Nutty as a fruitcake

It turns out that the husband, unbeknownst to me, is one of about five people in North America who actually likes fruit cake. He eats his neat, and I serve mine with sharp Cheddar cheese. No wonder the jeans are getting tighter.

But tight jeans or no,  it seemed an excuse to revive a tradition from few decades back when my mother and I made fruit cakes from scratch and then doused the finished product with alcohol until it almost wobbled off the table. And those were seriously good cakes. But the last one I actually remember was on my 21st birthday. (If memory serves me serves me correctly it arrived in the mail, and then formed part of a party that started with tea (and cake) around 4pm, and ended when they kicked us out of the Selly Oak curry house at 4am. I digress.)

Of course the recipe for that cake, from the 1960-something Kenwood Chef recipe book, is lost in the mists of time, so I was flying blind.

After a lot of internet surfing and a trip through the memory lane library, I settled on a recipe from Delia Smith, and while it seemed heavy on the currants and light on the alcohol, it’s not a book that’s let me down, so I hit the market for mixed peel and other fruits and decided to give it a try.

Let’s just say that making a fruit cake is pretty much an all-day adventure, given that it needs to bake for 4-5 hours in a really cool oven. By four hours it smelled done, and a skewer came out dry, so I decided to risk it. It had its first brandy bath today, and we’ll repeat that every couple of weeks til mid-December.

The proof of the pudding (or the cake) is in the eating,  so you’ll have to watch this space for feedback.


  1. bernadette said

    janet, the cake looks gorgeous! someone once posted part of her christmas cake to me from canada when i lived in singapore.. (hint hint) looking forward to reading part II.

  2. I take it you are another one of those five people who like fruit cake? Maybe there are six of ’em in the end. Let’s see if it succeeds before I start sending it around.

  3. […] 20, 2009 at 20:59 · Filed under posts So it’s a month since I tried my luck with first Christmas cake for a couple of decades, and while I fed it carefully with brandy to keep it moist, I admit I did […]

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