Guide to a Stress Free Christmas #7 - including the best Christmas Cake you've ever had in your life!

It's time to bake your cake!
If you don't enjoy baking much or are really time pressed this year, cheat! There are loads of nice 'ready decorated' fruit cakes in the supermarkets now. They won't be as nice as this one, but they will do!

If you are baking your own, this recipe is GORGEOUS! I got it from a local cake maker - a lady who ran her own bakery for 50 years, and this was her tried and true recipe for a delicious rich fruit cake. **Note: the measurements are in ounces as this was the way she taught me. Nowadays stuff is sold metrically so you will need to convert the weights yourself**

The downside? It takes 2 days to do because we need to soak the fruit in the sherry overnight so you will need to weigh the stuff today and bake it all tomorrow.

For an 8 inch cake:

Currants 11oz
Sultanas 11oz
Raisins 11oz
Glace Cherries 6oz
Mixed Peel 3oz
Lemon rind - 1 lemon
Orange rind - half an orange
Sherry to soak fruit overnight: 50ml / 5fl oz

Ground Almonds 2oz
Butter 7oz
Soft Brown Dark Sugar 7oz
Eggs Size 2 (Large) x4
Black Treacle 1tbl spoon
Self Raising Flour 2.5 oz
Plain Flour 6oz
Ground Cinnamon 3/4 teaspoon
Mixed Spices 1/2 teaspoon
Ground Nutmeg -a 'good pinch'!

Gas Mark 2 (or 125 C) until cooked. (Approx 2h 45 to 3h 30)

-Soak fruit overnight
-Triple-line the cake tin with parchment
-Quadruple-line the OUTSIDE of the tin with brown paper (tie it with a piece of string)
-Triple cover the cake mixture with parchment

Leave the cake to cool in the tin overnight
Pour Brandy over the cake when cool (do not pierce the cake - the Brandy will find it's own 'cracks' to seep in through!)
Do not remove the parchment - store cake in it until needed.

Marzipan required - 1.5lb
Icing required - 1.5lb (I use sugar-paste as it is easier and softer to use than Royal Icing)

To present the cake, you will need an 11 inch square board (thick drum) for this cake

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