If you love a rich, gourmet Christmas cake (or celebration cake for anytime of the year) then here is a recipe you might like to try. I love it because of the amount of fruit and glacé fruit it contains which gives this cake a real standout quality. If you don’t want to use whisky, you can use dark rum. The quantities here make 2 cakes serving 8-10 each, but given that the cakes can mature up to 18 months (and the longer you leave them to mature the better), 2 cakes will serve you well. This recipe is an Australian Country Women’s Association classic and the original recipe came from a Queensland lady, Daphne Plumb. It is fail safe and I guarantee you will make it time and again.
Gourmet Christmas Cake with Whisky
340g each of seedless raisins, seeded raisins, & dried figs chopped
230g dried prunes, cooked, drained, pitted & chopped
230g dates, chopped
170g glacé cherries, finely sliced
170g candied citron, finely sliced
110g candied orange peel, finely shredded
230g almonds, blanched, toasted and slivered
3 cups whisky
240g softened butter
2 cups brown sugar
1½ teaspoons each of ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg & ground allspice
5 large eggs
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Combine dried and candied fruit together with the almonds, then stir in the whisky and let the mixture stand for a week.
Preheat the oven to 135ºC. Butter two 8cm deep 23cm x 13cm baking pans and line them with lightly buttered brown paper or baking paper, making sure that the paper extends over the edge of the tins.
Cream butter and gradually add the sugar and spices. Beat in 2 eggs. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, then blend one cup of the flour mixture with the creamed mixture and blend in the remaining 3 eggs. Stir in the fruit and whisky mixture, the remaining flour. Mix the batter well.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans, pressing it down firmly into the corners, the drop filled pans from a height of 15cm to eliminate any air bubbles. Place the cakes in the oven and put a shallow pan filled with hot water on the bottom of the oven, underneath the cakes. Bake for 2½ hours, or until they test done. Cool the cakes in the pans for 1 hour, then transfer to wire racks, peel off the paper and leave to cool thoroughly.
Wrap cooled cakes in cheesecloth that has been soaking in whisky and store in tightly covered containers. Let the cakes age as long as possible before serving (one month minimum but the longer the better), moistening cloths every month with whisky.