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Christmas Cake

A report in Monday's "Scotsman" that a local authority in England, blinded by supposed political correctness, wish to drop the word Christmas from any discription of the winter soltice, is a reminder that it is time to bake a Christmas Cake! Luton Council apparently wish to rename the period "Luminos" but as that hardly trips easily off the tongue, it is hard to see their alternative will catch on even with the sensitive wee souls who make up the Council. A local Muslim spokesman basically told the Council to grow up! But ever helpful this column is willing to make a suggestion to the English Council to simply adapt the Scots term for the Yule/New Year period - "The Daft Days". It is an appropriate discription of the mammoth gluttony and jamboree of commercial greed that is now associated with the winter solstice. We will look in greater detail in December at traditions etc of the Scots "Daft Days" but the mention of Christmas is a timely reminder to put on our baking hats and get our ovens heated up to bake a cake for Yule. With only six weks to go, set aside time this weekend to bake your Christmas Cake, so that it has time to mature with the addition of Sherry for a merry Yule Day.
Christmas Cake 
( courtesy of Marilyn Wright )
Ingredients: 12 oz S. R. flour; 4 oz half cherries; 1 teasp mixed spice; 4 oz chopped peel; 4 oz ground almonds; 8 oz butter; 8 oz currants; 8 oz sultanas; 8 oz raisons ( stoned ); 8 oz castor sugar; 4 eggs; 8 tablesp milk.
Set out four bowls. Clean and mix the fruit. In a second bowl mix the dry ingredients, namely the flour, spice and ground almonds. In the largest bowl cream the butter and sugar together, and in the fourth bowl beat together the eggs and milk. Stir in alternatively, a little at a time, the flour mixture and the egg mixture to the butter and sugar. Lastly add the fruit gradually. Mix thoroughly. Line an 8" diameter cake tin with first brown paper, then greaseproof paper. Bake for 4 hours. First hour Gas mark 3-4, Electric 350-375 deg F, then reduce to Gas mark 1-2, Electric 275-300 deg F. Note - I usually use lower temperatures. To keep Cake until Christmas Day put it into a tightly sealed tin until you are ready to ice it. If you wish you can open tin once a week and pour a small amount of of Sherry over the cake. This helps to keep the cake "fresh" and adds to the aroma and taste. Decorate your cake approximately two weeks before eating with first marzipan and then Royal Icing (1 lb icing sugar is enough for this size of cake).

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