Delia Smith’s Practically Perfect Christmas Cake

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Good evening, everybody.   I know you may be thinking it’s a little early to be making about Christmas Cake, but I’m here to tell you that it isn’t.  And seeing as I am the actual Goddess of Cooking, thou shalt follow no commandments but mine.

It’s good to get your cake prepared earlier in the year, as it allows more time to bathe it lovingly in brandy to make sure that when Christmas Day comes around, you won’t be  the only alcohol-soaked thing on the table.

The first thing you’ll need to do, is make sure the cleaner has made the kitchen look like it’s just been fitted and has never been used.   Make sure you have the finest bowls and utensils ever created, and have them all arranged so they are always in shot.

Then you need to prepare the fruit, so take your incredibly expensive mixing bowl, and add 1.5 lbs of dried mixed fruit, sultanas and raisins.  Then you need to soak it.  Most traditional recipes call for brandy or port, but I’m Delia Smith, and I’ve found a French company;  Le Rouge Pomme, that make the most amazing Calvados, to use that this year.  Due to everybody following my recipe, you’ll all be looking for that and paying through the nose for it.  Buy four or five 750ml bottles, I’m not on a 10% cut or anything.  Pour 250ml of it over the fruit, and give it a good stir.  Let it sit overnight, until the fruit has absorbed the liquid, while you sit comfortably on one of your seven sofas, absorbing whatever was left in the bottle.

The next morning, have your staff do your makeup and hair, dress you in a smock suitable for cooking, and have them carry you downstairs to the kitchen.

Preheat the Aga to a low to medium temperature.

You’ll need 6oz each of self raising flour, dark brown sugar and butter.  Add 3 beaten organic eggs, and mix everything together.  Add a teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, and powdered gold if you have any.

Now stir in the fruit and Calvados, along with a handful of chopped nuts.  I like to add some treacle at this point, about two tablespoons.

Pour the mixture into a really expensive cake tin, 8″ in diameter and 4″ deep, lined with grease-proof paper which has been cut into a perfect circle by someone else.  Put another perfectly circular piece of grease-proof paper, with a perfectly circular hole, about the size of a half-guinea in the centre, over the top of the mixture.  Bake for around four hours, or until a gold skewer, when inserted, comes out cleanly.  This is just enough time to take your dogs for a walk, pop out for a ride on your horse, or to sniff flowers in the garden while they film enough footage to make a montage.

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool completely before getting one of your staff to place it on a plate, exactly in the middle, with seven carefully placed crumbs around the edge.

Make several holes in the cake using a small fencing sword, and drizzle with more of the Calvados, weekly, until the 20th December at 12pm.  This isn’t traditional, but is now, because I, Delia, have decreed it.

Cover with warmed apricot jam to act as glue, and then some immaculately rolled and cut marzipan and royal icing.  If you want to guarantee no wrinkles or creases in the icing, there’s a really simple secret I can let you in on; get someone else to do it.

Decorate simply with marzipan balls and edible gold leaf.  If you’re a pauper, you can skip the icing and marzipan, and just stick some nuts on it, you grubby oik.

And there you have it, the perfect Christmas Cake.

Here endeth the lesson.  Praise be to me.





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