultanas
1 cup (150g) currants
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup (125ml) brandy
1/2 cup (125ml) water
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (150g) plain flour
1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
icing sugar, to decorate
In a large heavy based saucepan combine all the ingredients except for the eggs, flours and icing sugar. Bring to the boil and let it bubble away for 3 minutes then remove from heat and let it cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C. Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin or two 13cm round cake tins.
Mix eggs into the cooled mixture and then fold through the sifted flours. Pour into the prepared tins and bake for about an hour or until cooked when tested with a skewer. For the smaller tins I turn down the oven to 150 degrees C. If the cakes start to brown too much before they are cooked then just cover loosely with some tin foil.
Allow the cakes to cool in the tins on a wire rack. Dust liberally with the icing sugar.
Julie suggests serving it sliced with butter. I haven’t tried that.