Christmas in July?
In Australia it is becoming quite fashionable to recreate Christmas in our winter to have what our cousins in the Northern hemisphere have. Chilly weather in which eating the usual Christmas fare such as turkeys, roasts and plum puddings is actually enjoyable.
Some would say it is wrong to take such a sacred day of the holy calendar out of its true and righteous place. Certainly, Christmas in July takes all that is commercialized about Christmas and celebrates that. Is it right or wrong? I’m not sure but these celebrations are building in number each year and have a dedicated following.
This year I produced a cake for this particular occasion. I didn’t want the cake to be specifically Christmas only so no holly and no Christmas greeting. Gold tipped briar roses, clusters of little red flowers and gold leaves encircle the three red candles. With a bit of red and gold ribbon tucked in here and there I finished the cake and was happy with the result.
Covered with white fondant icing the rich fruit cake underneath epitomises the luscious foods of Christmas. I know many have ditched the fruit cake in favour of chocolate mud, lemon or a multitude of other cake flavours. For this type of rolled fondant icing a fruit cake is really best. There is almost a kilogram of icing on this 8 inch cake and most cakes do not hold this weight very well.
Over time I have come to know that the fruit cake is not well received the the US and perhaps other parts of the world as well. It is often the brunt of jokes and scorned at. (Oh, the poor fruit cake!)
A fruit cake made with quality fruit and good alcohol is delicious and appreciated in my family. Try my simple boiled fruit cake recipe and you will be surprised. But be sure to use good, dried, natural fruit not sweetened or adjusted in any way and good rum like a dark Jamaican rum. I like the Captain Morgan brand.
Boiled Fruit Cake
Boil the night before:
250g (1/2lb) butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
1kg (2lb) mixed fruit (your choice of golden sultanas, raisins, currents, glace fruits etc)
2 teaspoons mixed spice
Boil all ingredients for 3 minutes. In the last 30 seconds add 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda. Let stand until morning or cool.
In the morning add:
4 beaten eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup self raising flour ( or 1 cup all purpose plus 2 teaspoons of baking powder)
1/2 cup rum
Mix well. Bake in a triple lined 20cm (8inch) square or round cake pan for 1 1/2 hours at 180C (350F) then 1/2 hour at 150C (300F).
Check with a skewer that it is cooked.
Sprinkle over more rum when you take it out of the oven (maybe 1/4 cup) then wrap in a towel to cool slowly. This will ensure it will be moist.
I hope you enjoy it …. if not just enjoy the pics of the decorated cake!