Christmas Cake

Yes, I know it’s February, but if you read the previous post you’ll see that I’m clearing my backlog of images. Bear with me!

Back in October I had a big of a Christmas moment in the supermarket and decided I wanted to bake a Christmas cake. We just happened to be at the baking aisle, staring at the various Christmas baking necessities…but that’s beside the point.

I didn’t fancy all the faff of soaking the fruit (let alone the expense) so we bought a pack of 2oog ready-soaked fruit for about £2. A fraction of the cost of buying all the dried fruit individually, and also saving the cost of buying a bottle of alcohol which we’d never use up. Ours was pre-soaked in rum and I nearly got drunk on the fumes alone when I opened the packet!!

I spent a little while searching for the ‘right’ recipe, because I realised after buying the fruit, marzipan, and icing, that I don’t actually like Christmas cake that much…usually because the alcohol is overwhelming/it’s dry/heavy. So I specifically wanted to find a recipe that would make a light and moist cake.  (By the way, how hideous is the word moist)

I found the recipe here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/christmascake_2359     and apart from exchanging all the dried fruit/brandy for our ready-bought fruit, and using ready-made icing instead of playing about with egg whites, I followed the instructions exactly. That in itself is unheard of for me, I’m much more of a “chuck it all together and who cares if you left the sugar out, it might still be ok” type person.

Anyway…on the afternoon of 24th October (two months before Christmas…eve) I spent the whole afternoon in my kitchen, baking up a storm. Some friends and I were hosting a Clothes Swap on the 25th, so I was baking for that too, and the Christmas Cake was the last thing I made as I didn’t want to put anything else in the oven with the cake.

Here’s the yummy looking batter:

I used my best mixing bowl especially for the photo.

I lined the tin (something I never normally do, but I was going by the book, remember) and I got a little worried the mix wouldn’t all fit in, but it did…

3 hours at 150 Celsius and it looked like this………

Ignore that little burnt-looking bit. It’s not burnt, it’s extra flavourful ;p

My friend came round whilst the cake was cooking and said that it was like Christmas already. She was also pretty shocked at all the other baked goodies I’d made that afternoon. Bear in mind all this took only 3 hours prep time:

That would be several dozen jam tarts, several dozen oat biscuits,  several dozen cupcakes and also 2 rounds of chocolate orange shortbread with orange icing!

When my cake had cooled I wrapped it in cling film and foil, then chucked it in a Celebrations Tub (airtight) until December 20th, when I marzipanned it. I didn’t take photos of this because I don’t like marzipan and didn’t want to put it on, but my mum made me. Seems I’m still not old enough to ignore direct instructions! The marzipan needed 1 day to set, before I put the white icing on, so I did it ahead of time since I wanted to serve the cake at Small Group on Dec 22nd. Cue mad, frantic times trying to get it iced before everyone arrived!

But, I did get it iced and if I do say so myself, it looked pretty good. (And it tasted good too!!!!)

The little decorations were from the supermarket, £1 for  12, and the ribbon was from my Ribbon Box.

And there you have it, Christmas Cake in February

-x-

A really long week

I haven’t posted this week as it’s been a really tough one. I’ve been on call, which means I’ve driven around 400 miles for work (all over East Sussex, Surrey and Kent!) and had to pick up a wayward charge from 2 separate police stations on two consecutive nights which was a real joy since I’ve only ever been in a police station once in my entire life and that was just to report an accident.

Safe to say that wasn’t the highlight of my week! 2 very late nights and not enough sleep when I finally did get to bed (I wish my mind could just forget about work but unfortunately I don’t seem to be wired with an off switch) and then yesterday completely topped it off as every single phone call I took was someone wanting to yell at me…literally.

I took 13 phone calls throughout the day (I have to record who I speak to, and what about, so this is an accurate figure) and every.single.one of them was from a grumpy/dissatisfied/upset/annoyed person who felt it necessary to raise their voice over the accepted level to get across their point.

My favourite one was from someone whose language left a considerable amount to be desired and let me tell you the insults she threw at me would have been hilarious if they weren’t so vulgar 😦

It was a bad day which just didn’t get better, although there was a good half-hour when I realised that I am probably going to win the award for Best Sister Ever as I found the perfect Christmas present for one of my sisters.

Other than that, it sucked. The day was topped off by a phone call at 11.30pm (at which point I’d been asleep for about 90 minutes) telling me that one of young people had been reported missing. Thus followed an hour of finding Social Services numbers and reporting this to the necessary people, chased up by another hour where I waited for the Duty Social Worker to call me back. I gave up at 2.30am and went to sleep only to wake up about 4 times throughout the night, completly paranoid about missing THE phone call.

Needless to say I’m tired.

Today is Rosie’s birthday though, and we had a lovely morning. I got up and decorated the house with balloons and put out her presents etc (and freaked Ro out by playing Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday when she walked into the lounge) and we had pancakes for breakfast. That made me happy. I got Ro two of the QI books, which made her laugh. She’s going to put them in her bathroom, because everyone needs something to read in there. 😛

I’ve already had two Out of Hours calls today but I’m praying it will be a quiet afternoon and evening so I can celebrate with Rosie tonight. Ro has now gone out to lunch at her parents’ house, so I am using the time to make her birthday cake. It’s going to be soooo pretty :)I’m also listening to my worship album on Spotify, which is reminding me that I have the perfect Saviour who knows exactly how tired I am and what I need.

Last week may have sucked, but this is a new week and it is full of grace and God’s mercy for me and those around me. I love that.

-x-