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I love to cook, I've always loved to cook.

As a young girl, my time was spent reading the cookbooks that mum kept in the bottom kitchen drawer. Always looking for a new recipe to try, a new food idea. Many weekends were spent making rainbow cakes with as many colours as possible – have you seen my Instagram, not much has changed, and looking for recipes that I could cook using what was available in the cupboard or from the vegetable garden.

At the aged of about 16, I remember stating that I wanted to leave the farm and travel the world. This would be followed by retiring by about 30 and moving back to South Gippsland to grow vegetables and cook. From 16 fast forward 20 years and I returned, starting Jacican Food Studio in Mirboo North, Gippsland where I grow vegetables and cook. This blog is where I share my food adventure.

Jaci

OK, so it's coming up to that time of the year again - Christmas. Christmas everything, Christmas dinner, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake. I'm starting with the Christmas Cake.

Let's make this year’s Christmas cake a little bit decadent, with a lot of fruit, a little bit glazed fruits, and a long soak. This recipe makes a 1.5 kg cake in an 18 cm round cake tin. Remember that a great quality Christmas cake is made using plenty of quality ingredient and needs time to soak the dried fruit.

Jacis Christmas Cake with Glazed fruit 500px

Ingredients

130 grams sultanas

130 grams currants

130 grams raisins

130 grams dried apricots

130 grams dates

130 grams prunes

1 cup (250 ml) port

½ an orange – zest and juice

½ a lemon – zest and juice

130 grams glazed fruits – I use glazed pineapple, peaches, and figs

130 grams glazed cherries

155 grams plain flour

65 grams almond meal

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 pinch of ground cinnamon

1 pinch of mixed spiced

130 grams unsalted butter

130 grams brown sugar

2 eggs

Method

About a week ago, or maybe a month ago or even longer if you are super organized or you could do it now and make the cake in 4 weeks’ time for Christmas soak all the dried fruit together in a non-corrosive bowl with the port, orange and lemon zest, and juice. The dried fruit to soak together is the sultanas, currants, raisins, dried apricots, dates, and prunes.

When you are ready to make your cake, grease and line and 18 to 20 cm round cake tin with butter and baking paper. Pre-heat the oven to 155C.

Roughly chop the glazed fruit into about 2 cm pieces.

Sift together the dry ingredients, the flour, almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon and mixed spice.

Cream together the butter and sugar in a mixer master until light and fluffy. If you don’t have a mix master you can cream it together by hand. It just might take a little longer. Once the butter-sugar mixer is light and fluffy, add each egg one at a time and beating well to combine together. Remove from the mix master.

To make the cake batter add the sifted dry ingredients to the butter mixer. In my kitchen, I make about 8 times the recipe at once, so this is done with glove wearing hands, but you can use your favorite wooden spoon. The batter just needs to start to come together, as you will continue to mix once you add the dried fruit.

Add all the dry fruit and the soaking liquid into your cake batter, along with the glazed fruit and cherries. Mix together until combined and fruit is evenly spread through the cake batter.

Pour into your pre-line cake tin and bake at 155 C for 2 hours. Cool the cake in the tin.

This cake should keep for a while, but remember to keep it in an airtight tin, maybe in a dark corner of the pantry.

See you soon, and have a safe and happy Christmas.

Jaci

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