Light Christmas cake...

I've discovered the traditional Christmas cake only after moving to Ireland. In Poland you would find a lot of different cakes baked for Christmas, but none could be called "the ultimate Polish Christmas cake", as it will hugely depend on the region of Poland, family traditions etc. In Ireland (and UK) this is way simpler, Christmas cake is only one, and when you mention it, everyone will immediately know what you're on about.

I wanted to finally start our own little family tradition, once the girls are old enough to participate in it (5 and almost 4 years old), so this year was the very first one for us, that a traditional Christmas cake was baked. Well, almost traditional... 

light Christmas cake

The "normal" version would be "fed" with alcohol over few weeks leading to Christmas, but with two little people at home, that simply wasn't an option for me. I was on a look out for a recipe, that would give me the same texture, lots of fruit, will keep good for quite a long time, have that same depth of flavour, but without all the alcohol in it. At some stage I thought it was impossible! But... There it was Mary Berry's "Christmas Collection" cookbook, and inside I've found a recipe for light Christmas cake. No alcohol in it. None whatsoever! I've changed the recipe ever so slightly and the result was much better than what I was expecting.

The cake is moist and full of delicious fruit. When you cut it through, it looks like the most beautiful stained glass window! There's just enough amount of the fruit and nuts, so you can fell different textures, but everything comes together and the whole cake is well balanced. I don't miss the taste of whiskey/brandy in it at all.

non-alcoholic Christmas cake

It is very, very important to drain and dry the pineapple well. If it is too wet, the cake may become moldy after baking. If you would like to decorate this cake with almond paste and royal icing, do not decorate with almonds and cherries before baking. Icing and almond paste aren't very popular in my house, so almonds and glace cherries had to do. 


I'm pleasantly surprised how pretty the cake looks, with just few simple decorations on it :) Another proof that sometimes, less is definitely more! The cake freezes well, wrapped tightly in a cling film, for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature for 12 hours.

How to make it...

Ingredients:
- 200 g glace cherries
- 150 g mixed peel (original recipe calls for 350 g glace cherries only, but I wanted to add mixed peel so had to cut on some other ingredient)
- 1 × 200 g can pineapple pieces in natural juice
- 350 g no-soak dried apricots
- 100 g whole blanched almonds, chopped finely (used almond flakes)
- grated rind of 2 lemons
- 350 g sultanas
- 250 g self-raising flour
- 250 g caster sugar
- 250 g butter, softened
- 75 g ground almonds
- 5 eggs
To decorate:
whole blanched almonds and glacé cherries, halved

Method:

- Preheat the oven to 160 ºC/Fan 140 ºC/ 320 F.
-  Grease a 23 cm (9 in) deep round cake tin, and line the base and sides with a double layer of greased grease proof paper.
- Cut each cherry into quarters, rinse and drain well. 
- Drain and roughly chop the pineapple, then dry both the cherries and pineapple very thoroughly on absorbent kitchen paper. 
- Snip the apricots into raisin-sized pieces. 
- Place the prepared fruit and nuts in a large mixing bowl with the grated lemon rind and sultanas and gently mix.
- In a stand mixer beat the butter and sugar till pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. 
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing on low speed, follow with flour. 
- Mix everything for 2 minutes until all well combined.
- Take the bowl out of the mixer stand and add all the mixed fruit, fold them in with a spoon/spatula. 
- Transfer the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Level the surface and decorate the top with blanched whole almonds and halved glacé cherries.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 2¼ hours until golden brown. 
- Insert a skewer to test the cake, if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. 
- It may be necessary after 1 hour to cover it loosely with tin foil to prevent it getting too brown, so keep an eye on your cake at around 1 hour into the baking time. 
- When the cake is ready, take it out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes, then take out and cool completely on a wire rack. 
- You can glaze the cake if liked. Mix the sifted icing sugar with enough warm water to make a thin icing, drizzle over the top of the cake.

Smacznego!


You may also like:

 Mincemeat loaf cake

Comments

  1. PIEKNIE! NA PEWNO BYŁ PYSZNY!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dziekuje! Tak - pychota. Polowa juz prawie zjedzona, druga polowa w zamrazarce czeka na swieta :)
      Pozdrawiam, Anula.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking your time and leaving a comment.
Pozdrawiam, Anula.