How I did it: After years of banging on about making a Christmas cake I finally made one for Xmas 2009. I'm not much of a brandy or mixed peel fan so I went for a recipe that had neither – this Walnut and whisky Christmas cake from Delicious magazine.
It was fun to put together and whiffing the big bowl of fruit and booze. I couldn't find the dried pear so used dried apple. The only mistake was mine – I misread my oven thermometer and set the oven temp in Fahrenheit instead of Celcius. Didn't notice for about 90 minutes when I wondered why the house did not reek of Christmas and spice.
But I whacked up the oven, left it for another hour or so and it turned out well. Maybe it was more moist than it should have been but I didn't know any better..
I didn't bake until early December so it only got three weekly feeds before the big day. Instead of feeding it with just whisky I used the whisky/hot tea/sugar combo from this Hot toddy fruitcake recipe on BBC Good Food.
The icing was amazing. The golden icing sugar is the businesss – caramelly and rich. Will definitely use it for other cakes. I subbed water for the whisky as I think I'd overfed the cake already. You definitely need to blast it with a hand mixer to get the proper spreading consistency.
Verdict: very tasty… love the walnuts. I'm not really a fruit cake lover but this one is less of smack in the chops – not too spicy, not too fruity.
Lessons & tips: Read your oven thermometer properly