It’s hard to believe that Christmas is only a month away and, as usual, I haven’t made my Christmas cake yet. I always leave it until after my son’s birthday on 27th November but, trust me, it’s not too late to have a moist and flavoursome cake.
If you fancy trying my recipe, here it is :
For the cake:
– 450g (1lb) mixed dried fruit
– 60g (2oz) glacé cherries, halved
– Grated rind of one lemon
– 2 tbsp brandy
– 140g (5oz) plain flour
– 1 tsp mixed spice
– 30g (1oz) ground almonds
– 115g (4oz) soft dark brown sugar
– 115g (4oz) margarine
– 1 tbsp black treacle
– 3 medium free range eggs
For the icing:
– 3 egg whites
– 450g (1lb) icing sugar
1. Double line a 18cm (7″) round cake tin with greaseproof paper and tie a double thickness of brown paper around the outside of the tin, making sure both lots of paper rise 7.5cm (3″) above the rim of the tin
2. Put the dried fruit, glace cherries, lemon rind and brandy in a large bowl and mix together well (you can even leave the mixture to stand overnight)
3. Sift the flour and mixed spice into another large bowl. Add the ground almonds, sugar, margarine, black treacle and eggs and beat together for 2 – 3 minutes until the mixture is smooth and glossy. It shouldn’t be too runny, if it is you can add another 30g (1oz) of flour to thicken it up a little
4. Using a large metal spoon, add the fruit to the flour mixture and fold until the fruit is evenly distributed
5. Let everyone in the family have a stir and make a wish!
6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top over with the back of the spoon. Bake in the centre of a preheated, cool oven (140C/275F/gas mark 1) for two and a half hours. If the cake is evenly risen and starting to shrink from the sides of the tin, then it’s cooked. If not, pop it back into the oven for another 15 – 20 minutes
7. When the cake is cold remove it from the tin but leave the greaseproof paper in place. Using a thin, sharp bladed knife, make about a dozen holes in the cake and spoon over 4 – 6 tablespoons of brandy. Cover the top of the cake with a disc of greaseproof paper and fold sides over it to complete the wrapping. Then wrap in tin foil and store upside down in a cool place.
8. Two days before Christmas, unwrap and cover the top and sides with shredless marmalade, then cover with shop-bought golden marzipan
9. On Christmas Eve, make royal icing using the egg whites and icing sugar to form a stiff mixture, then cover the cake and decorate
I also make my own pastry for mince pies and quiches etc., but if you don’t have the time or the inclination, check out some of the delights from The Real Pie Company – their pastry is absolutely gorgeous!
We also sell Churchill’s biscuits and I was thinking you could use them as a base for making ‘melting snowmen’.
I made an orange butter biscuit base but most flat biscuits would work and they are so simple to do.
Make up some glacé icing using icing sugar and a little water to form a fluid paste. Put a teaspoonful of icing on each biscuit, position a white marshmallow and decorate as pictured using tubes of coloured icing. If you’ve got children or grandchildren, get them to help with the decorating.
If you are looking for Christmas presents, our Black Friday event is a great place to find a deal or two. The event is 100 hours long, until midnight on Monday, and (as well as the on-air deals) keep checking our website for new additions throughout the event.
The beauty Today’s Special Value selected to be part of the event is from L’Occitane – and it’s a biggie.
There are three fragrance options; Floral (rose and lavender), Fresh (verbena) and Warm (almond).
It is already available on our website here and is under £50. As you can see from my picture the gift box is packed with great products for a lovely Christmas present but you could also split it into smaller gifts if you wanted to. I have a show with our guest Alexis on Sunday morning at 11am, and I’m hoping that the Christmas crackers with hand creams in them and the stylish baubles will still be available.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted a picture of my Christmas cactus in bud, so I thought I would follow it up with one in full bloom.
I won’t embarrass her my mentioning her name, but one of our beauty guests sent me these because she knew I was anxious about a hospital recall I had after a recent mammogram.
Thankfully, the further X rays and ultrasound scan revealed nothing untoward, but it reminded me of the importance of regular checks – early detection usually has a better outcome.
The flowers reminded me that I am very fortunate to have met some truly kind and caring people through my job at QVC.
Before I finish, The Shadow of Her Smile is now available to read for free on my website www.juliarobertsauthor.com if you’ve got a spare few minutes to fill.
Enjoy the weekend,