Stir-Up Sunday = The Six Week Countdown


So, as we hit the six-week countdown marker until Christmas I thought I would begin a new tradition, which I hope to continue you with every year. Depending on how well it turns out and I wasn’t filled with too much confidence as my mum pulled a face during my cooking and commented that she hopes that my first Christmas cake does not turn out like her first one. In the bin!

I swiftly bypassed that comment and continued on my project to join in with hundreds of other people cooking their cakes all over the world as today is Stir-up Sunday . I followed the Good Housekeeping Magazine‘s advice and popped on a pinny (Christmas themed of course) and followed their recipe for a Boil and Bake Christmas Cake.

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My first task was to get the ingredients. I walked around the supermarket with a copy of Good Housekeeping firmly under my nose and grabbed all the necessary goodies off the shelves. However, I would strongly recommend not following this particular method of shopping as this approach did cause me to nearly have several head on collisions with fellow shopper’s trolleys. Yet, I did mange to procure all the items I needed. I then felt like Santa as I lugged my huge shopping bag back to the kitchen. Unfortunately, there was one casualty of my move back to the UK and this was my Smart Cart so now I am back to carrying my bags.

I then got all my ingredients ready, rolled up my sleeves and began my new tradition with gusto, I even donned my Reindeer socks but I stopped short of playing any Christmas related songs just yet.

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The ingredients I used (taken from the Good Housekeeping Magazine) are:-

  • 175g unsalted butter, plus extra to grease.
  • 500g each of raisins and sultanas.
  • 100g each ready-to eat prunes, natural glace cherries and stem ginger (roughly chopped).
  • Finely grated zest of one 1 lemon.
  • 150ml almond liqueur ( they recommend Amaretto so I was reunited with Disarano), plus extra to feed (If I can resist it!).
  • 175g dark brown muscovado sugar.
  • 100g blanched almonds, very roughly chopped.
  • 200g self-raising flour.
  • 1tsp each mixed spice and ground cinnamon.
  • 1/2 tsp each ground cloves and ground allspice.
  • 3 medium (I always use free range and organic) eggs.
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With my ingredients fully prepared and my pinny in place I set about following the instructions.

  • Preheat the oven to 150 Celsius ( 130 Celsius if it is fan) mark 2. Grease, then line the base and sides of a 20.5 cm deep round cake tin with baking parchment. (Here is where I discovered one item I forgot at the shops!)
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  • Put all the dried fruit and stem ginger into a very large pan with the lemon zest and almond liqueur. Bring the mixture to the boil, then cook on medium heat for five minutes. Add butter and sugar and heat to gently melt, stirring occasionally to help dissolve the sugar.
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  • Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool for five minutes. Stir in the almonds, flour, spices and beaten eggs and mix well.Iimmediately pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface (there’s no need to make a dip in the mixture). (I was not quite sure what a dip was so this was a relief)
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  • Bake the cake for one hour and forty-five minute – two hours or untill a skewer inserted into the centre comes our clean. Cover the cake with foil if it is browning too quickly.
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  • Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin. When cool, remove from the tin ( leaving on the parchment paper – Oh dear). Wrap a few layers of cling-film around the cake in its paper (ummm) then cover with foil. Store in an airtight container in a cool place. After two weeks of maturing, prick the top of the cake all over with a skewer and sprinkle over one tablespoon of almond liqueur. Re-wrap and store as before.
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Nutrition (but do not worry as it is Christmas!) :-

PER SLICE- 458 calories/ 14g far (6g saturates), 79g carbohydrates (69g sugars)

Good Housekeeping Tips :-

  • The Christmas cake will keep for up to three months stored in this way (and if I can hide it from my dad). It can be fed with more almond liqueur every week if you like, although if you prefer a less sweet cake, every few weeks is fine.
  • Chill the dried fruit in the fridge first before you make the cake you’ll find it much easier to chop. Alternatively, pulse the fruit in a food processor.
  • If you’d like to make a square cake, use a deep eighteen centimetres square tin and follow the recipe. Bake for two hours and fifteen minutes or until the skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, covering the cake with foil if it browns too quickly.

Then you can sit down and relax! And a premature Merry X-mas from Lucy’s Little World!

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