Today we put the Christmas Tree up.
We bought our Christmas tree in the January sales in 1995. So it is nearly eighteen years old. I can’t remember how much we paid for it, but it wasn’t more than £25.
I think it’s important to buy a Christmas tree and decorations that will last a long time, as it’s more environmentally friendly to use things over and over again and it’s also cheaper that way. Our tree looks as good as it did when we first bought it and I’m sure we will have many more christmas’ with it.
Seven years ago I bought all the baubles etc. in one ‘bumper’ pack that cost me approximately £10.00 and again they still look like new and I hope we will have many happy years with them.
The Christmas wreath on our front door was purchased from Wilkinsons approximate five years ago.
Also the Christmas garland was bought from Wilkinsons approximately fifteen years ago.
I’m sure you will agree they all still look good and it was money well spent.
Today I made our Christmas cake.
I think homemade christmas cakes taste far nicer than christmas cakes you buy from the supermarket.
This recipe is great as you don’t need to make it months in advance as it will even taste good if you make it and eat it straight away. In my usual Mrs Thrift way, I bought the ingredients when Tesco were selling them ‘3 for the price of 2’.
This homemade christmas cake not only tastes really lovely as it is moist and well flavoured, but it fills the house with beautiful christmas smells whilst it is cooking. Making this cake is one of my christmas pleasures.
I also use this recipe to make three mini christmas cakes, that I give away to my family in the ‘Christmas Hampers of Homemade Goodies.’
I will show you how I ice and marzipan my cakes another day.
First though, you need to line your cake tin:
Line your cake tin by cutting a double length of greaseproof paper 5cm deeper than your tin and long enough to wrap around it with a slight overlap.
Make a 3cm crease along the folded edge, then cut up to the crease at regular intervals to make a fringe.
Cut two circles of greaseproof paper by drawing round the base of your tin.
Grease the tin and put one circle in the base and then grease the paper too.
Fit the long strip of paper around the side of the tin, with the fringed edges flat on the base.
Grease the paper and then place the other circle of greaseproof paper in the bottom and then grease it too.
You are now ready to make your cake:
My Christmas Cake Recipe
175g margarine or butter
200g dark muscovado sugar
750g mixed dried fruit that includes mixed peel
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
Grated zest of 1 lemon
100ml of brandy (I use the cheapest ‘value’ brandy) plus 4 tablespoons more.
3 eggs lightly beaten
85g ground almonds
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground all spice
Into a large pan, put the margarine, sugar, dried fruit, zests, juice and 100ml of brandy.
Put on a fairly low heat, stirring all the time, until the margarine has melted and the mixture begins to boil.
Turn the heat down and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the pan from the heat and leave for approximately 30 minutes to cool.
While you are waiting, preheat your oven Gas Mark 2 / 150C / 300F and line your cake tin.
After 30 minutes has past, stir your eggs and ground almonds into the pan.
Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into the pan and mix until it is all combined.
Spoon the mixture into your cake tin and smooth it down evenly.
Bake for 45 minutes and then turn the heat down to Gas Mark 1 / 140C / 275F and cook for a further 1 – 1 ¼ hours (1 ¾ hours if you have a gas oven). If your cake starts to darken too much, cover the top of the cake with foil.
The cake is cooked when it is a dark golden colour and is firm to the touch. Insert a skewer into the centre, if it comes out clean then it is cooked.
When it is cooked, make holes all over the cake and spoon over the remaining 4 tablespoons of brandy.
Leave the cake in its tin until it is cold.
When cold, remove from the tin and peel off the greaseproof paper.
Wrap in new greaseproof paper and then in foil. Store in a cool cupboard.
This cake will keep for up to three months, but if you really want to get ahead of things, it can be frozen for up to six months.
If you make this cake, I would love to hear how you get on.
Thank you for reading my blog today