Thanksgiving approaches... then suddenly we realize that holiday season is just around the corner! It is so nice that the 3rd Holiday Cooking recipe exchange at Overwhelmed with Joy is here already so we can start collecting recipes! This year I am sharing the best ever Christmas cake I have ever had!
The combination of saffron and honey is just out of this world... This is a light cake and so easy to make. You can make it ahead of time or at the last minute!
The recipe was adapted from the British magazine Good Food, that I received as a gift from a friend.
All recipes I tried from the December 2007 issue were a hit with my family!
The conversions are rounded up or down as appropriate. I use grams and cups... but many people use ounces. For the dried fruits, you can get 2 handfuls of mixed fruits and it will work great, no need to be precise...
Honey saffron Christmas cake
2 tbsp brandy
A pinch of saffron powder (about 1⁄4tsp strands)
1 cup (8oz/225g) golden caster sugar
2 sticks (8oz/225g) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
1 2/3 cups (225g) plain flour
2 oz/50g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
11 oz/300g raisins or sultanas
4 oz/100 g apricots, sliced
4 oz/100g cherries, halved
4 oz/100g dates, sliced
3 oz/85g mixed peel (I used candied orange peels)
2 oz/50g whole blanched almonds, roughly chopped
2 oz/50g walnuts, pieces
3 tbsp brandy
2 tbsp honey
1) Heat oven to 360°F/180°C. Grease a round, deep 8inch/20cm cake pan. -> I used a ring mould and it baked more quickly.
2) Heat the brandy in a small pan, then add the saffron and leave to infuse off the heat for a few minutes. Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl, then beat together until creamy and smooth. Mix the fruit, nuts and brandy saffron mix into the batter and stir well.
3) Spoon into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour if using the ring mould.
Or... if you like a darker cake... you might want to cover loosely with foil to stop the top over-browning. Turn oven down to 280°F/140°C and cook for 1 hour more OR until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pan then, while it's still warm, prod the cake all over with a skewer.
4) Mix the honey (microwave honey for 15s) and brandy together and spoon over the cake. Garnish with confectioner's sugar, pipe some whipped cream and dress up with fruits in season. I washed the fruits and coated them with confectioner's sugar.
You can wrap up the plain cake in foil and keep it in an airtight container until Christmas, feeding with more honeyed brandy every so often. Well, I made one last year on Christmas Eve and decorated right away... and still... it tasted great!