There's not a great deal of enthusiasm in this house for Christmas cake, the traditional dark brown sort ... I make it every year, in quantity too, because I make one for my neighbour, another for my father, plus ... well, you know how it can be. But last year, I gave my neighbour the recipe, and said that from now on she'd probably have to make it herself, because I didn't want to be tied to making it every year, since no-one in the house wants Christmas cake (I made four last year, none of them for us).
My plan this year is to make a golden cake, in the hope that it will have more appeal for my family. And to make it even more tempting, I want it to have much much more fruit than is normal, so that it's really fruit glued together with a smidgeon of cake. This will make it heart-friendly, and generally more healthful, since dried fruit counts towards your five-a-day.
And I was wondering, does anyone have any experience of tampering with Christmas cake recipes? I'm usually not afraid to mess with recipes, but baking - well, it requires precision.
My plan is to double the fruit for the recipe I'm using. I'd really like to triple it, but I think I'm chicken. I'm going to get round the cake tin / quantity problem by using the leftover mixture to make Christmas cup cakes (an idea shamelessly pinched from Nigella's Feast).
All suggestions will be seriously considered ... and, if useful, I'll send you one of the cupcakes, decorated as well as I can manage. As you see, I've started soaking the fruit - this year I'm using my homemade vanilla essence, and it smells absolutely wonderful. Most recipes tell you to soak the fruit for anything from one to three days. Let me tell you, you can leave it soaking for a week or more without any problem at all!
Stepping out in style - More Robert Lorimer: the garden staircase at Hill of Tarvit.
16 hours ago