This is a Christmas Cake recipe from a farmers wife (published in 1951) and it is typical of the rural farming community, this cake has no fuss or frills, but it tastes delicious; it also comes with the advice from the author that, ‘this cake will keep well’, which always tells you something about the quality of the cake.
This recipe was sent in by Mrs E Harris, Belle Isle Farm, Hook Norton, Banbury, Oxfordshire, where it appeared in the 1951 publication, ‘Cook It The Farmhouse Way’. I have included modern weights and measures where necessary.
This Christmas Cake comes highly recommended … you can often tell how good a cake is going to be by tasting the raw cake batter before baking, this raw cake batter is lovely – buttery and creamy – and it smells wonderful; by using castor sugar, instead of muscovado, the cake is lighter and sweeter – while everything else, including the fruit, seems to be in balance.
Christmas Cake Recipe 1951
Although the recipe comes with no instructions to either line the cake tin (minimum 20cm) with baking parchment, or any decorating instructions, I recommend doing both. As for decorations I think they should be understated, in keeping with this cake, either simple icing, or my favourite way, adding large candied fruit and nuts (in a simple syrup) placed attractively on top of the cake.
- 8 oz. (225g) castor sugar
- 12 oz. (360g) butter
- 4 eggs
- 1 lb. (500g) flour
- 6 oz. (170g) raisins
- 6 oz. (170g) currants
- 4 oz. (115g) candied peel
- 2 oz (60g) ground almonds
- 4 oz. (115g) glace cherries
- grated rind of half a lemon
- 1 tsp of mixed spice
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- a little warm milk
- a wineglass (200ml) of brandy (or sherry or rum)
Cream together the sugar and butter until light. Halve the cherries, cut up the peel and sift the flour into a large basin. Stir into the flour the spice, the almonds, the dried fruit, cherries, peel, lemon rind.
Separate the yolks from the whites of the eggs. Beat up the yolks into the flour alternately with the brandy. Beat well.
Beat the whites so stiffly that the bowl containing them can be turned upside down and fold them into the mixture.
Finally dissolve the soda in a little warm milk and stir in. If the cake batter is a little stiff add in a little extra milk.
[Grease and line the sides and bottom of a loose-bottomed cake tin (minimum 20cm) with baking parchment or grease-proof paper – when lining the sides of the tin cut the baking parchment into strips that are twice as high as the tin itself. Use some vegetable oil to help stick the parchment to the sides of the tin. Carefully spoon the fruitcake mixture into the lined cake tin – use a wooden spoon to tamp down the cake batter so that there are no air pockets and the tin is filled evenly with a smooth, flat top. My Advice]
Bake in a moderate oven (160C) for 3 hours and cover over with greased paper if the cake gets too brown. This cake will keep well – wrap in grease-proof paper, then foil and store in an air tight container, if you want to, once a week unwrap the cake add a little more brandy over the top to the cake to ‘feed it’.
[Before serving decorate the cake with some simple, seasonal, icing shapes etc. or candied fruit and nuts in syrup placed attractively on top of the cake. My Advice.]