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Thread: Christmas cake - Stir Up Sunday

  1. #1
    Junior Member Panchita's Avatar
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    Cool Christmas cake - Stir Up Sunday

    Is anyone out there making their Christmas cake this Sunday (today)?

    In England we have 'Stir Up Sunday', six weeks before Christmas, when it is traditional to make your cake and also your Christmas pudding.

    I don't bother with the pudding (it never gets eaten!) but do try and do my cake now.

    This year I'll be doing my own Stir Up Monday though, since I forgot to soak my fruit overnight last night - so at least I've *started* the cake today....

    What about others?
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  2. #2
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    My Christmas cake was made on our Thanksgiving weekend (mid October) .... we're already eating it!
    I'll make another double batch of it in the next week or so, to extend the good eating!!
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  3. #3
    Super Member Pinkiris's Avatar
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    Please tell us more about this cake. I don't think that we here in the US are familiar with it! Would it be similar to what we call fruitcake?

    Sue

  4. #4
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    I will make pecan pies on Wed. for Thanksgiving.
    Linda

  5. #5
    Junior Member Panchita's Avatar
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    Americans don't have Christmas cake?!?!

    You're right Sue, it is a type of heavy fruit cake with sultanas, raisins, currants, cherries, mixed peel etc., usually laced with alcohol (I'm doing brandy this year). Traditionally the cake is then covered with marzipan (ground almond paste) and then white icing (not frosting, but firm icing) over that. The top has some form of decoration - shops sell ready made cake ornaments like snowmen, Christmas trees, reindeer etc (some edible) or of course you can make your own.

    QuiltE - I like your style!
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  6. #6
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panchita View Post
    QuiltE - I like your style!
    Yes! ....If I could only have one, Christmas Cake or any of the other holiday goodies, my choice would be Christmas Cake.

    It's often given a bad rep .... yes some CC is dreadful. Though many others are overly delightful in every way! Mine is all whole fruit/nuts and with the aging they soften up so you can easily cut the cake.




    And yes, Christmas Cake and Fruitcake are pretty much one and the same here in North America. There are so many different variations in the ingredients. Also whether it's dark, medium or light. So from one to the other it can appear so not the same!
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  7. #7
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    Another "fruitcake"

    I have a recipe from a friend's mother that calls for white raisins, not so much of the dried fruit and pecans. It is really good! Different than the regular fruitcake recipe that people make jokes about throwing at each other. I'm not sure how far in advance we make it.
    Kathy in TX
    Kathy Phillips

  8. #8
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    Kathy, I would love to have your recipe if you don't mind sharing. Sounds like something my family would like better than the one with too much fruit.


    Quote Originally Posted by KathyPhillips View Post
    I have a recipe from a friend's mother that calls for white raisins, not so much of the dried fruit and pecans. It is really good! Different than the regular fruitcake recipe that people make jokes about throwing at each other. I'm not sure how far in advance we make it.
    Kathy in TX
    http://signatures.mylivesignature.co...C6D9B70091.png"To share often and much...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."
    ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

  9. #9
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    I love fruitcake! I know a lot of people hate it but that's usually because they haven't had the homemade kind. Panchita is that the tradition where everyone takes a turn stirring the mixture? When I was growing up we all helped my mom do her fruitcakes before Christmas. My job was to remove the skins from the almonds after they had soaked. My mom always did a pretty flower design on the tops of cakes. She used the almonds for the petals with a half candied cherry for the center. Wow what good memories this topic brings to mind!

  10. #10
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    DD made 5 at the beginning of the month. We're turning them over every Thursday and painting them with brandy. We traditionally give three away as gifts to very good friends after she has iced them. She is studying to be a chef and took over this task from me when she was 17. She is very creative with the icing and loves thinking of something new each year.

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    Recipe, please ???!

    Quote Originally Posted by KathyPhillips View Post
    I have a recipe from a friend's mother that calls for white raisins, not so much of the dried fruit and pecans. It is really good! Different than the regular fruitcake recipe that people make jokes about throwing at each other. I'm not sure how far in advance we make it.
    Kathy in TX
    Kathy,
    I love fruitcake and would love to have your recipe.....can you send or post it?? Thank you

    The nonnie lady aka Nancy in Knoxville

  12. #12
    Super Member 0tis's Avatar
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    I love fruitcake too - my mother in law sends it to me - I usually have it for several days with coffee - love it.

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    Recipes, PLEASE!

  14. #14
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Here's a hint ... the old recipes say to wrap your Christmas cakes in liquor soaked cheesecloth. Of course, that's easier said than found! One year I decided to use J-Cloths!!! Worked perfect and it was easy to tell when they had dried enough that it was time for another soaking. Once wrapped with the Js, then I put into a plastic bag, twist it closed and it helps to keep the booze in there. I think of it kind of perspiring on itself!!!!!

    The Js and plastic are much easier to work with as you work with it each time.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member lindy-2's Avatar
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    i love fruit cake but cant seem to find a good recipey.

  16. #16
    Super Member May in Jersey's Avatar
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    Sounds great and much easier than making dozens and dozens of cookies at Christmas, so
    Yes Please, We Would love to have the Fruitcake Recipes! May in Jersey

  17. #17
    Super Member MrsM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE View Post
    Yes! ....If I could only have one, Christmas Cake or any of the other holiday goodies, my choice would be Christmas Cake.

    It's often given a bad rep .... yes some CC is dreadful. Though many others are overly delightful in every way! Mine is all whole fruit/nuts and with the aging they soften up so you can easily cut the cake.




    And yes, Christmas Cake and Fruitcake are pretty much one and the same here in North America. There are so many different variations in the ingredients. Also whether it's dark, medium or light. So from one to the other it can appear so not the same!
    Okay dumb question : Does it last until Christmas? Or does it have to sit a long while before you can eat it?

  18. #18
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsM View Post
    Okay dumb question : Does it last until Christmas? Or does it have to sit a long while before you can eat it?
    I made mine five weeks ago and we are eating it now. It does get better with age as the fruit/nuts soften and flavours meld. For those that are soaking in booze, there's that factor too for the time. I'll make some more in a week or two, for a later run .... as we'll eat it all winter!
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  19. #19
    Junior Member Panchita's Avatar
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    I would agree with QuiltE that some Christmas cakes are awful - usually due to being too dry, either because they are commercially made (and hence stored for eons before you eat it) or even homemade if the cake is not 'fed' (i.e. painted with brandy - or the spirit of your choice - over several weeks prior to eating)

    MrsM - there is a whole mystique about Christmas cake (or heavy fruitcake) actually improving the longer it is left - hence the traditional making it several weeks prior to Christmas Day to allow the flavours to mellow and blend. There is also a tradition here of the top layer of a wedding cake being made to essentially the same recipe and then kept for use at the christening of the couple's first child. Not sure I fancy that, but it gives you the general idea!!

    Tartan - I think that traditionally the stir and make a wish is in relation to Christmas pudding (similar recipe but different 'category' of food in that it is usually served with cream or brandy butter as the dessert at the Christmas meal - Christmas cake is eaten as cake at any time around Christmas). Though I see no reason why not make a wish over the cake as well!

    I'll dig out the recipe I'm using and post it tomorrow - they do have quite a lot of ingredients though, so be warned! LOL

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  20. #20
    Senior Member Maybe1day's Avatar
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    Christmas Cake

    I usually make mine in mid September as it is still cool. These type of fruit cakes will last for years if stored properly. Our wedding cake was this type of cake and the top layer was wrapped and stored then bought out to share on our first anniversary. It was an old tradition to keep the top layer of the cake for either the christening of the first child or the first anniversary of the wedding. Most of the time back then it was the first child.

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  21. #21
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    Yes I make my white Fruit cake right after Thankgiving... I have my mother's recipe.. I love it with a cup of coffee....
    By christmas time the cake is nice an mellow.....

  22. #22
    Junior Member Panchita's Avatar
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    That'll teach me from promising to post something 'tomorrow' - I really should have learned by now that any time I say that something keeps me from the computer for the tomorrow in question. Sorry.

    Anyway, the recipe I'm using comes from Nigella Lawson's 'How to be a Domestic Goddess' (which has to be the best title for a recipe book ever). I tried to find a link to it on her website, but there isn't one, so I'm hoping that by quoting the source I won't get into any trouble! It's paraphrased, so any grammatical mistakes are mine!!

    Note you need to start this the day before you actually bake it...

    For a half-pound (225g) cake:

    700g / 1.5 pounds sultanas
    225g / 8 ounces raisins
    110g / 4 ounces currants
    110g / 4 ounces glace cherries
    110g / 4 ounces mixed peel
    120ml / 4.5 fluid ounces brandy (or sherry, but I'm using brandy)
    225g / 8 ounces butter
    195g / 7 ounces brown sugar
    1 teaspoon lemon zest, chopped/grated
    1 teaspoon orange zest, chopped/grated
    4 large eggs
    2 tablespoons marmalade
    350g / 12.5 ounces plain flour (which I think would be 'all purpose' in the States - no baking agent or other fancies)
    1 teaspoon mixed spice
    a quarter teaspoon cinnamon
    a quarter teaspoon nutmeg
    1 teaspoon almond essence
    a pinch of salt

    For conversion of amounts to cups, etc. try http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking...surements.html


    DAY BEFORE: put all fruit and brandy into a bowl, mix well, cover, and leave to soak overnight

    NEXT DAY:

    You'll need a 23cm/9" round tin (or a 20cm square one) which should be lined with a double thickness of brown paper (the sort you use for wrapping parcels) and then with one layer of baking parchment. The layers round the side of the tin should be approx 10 cm above the rim to avoid scorching the cake.

    Heat oven to Gas Mark 2 / 150 degrees centigrade / 300 degrees farenheit

    Cream together butter and sugar, add in both types of zest.

    Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

    Add marmalade and mix in.

    Sift all the rest of the dry ingredients (just the dry!) together in a bowl

    Alternate adding some of the soaked fruit and some of the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture, stirring after each addition (this will get quite stiff as the ingredients get used up - that's normal!). Do this until all fruit and dry ingredients have been incorporated into the creamed mixture.

    Add the almond essence, and mix well.

    Stick mixture into the tin, and put in the oven for 3 - 3 and a half hours (or until a cake tester shows done)

    When ready, brush the top with some more brandy (about a couple of tablespoons, not the bottle) and wrap immediately (while still hot) in tin foil to keep the top pliable.

    When cold, re-wrap in fresh tin foil (be generous) and store in a cool dark place for a minimum of 3 weeks before eating.

    End of Nigella recipe.

    I would recommend 'feeding' the cake by spiking the unwrapped top with a cocktail stick or skewer several times and brushing on a further tablespoon or so of brandy every couple of weeks until you eat it. Once fed, re-wrap and return to hiding place.

    When you are ready to start eating:

    Traditionally the cake is decorated first with marzipan (almond paste?), which is rolled out to about a quarter inch thickness and then laid over the cake (which you brush with melted apricot jam (jelly) first to make it stick), smoothed over and trimmed.

    Then royal icing (stiff icing, not sure what the American term would be - fondant? - the sort that we use for wedding cakes too) is rolled out and also put on the cake.

    Plus decorations as your fancy takes you.

    Enjoy!!
    Quilting is my vice



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  23. #23
    Senior Member Kat Sews's Avatar
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    My mom always adds chopped gumdrops to part of her batter. This part isn't soaked, but just refrigerated. The small children like this because it is a little sweeter, and when sliced the gumdrops look like little stained glass windows. I still like the children's version the best.

  24. #24
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    I think I shared already how I wrap my cake .... though now, I don't even do that! A few years ago, a friend who does not drink alcohol was going to be eating a good part of the cake. Oh what to do? I was nervous ..... though trundled ahead and prayed. So now, all I do is ..... make the cake. Then wrap in plastic bags, merely by twisting it closed on its own and letting the weight of the cake hold it closed. (I usually cut a 9x13 cake into 4 or 6 pieces at this point). All are put into tupperware container(s). I set it near a register for a couple of days, to let the cake start to sweat a little. Then off it goes to the cold cellar. It will stay there till needed. Then I refrigerate it till good and cold, as it slices much easier. If I'm giving it away, I'll refrigerate, then wrap it pretty in clear plastic and tie on some ribbons.

    I don't do the icing .... it seems to disappear without that adornment!



    Here too there was the tradition to keep the top layer for the first anniversary and/or first child's christening.

    And now, so few seem to have fruitcakes for their weddings. Rather some sort of regular cake all iced. Many don't even have a wedding cake, thinking it is of no need. Ahhhhh another tradition disappearing!
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  25. #25
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    I am using a long time favorite fruitcake recipe from a friend, just google mrs. harvey's fruitcake, at Tampa Tribune for the recipe. makes a 5 pound cake, ,,and instead of using the tube pan, we use small giveaway foil pans.

    please enjoy, ........

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