I have made the Delia Smith Creole Christmas cake for many years. It became easiest for me when life got very hectic as a teacher, as I would pop the fruit in for its ten day soak in the mixture of alcohols she prescribes (whiskey, brandy, port, rum and bitters) at the beginning of December while I marked matric exams, then when I got home, I baked the cake and no one on the world knew it had not been baked in October and matured!
Another of my old faithful recipes for Christmas cakes is the one in Mitzie and Ray Wilson's book "Cake Decorating" which works every time, gives instructions for upsizing or downsizing the mixture but needs its maturation period. I made 3 large beer box loads this year to cut into eighteen 1 kg cakes for our church carnival and they all look good.
This year though, as I have been celebrating my 50th with the purchase of Mary Berry's "Complete Cookbook" and cooking my way through it, I decided it was apt to use her Rich fruit Christmas cake recipe. It was a cinch to make. I tend not to use the separate raisins, currants and sultanas but to use a good cake mix which I source at a specialist baking shop. I bought some soft Turkish dried apricots for the cake as I wanted the softness and not a chewy dry texture and I probably used more brandy than her meagre 4 tlbs for the soaking.
When the cake came out of the oven, I soaked it thoroughly in brandy and once it had cooled completely, I wrapped it in foil and stored it in a tin. I will feed it every 2 weeks till Christmas with about 2 tablespoons of brandy. I don't tend to ice my cakes as my family do not like marzipan. I usually decorate with glacé fruit and a good apricot jam and brandy glaze over the top. I will post photos of the finished product after the 20th December, but in the meantime, I recommend this cake - what I have seen and tasted is moist and delicious and the smell is divine. And there is just time to get a cake baked....