Fri | Aug 18, 2017

The Proof is in the Christmas Cake

Published:Thursday | December 8, 2016 | 12:20 AMKimberly Goodall
Traditional Christmas cake
Margaret Pullen's Christmas Cake with icing and topped with cherries.
Mazie Miller's fruit cake is traditional yet tasty.
Peppermint Christmas cake
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Christmas is almost here and you can't really be ready for Christmas until you get your Christmas cake. But with so much variety to choose from what is your pick? Today Food, explores the various types of Jamaican Christmas fruit cake - from weird and unusual to the tried and true, we break them down for you. Food has gathered some Christmas recipes that are waiting to please your taste buds during the most wonderful time of the year.

Eggless soda cake by Margaret Pullen

Pullen, who have been baking for over 20 years, grew up with her father who was also a baker, so she believes her following in his footsteps was inevitable. With her niece being allergic to eggs, Pullen was drawn to making a eggless Christmas cake, as she didn't want her niece to miss out on all the goodness. She has mastered the art and today share the recipe with you.

Ingredients

21/4 cups flour

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup shortening

1/2 cup brown sugar

4 tbs mixed peel

1/2 cup raisins

1 cup sultanas

1 cup milk

1 tsp baking soda

1 tbs vinegar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 3508F.

2. Sift the flour and salt and rub in the shortening.

3. Add the sugar, washed raisins and sultanas, and the mixed peel. Mix thoroughly, adding the milk with the soda dissolved in it.

4. Finally add the vinegar. Pour into a tin lined with buttered grease paper and bake for about one hour and 45 minutes.

Peppermint fruit cake

Evadne Chung's peppermint fruit cake was brought to life by her daughter, Suelan Chung-Evans, the creative mind behind Sugabuzz Desserts.

Ingredients

7oz margarine or butter

2 cups flour

3 eggs

2 tsp almond flavouring

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup mixed fruits

1 tsp mixed spice

1/2 cup browning

1 1/2 cup fruit wine

2 tsp peppermint flavouring (or to flavour)

Directions

1. Soak mixed fruits in 1 cup fruit wine

2. Cream together margarine/butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

3. Whisk the eggs. Add the eggs to the butter mixture

then add the blended fruits to the mix.

4. Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and combine.

Add the dry ingredients to mixture alternating with the remaining wine.

2. Add peppermint flavouring and browning and mix.

3. Pour the cake batter into a greased 9" baking pan and bake at 350F for approximately 1 hour.

Mazie's Traditional Christmas Cake

The face behind Grace Food Creative Cooking, Mazie Miller has been baking for over 40 years. With the influence of her aunt whom she saw soaking fruits for the Christmas cake as a child, Miller was drawn to baking, and was specifically intrigued by the Christmas cake because of tradition, and the coming together of friends and family, who looks forward to her cake.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Baking Time: 11/2 hours

Yield: 24 servings

Ingredients

450 g (1 lb) Anchor butter

450 g (1 lb) dark sugar

8 - 9 large eggs

1tsp lime rind

1tbs lime juice

2 cups (16 ounces) orange juice

2 cups (16 ounces) wine

1/4 cup white rum

2tsp vanilla

2tbs Grace browning

3lb mixed fruits, soaked, blended

450g (1 lb) flour

112g (1/4 lb) breadcrumbs

1tbs baking powder

2tsp mixed spice

1 nutmeg, grated

1/4 tsp salt

Method:

1. Cream the butter and sugar until the mixture becomes light and creamy.

2. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the lime rind and juice.

3. Combine the orange juice, wine, rum and vanilla, and browning and set aside.

4. Combine all the dry ingredients - baking flour, breadcrumbs, baking powder, mixed spice, nutmeg and salt and mix well.

5. Fold the flour mixture into the creamed mixture alternately with the liquid ingredients.

Scrape the batter into a greased and lined 12 inch cake tin and bake for 11/2 hours at 1808C/3508F or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Pauline Trowers' Christmas Fruit Cake.

 

At the age of 10, Trowers and her sister became the sidekicks to their aunt who was completing a baking course. While their aunt practised, they would pay close attention, and over the years, they have baked different types of cakes for different occasions. Though they both learnt the same Christmas Cake recipe, Trowers admits that the taste and texture of their cakes changed as they tried new things and picked up new tips. Interestingly, their cakes are not similar in taste nor texture but both very good.

Ingredients

1 lb butter

1 lb sugar

1 lb flour

1/2 lb breadcrumbs

8 eggs

4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1tsp mixed spice

1tsp cinnamon

1tsp nutmeg

2tsp vanilla

2tsp almond essence

6 cups soaked chopped/blended fruits

(Do not drain)

3 cups rum and Red Label Wine mixed

Browning for desired colour (4-6) tbs

 

Directions

1. Sift dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

2. Combine wet ingredients

3. Grease and line 2 9" tins

4. Preheat oven 350degF.

5 Cream butter and sugar (I prefer to use dark sugar but granulated sugar may also be used and creams quicker) until light and fluffy.

6. Add eggs, beaten one at time.

7. Add wet and dry ingredients alternately to mixture

8. Pour mixture into prepared tins to 2/3rds full

Place in preheated oven

Bake for approximately 1 hr

Note:

If you do not have pre-soaked fruits:

1/2 lb raisins

1/2 lb currants

1/2 lb cherries

1/2 1b prunes

1/2 1b mixed peel

Nuts (optional)

1 bottle Red Label Wine

1 bottle rum

Place In blender on chop or to desired texture.

Christmas cake by Margaret Pullen

Ingredients

31/4 cups flour

11/2 cups brown sugar

8 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

11/2 tsp mixed spice

13/4 cups butter

3 oz. glazed cherries

1 lb sultanas

1 lb currants

3 oz. mixed peel

1 lemon or lime

1/3 cup sherry

1/8tsp almond essence

1/2tsp vanilla essence

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 300degF.

2. Stand the butter out of the refrigerator to soften.

3. Line a 9-inch round cake pan with two layers of brown paper and an inside layer of buttered paper.

4. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and spice.

5. Cream the butter and gradually add the sugar, beat well.

6. Whisk eggs then add to the butter mixture alternately with 21/2 cups flour.

7. Add the rest of the flour alternately with the sherry. then add the fruit, juice of lemon and flavourings.

8. Mix lightly for a minute then pour into the prepared tin. Lay a piece of buttered paper over the cake to prevent it browning too quickly.

9. Bake 3 to 31/2 hours, lowering the oven to 250degF. After three hours. Leave the cake in the tin for 30 minutes before removing it to a wire rack.

10. When quite cold, store in an airtight tin. This cake is best kept for a few days before using. Three days before using, cover with almond paste, leaving the almond to dry out before covering with Royal Icing and decorating.