Some cakes which are not part of our culinary habits have been adapted by us and added to our cuisine. Among these cakes is the Christmas cake, which must have been introduced to us when Cyprus was a British Colony. I can remember it from my childhood and I have been doing this recipe ever since I was in high school. I will stick to my recipe this year as well but I am also giving below a recipe (not much different from mine) which was given to me from my friend and which was given to her by a Scottish friend of hers.
You may prepare the Christmas cake as early as you like, even a month before Christmas. Don’t worry that it will decay because in a few days we will add the frostings which will keep the cake airtight and can last for a long time before cutting it. For a few days until the first icing is placed I wet the surface of the cake with a couple of tablespoons of brandy.
- 250 gr. butter
- 1 cup of sugar
- 2 cups of self raising flour
- 1 cup of raisins, black currant (any combination, I use only sultanas)
- 1 cup of blanched almonds finely chopped,
- 2cups of dried spoon sweets (preferably citrus flavoured)
- 1 cup of walnuts crumbled
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 4 -5 eggs
- ½ teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon of freshly ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon of mixed spices
- a pinch of salt
- ¼ cup of brandy (plus extra for feeding the cake)
- 2 – 3 teaspoons treacle or carob syrup
- Citrus jam
A few days before making the cake, put the spoon sweets in a colander to drain, after washing out the syrup. (In Greece and Cyprus we preserve fruit in heavy syrup and we do this with a variety of fruit so we use 3- 4 different kinds such as cherries, oranges, bitter oranges, green bitter orange peel, citrus, bergamot, walnut, etc., any type you prefer).
- Whisk the butter and sugar together until it’s light, pale and fluffy.
- Add brandy and treacle (or carob syrup or grape molasses)
- Sift the flour and add all the other ingredients to flour and mix well. Add to butter.
- Line the base of a buttered cake tin with parchment paper and using a large spoon, transfer the cake mixture into the prepared 28 cm. diameter tin, spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon.
- Pre-heat oven at 180 degrees C and bake the cake for about 1 hour or until after inserting a knife or a cocktail stick, it comes out dry and clean.
- Cool the cake for 30 minutes in the tin, and then remove it to a wire rack to finish cooling.
When it’s cold I feed it with brandy for a few days until I am ready to add the almond paste. I buy a syringe from a pharmacy, fill it with brandy and inject it in several places. I then wrap the cake in cling film, until the next day and continue the same procedure for several days.
In a few days spread the jam on top of the cake and prepare almond paste which spread on the cake (see recipe here).
2 -3 days later, finish with Royal frosting (see recipe).
We use this frosting not only because it gives a nice snowy look but it also keeps cake airtight and before we cut it we can preserve it for a very long time.
Decorate your cake with Christmas ornaments.