Christmas on Becca's Books | Christmas recipe by Lisa Hall, Reading Room with a View

~ Christmas recipe ~

By Lisa Hall, Reading Room with a View

Christmas in our house is a massive deal – and I mean massive. Largely centred around what we are going to eat and drink for a minimum of at least a week, it starts on Christmas Eve with party food, the baking of an enormous ham (which bearing in mind there is only 5 of us is a little excessive alongside a giant turkey, pigs in blankets, bags of roast potatoes and the obligatory sprouts) and the first bottle of Prosecco, and ends somewhere around New Years Day with turkey curry and swearing blind that we’ll never drink again.

But the most exciting bit about Christmas for me has to be the Christmas Cake – and now I have kids they get just as excited. We start baking on the last weekend in September, and then wrap the cake and feed it brandy every two weeks until a couple of days before Christmas Eve. This is the recipe I’ve used for about the last seven years, and it’s so delicious we eat it all year round.

 285g sultanas
225g Currants
200g Raisins
85g Cherries
60g Mixed Peel (the pre-chopped stuff is best)
Zest and juice of 1 and ½ lemons
2 ½ tablespoons of brandy (I’m not very strict on measuring that bit out)

285g Plain Flour
¾ teaspoon Mixed Spice
225g Brown Sugar
225g Butter
1 ½ tablespoons Black Treacle
4 Large Eggs

Put all the fruit into a large bowl and add the lemon juice and zest and the brandy. Cover with clingfilm and leave to soak for at least two days.

Preheat your oven to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2.
Once the fruit is soaked, line a 20cm, deep cake tin with baking parchment. Combine all the other ingredients, (if you have an electric mixer just throw it all in there together), and mix until light and fluffy. Add the fruit and brandy mixture and mix well. Tip into the cake tin and level off. Bake at the above temperature for 30 minutes, and then reduce the oven temperature to 140C/275F/Gas Mark 1 and bake for approximately 3-3.5 hours. The cake is cooked once a skewer comes out clean.
Remove from the oven, leave to cool for around an hour and then spoon over a few tablespoons of brandy.
Once completely cool, wrap the cake in greaseproof paper, and then again in tin foil and pop it somewhere safe til Christmas! Don’t forget to feed it brandy every two weeks!
A few days before Christmas Eve, cover with marzipan and royal icing and your choice of decoration – in our house it’s a team effort!

You can find Lisa Hall on Twitter |

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