The Christmas Cake is definitely not a traditional Greek cake but it was introduced to us when Cyprus was a British Colony in the 1950s. Since my early childhood, I've always felt that Christmas lunch cannot be festive without Christmas Cake for dessert. I can't imagine Christmas lunch without our very own Christmas Cake!
My mother always prepares the Christmas cake at least one month before Christmas. It is preserved because in a few days the frostings are added and keep the cake airtight and can last for a long time before cutting it and at least 3 weeks after you cut it For a few days until the first icing is placed the surface of the cake is wet with a couple of spoonfuls of brandy.
And here's Mary Berry's British Christmas Cake
My Mum's Christmas cake
250 gr. butter
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of self raising flour
1 cup of raisins, black currant (any combination, I use only sultanas)
1 cup of blanched almonds finely chopped,
2 cups of dried spoon sweets or dried fruit
1 cup of walnuts crumbled
1 spoonful of baking powder
½ spoonful of freshly ground nutmeg
1 spoonful of cinnamon
½ spoonfuls of freshly ground cloves
1 spoonful of mixed spices
a pinch of salt
¼ glass of brandy
2 – 3 spoonfuls treacle or carob syrup
Apricot or wild berry jam
A few days before, we prepare the spoon sweets. In Greece and Cyprus we preserve fruit in heavy syrup and we do this with a variety of fruit so we use 3- 4 different kinds such as cherries, oranges, bitter oranges green, bitter orange peel, citrus, bergamot, walnut- any type you prefer.
We wash out the syrup, strain them for 2 – 3 days and then cut them in small pieces. Otherwise use dried fruit.
Whisk the butter and sugar together until it’s light, pale and fluffy.
Add brandy and treacle or carob syrup.
If you don’t have any, just skip it. Sift the flour and add all the other ingredients to flour and mix well. Add to butter.
Line base of a buttered cake tin with parchment paper and using a large kitchen spoon, transfer the cake mixture into the prepared 28 cm. diameter tin, spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon. Pre-heat oven at 180o and bake the cake for about 1 hour or until after inserting a knife or a cocktail stick, it comes out dry and clean. Cool the cake for 30 minutes in the tin, and then remove it to a wire rack to finish cooling.
In a few days
Spread the apricot jam on top of the cake and prepare marzipan - almond paste
2 -3 days later
Finish with Royal frosting
We use this frosting not only because it gives a nice snowy look but it also keeps cake airtight and before we cut it we can preserve it for a very long time. Decorate your cake with Christmas ornaments.
THE EASY ALTERNATIVE
Just bake a fruit cake 2 days before Christmas and add the brandy (preferably Remy Martin) on Christmas Eve.
DO NOT CUT BEFORE CHRISTMAS !