Thursday, 24 December 2009

Pics of previous years’ mobhanded icing attempts

As requested by a Regular Reader (and Kronprinze├čin).









No, I don’t know what happened in the other years! :)

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

GJ’s Christmas Cake recipe


  • 8 oz sultanas
  • 8 oz raisins
  • 4 oz currants
  • 2 oz mixed peel
  • 2 oz glace cherries, halved
  • 6 oz dried apricots, chopped
  • 2 oz dried apples, chopped
  • 4 oz dried dates, chopped
  • 4 oz dried peaches, chopped
  • 4 oz dried pears, chopped

(Note after all the dried fruit: “If you cannot get all these it will probably be OK if you get different weights, as long as they more or less even up to the same total amount. If you can’t get the variety in the shops try the Julian Graves website.”)

  • 8 oz butter
  • 8 oz brown sugar
  • Grated rind and juice of a lemon
  • Grated rind and juice of an orange
  • 4 fl oz orange juice
  • 4 fl oz brandy
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tbsp black treacle
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 11 oz plain flour, white
  • 1 tsp baking powder


Put the fruit, butter, sugar, lemon and orange zest and juice, into a large pan with 4 fl oz water. Bring slowly to the boil, stir and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Add the brandy and spices and transfer to a large bowl. When cold, cover and put in a cool place (not the fridge) for three days, stirring daily.

Line a 10-inch round cake tin with double sheets of greaseproof paper.

Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.

Stir the treacle into the boiled fruit and beat in the eggs.

Sift flour and baking powder and stir into the mixture. It will be slightly sloppy.

Turn it into the tin and bake for about 4½ hours.

Note – excessive hotness

In consultation with the great GJ herself and with the Junior GJ-Cakemaking Year 10 Work-Experience Trainee Apprentice Team of Drs AC and DY, the following has emerged: this cake has a slight tendency to burn on top. The following advice has been offered:

  1. Keep an eye on temperature and time, and maybe consider reducing temperature
  2. Keep an eye on the cake itself towards the end. (Yes Tamsin: Duh indeed.)
  3. Consider giving it a lid of greaseproof paper fairly early in the cooking process. Not touching the cake mix itself but over the top of the tin. There’s no science on what effect this has … er, convection currents anyone?? Maybe it’s just magic. I know, I know … go figure.
  4. It’s a huge cake, and is meant to be iced. Having, therefore, to saw the top off due to its frazzlation is not such a disaster and has certainly happened “more than once”, I am told.