Christmas cake is an all year round cake as far as I’m concerned. Most of my friends know that there’s always a Christmas cake in the cupboard of our camper van for those occasions when you just want a cup of tea and some cake. In fact the camper van is one of the only places you’ll ever see me drinking a cup of tea.
In order for your cake to survive it’s important you preserve it and there’s no better way in my opinion than making sure it’s been well fed, fed with brandy that is. We usually spend a couple of months after it’s been cooked feeding it every other week.
But why cook it on the Big Green Egg? Well as far as I’m concerned the Egg is better than any oven at keeping food moist and that’s exactly what I want from a cake. It’s a match made in heaven. Try it and let me know what you think.
- 600g raisins
- 200g currants
- 100g dried sour cherries
- 250g mixed dried fruits – try prunes, apricots, apples, pears – finely chopped
- 400ml booze, plus extra to ‘feed’ the cake (brandy, sherry, Tia Maria and rum all work well)
- 300g butter, at room temperature
- 200g dark brown sugar
- 1 lemon
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp treacle
- 300g plain flour
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 150g ground almonds
- 150g almonds, chopped
- Place the dried fruit in a saucepan with the brandy (or substitute) and bring to a simmer. Pour into a bowl, cool, cover and leave to soften for at least 12 hours.
- Setup your Egg for indirect cooking, plate setter feet up, stainless steel grid on top and the baking stone on top of that. Set it to 160°C.
- Line the base and sides of a 23cm round tin or a 20cm square tin with a double layer of greaseproof paper. You’ll need the side lining to be a good 8cm higher than the tin. We actually line the base of the tin, lightly grease the sides, then tie a double layer of greaseproof paper around the outside of the tin after filling the tin with the mixture. Cut this down to that it fits within your Egg without touching the dome when it is shut.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Grate in the zest of your lemon and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the treacle. Sift the flour and combine with the spices and ground almonds. Mix into the butter mixture, alternating with the soaked fruit. Finally, fold in the almond chunks.
- Spoon the mixture into the lined tin and bake in the Big Green Egg for about 4 hours. Check after 3 hours and then every 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Take the cake out of the Egg and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then remove, placing it directly onto a large sheet of tin foil. Wrap it up twice to retain the heat for as long as possible.
- After a few hours, remove the foil and wrap the cake up again in a double sheet of greaseproof paper and a double sheet of tin foil, making sure you can access the cake from the top.
- Store in an airtight container.
- Over the next 2 months feed the cake with more brandy by gently pouring it over the top and rewrapping.
Pack some cake and take some tea in a thermos and go on a nice long walk. Find a nice spot and stop for a picnic.
Alternatively if you have a camper van make sure there is always a cake stashed away. There’s nothing better after an invigorating surf, a bike ride through the forest or a walk in the winter sunshine.