The traditional British Christmas cake is best made as early as October. It is full of dried fruit and brandy and once it is cooked it is carefully wrapped up. Once a week it is unwrapped and fed brandy or other alcohol. This is done by pricking the surface with a skewer or fork and gently pouring over the brandy. When I was young there weren't all the delicious shop bought cakes that there are today and so most people made their own. It was a great occasion. Just buying all the ingredients was a major event. Then there was all the mixing and stirring and the kitchen full of excitement. Once in the oven the house was soon filled with a warm and tantalizing aroma. the fact it had to stay in the oven for four hours meant you had a long cosy afternoon together watching over it. The Christmas cake was not decorated until a few days before Christmas but once it was made and wrapped up the excitement of the holiday season had officially begun.
Making memories making Christmas cake
Aprons on and at the ready
Hands are washed and sleeves rolled up
Wooden spoons and bowls galore
On the table in a row
Make the oven nice and hot.
Cherries glistening in a bowl
Little fingers pick one up
Raises it towards her lips
Hesitant and then more bold
One by one they disappear
Sultanas next dipped in some flour
Raisins, currants, ginger too,
Pineapple cut in little cubes
Walnuts broken into bits
Almonds slipping from their skins.
Cream butter and sugar first
With a wooden spoon is best
Beat the eggs all on their own
Then use a fork to whisk it well
Sieve the flour, add salt and spice.
Now it's time to taste a bit
Fingertips are best for this
Scrape the sides and mix again
Line the tin and tie with string
Pour all the lovely mixture in.
While it's baking make some tea
Sweet aromas fill the air
Dusk is coming light the fire
Now this Christmas cake of ours
Brings some magic to our lives.
|Photograph from Mrs.Beeton's Christmas Cookery book|
|The finishes touches are done at the last minute. (Mrs. Beeton's cook book)|