this year I am determined to be organised and make some Christmas cakes. I would like to make a few and give as gifts. Never baked one before so I googled and found Mary Berrys which looks yum. any othef receipes that you swear by or other top tips?
Soak the dried fruit first in whiskey/brandy, they then don't leech moisture from the cake as they rehydrate. I have a huge Tupperware of sultanas/raisins/cherries, etc, on the go for at least a week before I make the cake. Smells amazing...
I often make them for friends/family and usually bake a couple in square tins, then cut them into two loaf-shaped cakes. The advantage of doing it this way, for me, is that my mind's put at rest that they've been cooked through (paranoia), the recipients get 50% more icing/marzipan to fruit cake ratio, and the whole thing tends to get eaten up more quickly, as it's easier to slice thin portions than to hack away manfully at The Cake That Never Ends.
Make a jamaican black christmas cake! Really so much nicer no burnt fruit as you blend the fruit, and rum and port work better IMHO. It tastes more like christmas pudding then cake but cakey texture iykwim.
I have made a Nigella one before, which includes using marmalade. The more you feed it (with sherry, brandy etc. after its cooked, the better it will taste! I wrap the outside of the tin in brown paper - I don't know why, it was always something my mum did!!