Christmas Cake

You’ll get real satisfaction from baking your own moist, flavourful Christmas cake this year. This microwave method is a winner, and allows for 6 additional individual cakes to use for homemade Christmas gifts! Bake soon, to maximise flavour development between now and December.

Difficulty

Prep Time

55 minutes

Cooking Time

90 minutes

Serves


Ingredients

  • 800g  dried fruit cake mix 
  • 500 ml  SPAR brown sugar
  • 500 ml   SPAR Pomegranate juice
  • 250g pitted dates, broken up
  • 200g pkt SPAR cranberries
  • 250g SPAR butter or brick margarine
  • 10 ml bicarbonate of soda
  • 200ml brandy  (1 nip bottle)
  • 200g jar   SPAR red glazed cherries, chopped
  • 5ml almond essence
  • 200g  pecan nuts, chopped
  • 4 large SPAR eggs
  • 480 g SPAR cake flour (1 000 ml)
  • 30 ml cocoa
  • 10 ml baking powder
  • 10 ml mixed spice
  •  5 ml  salt

Method

  1. Combine the fruit, sugar, fruit juice, dates, cranberries and butter in a large bowl and microwave for 15 minutes on 100% power.  Stir in the bicarbonate of soda and set aside to cool.
  2. Mix in the brandy, cherries, essence, nuts and eggs.
  3. Blend in the remaining dry ingredients thoroughly.
  4. Spoon half the mixture into a greased 20 cm round microwave-proof plastic bowl.  Divide the remaining mixture between 6 greased plastic tubs, half-filled.
  5. Microwave 2 individual portion cakes together, using 40% Power(Defrost) for 10 minutes with a final 10 seconds on 100% Power (High). Repeat this procedure twice more, until all 6 are baked.
  6. Lastly microwave the 20cm size cake - 40% Power (Defrost) for 35 minutes, and a final 2-4 minutes on 100% Power (High).
  7. Turn out each cake when still warm, and brush over with brandy . When completely cool, store in an airtight container.
*Tested in a 900 Watt microwave oven

Hints & Tips

  • Rinsed empty cottage cheese tubs filled half-way with cake mixture, make perfect microwave cake pans for the purpose of this recipe. Begin collecting them now, or have two at least, then wash, dry and grease again between baking each set of two cakes.
  • Greased and lined empty tuna cans make perfect mini cake-tins if you decide to use a conventional 160 º  C oven.  Allow 40 minutes baking time for these, and up to 2 hours for the larger family size.
  • The Step 1 fruit mixture can also be successfully cooked in a heavy-based saucepan for 20 minutes.
  • There is no adequate substitute for brandy as its function and flavour is unrivalled in a cake such as this made far in advance.  Apricot or orange juice would be a substitute to consider if you prefer not to use alcohol.
  • Get into a routine of lightly sprinkling brandy over the cake every fortnight, to ensure that the cake improves dramatically over the next few weeks.