It’s Christmas Cake time! I usually make my Christmas Cake with sloe gin but I haven’t got any this year but what I do have is a lot of beer. When choosing which beer to use I did, initially, decide to use Beavertown’s Heavy Water as I thought the sweet/salt/fruit/stout flavours would be interesting but then due to the scarcity of it (you need enough supplies to feed your cake weekly) and the fact that the cans I do have I want to drink all of I went with Rodenbach Grand Cru instead. I thought I’d still get the sour/fruit/sweet hit that I want and it’s readily available. Plus I bloody love it and will have to drink the rest of the bottle every time I feed the cake. Oh life is hard!
The main challenge is keeping your mitts off of this cake until Christmas. I’ll be taking mine hiking in Buxton over the new year. Hopefully it goes ok with Yellow Belly.
650g mixed dried fruit
zest and juice of 1 orange
150ml of your beer of choice
250g soft light brown sugar
1 tbsp of treacle
4 eggs beaten
250g plain flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp mixed spice
100g nuts (walnuts preferred but I had pecans kicking around)
Put all the dried fruit, zest, juice and beer in a bowl and soak overnight
Preheat oven to 180c/gas 4 and grease a 20cm tin. Line the base and sides with paper making sure it reaches around 5cm above the tin and also line the outside of the tin with baking paper and fasten with string
Beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy and toffee coloured and then beat in the treacle
Add the eggs a little at a time ensuring to mix well in between
Sift in the flour and spices and stir to a smooth batter
Add the fruit/beer mixture and nuts and stir until combined
Put into the cake tin and bake for 75-90 minutes until firm and a skewer put into the middle comes out clean
If your cake starts to get too brown on top cover it with more baking paper
Once removed from the oven make holes with a skewer all over and pour 2 tbsp of beer over it.
Once cooled, wrap in baking paper or foil and keep in an airtight container. Feed with a quarter bottle of beer each week, sit back and enjoy the rest of the bottle