Yes it's that time of year again when I need to start thinking about when I'm going to bake my Christmas cake. I usually try and make it around the end of October so that it has plenty of time to mature before the big day. This year is no exception, I went out and bought all my dried fruit today along with a bottle of sherry. I don't particularly like sherry as a drink but it is the traditional soaking ingredient in my family's recipe. For the past couple of years I haven't had to buy a bottle. The recipe uses about a third of a bottle so if you don't drink it in the meantime it will last you for 3 Christmas cakes! This is precisely what I have been doing. This will be my 6th Christmas cake since leaving home and so today I bought my 3rd ever bottle of sherry.
I don't normally faff about weighing everything into separate bowls but I thought it would make a good photo to showcase the ingredients. The recipe is the one my Mum has been baking since she got married (they're celebrating 30 years in a few weeks), she can't remember where she got it from but soaking for fruit for a week is a tip she got from my late great aunt. My Mum has had to adapt the recipe since moving to France as it's not always easy to find the right amount of dried fruit, also this year she's told me that the fruit is quite expensive. The weirdest thing is that she can't find glacé cherries in the supermarket very easily. This has always surprised me because on the label it always says French glacé cherries. I've gone for the natural coloured cherries because for some reason in Tesco they come in a bigger packet and they also taste nicer.
Today I'm going to give the quantities of fruit needed to make an 8 inch (20cm) Christmas cake and then next week I will post the full recipe to make the cake. I soak the fruit for a week because this is how I was taught to make Christmas cake but by all means soak it longer if you wish.
4oz halved glacé cherries
3oz diced mixed peel
7 fl. oz sherry
Mix all the fruit together in a large bowl and pour over the sherry and stir well. Cover with a tea towel and leave to soak for a week. Stir daily if you remember.