Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Making Christmas Cake



Every year I make a Christmas cake, in the same way my Mum did before me.  For as many cakes as I remember mine has been a variation on Nigella's.  This year I am trying something different and opting for Jane Grigson's  Country Christmas Cake - as interpreted by Laurie Colwin of course.

Today the children and I went shopping for the dried fruit and this evening I began the process by soaking it.  Given my busy week I don't expect I will get time to bake it until Friday so it will be very well soused by then!

I have always loved a dense, rich, moist fruit cake.  I never forget the huge square fruit cake sent with my best friend when she joined us on a holiday in the Lakes.  I must have been about 14, and no other fruit cake has ever compared to the taste of that one.  My friend's mother had made it for an occasion and it wasn't used so we were the lucky beneficiaries.  It was full of fruit and lots of glace cherries which I love unashamedly.  I have high hopes given Laurie's pronouncements - 'Country Christmas Cake has a rich, deep taste, as complicated as brocade or tapestry, and makes a person think of  those magnificent aged Sauternes. It is suave, intense and delicious down to the last crumb'. So wish me luck on my quest, hopefully I will find a way back to the taste of that fondly remembered cake sometime soon.....

14 comments:

  1. Well Laurie Colwin's description certainly sounds great! Hope it tastes as good as it looks. Your house must smell fantastic . X

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  2. Mmmm... can't wait to hear how it turns out. A few days of soaking is no bad thing :)

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    1. Thank you - it seems to have worked out fine. Its away in a tin for a few weeks! Then back out for icing, Jxx

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  3. Sounds yummy...I have decided to try a fruit cake this year but will lean heavily on the cherries and pecans as they are my favorite bits....although I love it all!

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    1. Thanks Linda, I don't do the nuts. I think they are less common in Scottish or English fruit cakes. Sounds lovely tho, Jx

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  4. Happy baking! Although I must admit I am not a fruit cake fan. Then again I wasn't a mince pie fan either until I tasted a home made one and wow, so so so much better than the store bought variety. So that may be where I have gone wrong with fruit cake :-) x

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    1. I guess they are an acquired taste. Baking fruit cakes is such a 'thing' for Scottish women historically that I don't think I could have escaped loving them! Funny I am not so much into mince pies. Hope you are well Col, Jx

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  5. Lovely post, Jo! I love it when a recipe or the ritual of baking has a story and memory attached. I too adore glace cherries and always put four times the amount the recipe suggests in my fruit cakes, they are the best but in my opinion! Happy baking. x

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    1. Thanks Gillian, yay to glace cherries - I am just sad that they aren't as neon pink as they used to be!! Jxx

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  6. Yum! Love Christmas cake and pud. Can't wait. Also... I sent a little Sunshine Award your way today. xx

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    1. Hi Anna, thanks for that and so sorry I have been a bit slow to get back to you. That is really lovely of you! Jxx

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  7. Hi Jo ... I seem to have missed this post somehow ... I too love the ritual of baking something special ... I will be making my Granny's christmas pudding on Sunday ... the last before Advent ... a tradition she followed for years ... I love doing it and no-one else bothers but I love that it is a way to keep her memory alive ... enjoy your weekend lovely ... Bee xx

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    1. Thanks Bee and I loved you post about the puddings. Memory and food, so poignant, lovely, Jxx

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