Christmas cake, a delicious rich cake full of fruits and nuts, a special treat on the Christmas buffet. This cake was introduced by the English, during the English colonial time on the island. Cyprus got its independence in 1960. There are many versions of this cake going around and the original English version can be bought at bakeries and is also made at home by those who prefer the original version, but not by me. Mrs. Amalia had her own version of the cake, with her own made preserved fruits and hulled nuts. The cake had great taste but was a little pale as well as a little dry, so after many trials and errors I developed this recipe and for the last few years this adjusted recipe is used at home with fresh and home made preserved fruits and nuts from the village and the result is stunning. Take your time to prepare this cake, it has quite some preparation and the fruits are prepared well a week in advance. Personally I decorate it only with almond paste and the icing is just a serving suggestion. I wish all my blog readers a very Merry Christmas and lots of cooking fun!!
250 gr soft unsalted butter
300 gr soft brown sugar
6 medium eggs
1 orange washed, grated and its juice
80 ml brandy
1 teaspoon mixed spices
1 tablespoon carob syrup
300 gr flour 00
500 gr mixed fruits cut in small pieces
150 gr almond halves
150 gr walnut pieces
Method stage 1: the fruits
1 week in advance prepare the fruits and nuts as follows: wash the fruits well under cold running water and drain in a colander. Cut the almonds with peel in halve. Coarsely chop the walnuts. Don't worry if you forgot to soak the fruits in the brandy, even one night is sufficient.
Transfer the chopped fruits and nuts to a glass or ceramic bowl and add the orange zest and juice. Add also the brandy. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and place in the refrigerator until needed. 1 night or up to a week, the longer they marinate the better.
Method stage 2: the cake
Start with lining the cake spring form, size 24 diameter, with 2 sheets of baking paper on the bottom, fix them between the bottom and the ring. Line also the side of the form again with 2 sheets, let the paper extend for 4 to 5 cm above the form. (See photo)
Chop the soft butter and place it in a large mixer bowl. Mix until white and soft.
Add the sugar and mix well.
Add the eggs one by one.
Add carob syrup and continue to combine by hand with a large spoon or spatula.
Sieve the flour and mixed spices through a fine sieve over a bowl.
Add the flour mix batch by batch to the mixture, stir until the flour is fully combined with the mixture.
Stir in the fruit mixture and the nuts.
Scoop the mixture into the oven spring form and spread it to all sides and smooth it on top with the spatula.
Place in the cold oven and set the temperature to 150 degrees Celsius. Bake the cake for 3 hours.
Ready baked cake, set it aside and leave it to cool completely in its form.
When cool take it out of its form and place it on a nice serving plate and cover with a clean cloth. Let it rest for a day or two.
Method stage 3: the decoration
Time to decorate the cake. Start by preparing the almond paste. This can also be done before hand, store the paste in the fridge, it will stay good for a few days, actually this almond paste can also be frozen.
Take 350 gr of ground almonds, ready bought or make it yourself. (Boil the almonds for a few seconds, rinse them with cold water and peel them, this is very easy once they are boiled. Rinse them again and dry them really well, when they are dry they are easier to ground in the food processor).
Add 350 gr of icing sugar and 2-3 tablespoons of cold water, close the lid and beat it until it becomes a paste, add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon almond essence, I used Morocco almond, add a little more water if necessary.
This is how the almond paste should look, it does not stick on the hands.
Kneed and form it into a roll and cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge until further use.
In order not to make the serving plate dirty whilst decorating, place 3 short sheets of aluminum foil under the cake.
Place the almond paste in between two sheets of baking paper and roll out with a rolling pin until the desired size.
It should cover the top as well as the edges of the cake.
Take away the top baking paper sheet.
Before transferring the almond paste onto the cake brush the cake with some melted jam, all over, top and sides.
Turn the almond paste on the cake and take the baking paper sheet away.
Gentle fold the paste onto the sides and with the help of a sharp knife cut away the excess paste
Ready for icing.
The icing I used here came from the supermarket, of course you can make your own icing. Roll out the icing in the same way as the almond paste.
Transfer onto the cake.
Icing is ready. Decorate with left over icing. It can be colored with food colors, wear plastic cloves!!
Of course ready colored icing can also be used.
Now it is a Christmas cake!
Careful pull the sheets of aluminum foil from under the cake, push back the icing at the bottom where necessary.
It may seem a lot of work, yes it is, but definitely worth it, nothing beats a home made Christmas cake!
Good luck and above all, enjoy!
Enjoy! - Καλή όρεξη