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Help with old family Xmas cake recipe(14 Posts)
Dh’s Mum died when they were young but he and his brother always used to mention her Xmas cake each year. Anyway his dad was going through some old stuff and found her recipe tucked away! I really want to have a go at making it as a surprise for him and his brother but am really really not a baker so am turning to you with a couple of questions to help make it as good as possible. Firstly it’s all in imperial. I have done the conversions which come to this:
1928g dried fruit and mixed peel
227g ground almonds
325F = 162C
300F = 148C
Does that sound about right?
Secondly, it says an 11-12 inch tin. Would that be a round cake tin? (sorry if that’s a stupid question!)
Thirdly, it says ‘tie newspaper around tin outside, about 8inches deep. Put in mixture and hollow out centre’ what does this mean?! (See pic attached).
Lastly, if I’m a novice should I even attempt this? Is there anything I should know about making this type of cake which isn’t in the recipe (pic attached)? I don’t want to make a mess of his mum’s amazing childhood Xmas cake!
I'm crap with baking, but what a lovely thing to do. I hope it turns out every bit as well as he remembered.
The newspaper outside is to stop the cake overcooking on the edges before the middle is cooked I think. The recipe I used last year did the samething.
Same principle with hollowing out the middle, so it's a well, so the middle of the cake cooks quicker and therefore all of the cake is baked at the end
The newspaper round the outside is to insulate the tin and help the outside to cook more slowly. I use brown parcel paper instead, there's instructions with pictures here www.amummytoo.co.uk/idiots-guide-to-lining-a-christmas-cake-tin/ .
Hollowing out the middle is to make the cake mix deeper towards the outside of the tin and shallower towards the middle. The reason you do this is that the middle of the cake rises more as it cooks creating a dome - if you start with a hallow in the middle then you get a flatter cake with a smaller dome.
Oh and only thing not in the recipe is the eggs and butter want to be at room temperature not fridge temperature.
It sounds a lovely idea. If the cake ends up a bit overcooked then feeding it alcohol helps moisten it up! Speaking from experience.
What a lovely thing to do.
If you're making it now you'll need to 'feed it' - poke holes with a skewer and pour a tbsp brandy every week or so until you're ready to ice, that is if it's an iced kind of fruit cake
Thank you all so so much for your tips, that’s great! I am very happy to feed it regularly 😁. Ok so that makes much more sense now with the newspaper and hollowing. I will give it a go - fingers crossed!
Good luck op what an amazing thing to do, please come back and let us know how you get on, just a quick question I know there will be an obvious answer but how do you hollow out the middle?
You can definitely do this, OP.
When it says 'hollow out the centre', it just means make a smallish dip in the mixture - as others have said, the cake will rise a bit in the middle so the hollow counteracts that tendency and means the finished cake should be flat. Pic attached.
It probably does mean an 11-12" round tin, but you could bake it in a square tin if you preferred. I think you usually need to reduce the size by an inch if you do this. So you'd need a 10-11" square tin.
You might need to adjust the temperature if you've got a fan oven - they didn't exist then !
Also, I'd suggest coating the cherries in a tiny bit of flour to stop them sinking.
Gas regulo 2 is nearer to 140C - without the fan.
If the original recipe is in Imperial, I'd go for using Imperial measurements yourself. Not difficult & I think it might turn out better.
You learn something every day! I had not heard of putting a little hollow in the middle of the cake, it I will be trying this when I bake this year’s Christmas cake. Thank you to the posters who said this.
I the newspaper around my cake, and I also cut a double layered circle of baking paper, with a 50p sized hole in the middle, which I put gently on the top of the cake mix (it doesn’t stick), to protect the top of it while it bakes.
My mum always used to use her mum’s Christmas cake recipe - as did her two sisters. One year, one of her sisters came to visit with her new husband, just after Christmas, and they all had a slice of cake. New husband raved about how lovely my mum’s Christmas cake was, and suggested to my aunt that she should ask my mum for the recipe. My aunt was Not Impressed, givenat she was using the same recipe.
What a lovely idea and lots of good advice above. As you add the eggs it will probably look all curdled and horrible so just add in a spoonful of the flour to bring it all back together. It is a really big cake so I do hope everyone really likes Christmas cake!
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