Last Sunday here in the UK, where there is no official holiday or giving of thanks on Thursday, we celebrated Stir Up Sunday. This is traditionally the Sunday before the First Sunday of Advent and the day when we make the Christmas Puddings and Christmas cakes.
Now I’m not making a Christmas Pudding this year. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas Pudding. But I also love Christmas Cake and Mince Pies and really after a huge Christmas Dinner (of and ), I want something lighter than a big ol’ boiled suet pudding – and we’ll come to that in a few weeks.
So I used Stir Up Sunday to make the cake and the mincemeat filling for Mince Pies (which needs to be made now in preparation for the Mince Pie baking in Christmas week).
Otherwise follow that recipe to the letter. As it’s a Christmas cake don’t forget to get everyone in on the action when it comes to stirring the batter and making a Christmas wish!
Even furry family members (wishing, no doubt, for fish heads for Christmas dinner).
2 large Bramley apples (cored and chopped)
5oz/150g shredded suet (**make sure it’s the vegetarian one** see picture above!)
8oz/225g mixed peel
2oz/50g glace cherries, chopped
12oz/350g dark muscavado sugar
Juice and rind of 2 oranges
2 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
7 tablespoons brandy (don’t use the good stuff, that’s for drinking!!!)
Put all the dried fruit, suet and spices in a large pan.
Then you will need to grate the peel and juice your oranges,
and add that along with the cherries and apples to your pan.
Give everything a really good stir and then pour the brandy over the top. Stir again and cover the pan, leaving it to marinate overnight.
So your cake has baked and cooled. Your mincemeat has marinated. What now?
First you need to sterilise six small jam jars (how to do that is ) and divide your mincemeat between them.
Now store these in a cool dark place until the week before Christmas, when you can start giving them out to people and making mince pies (using if you like!).
As for the cake, well that needs to be stored in an airtight tin in a cool dark place as well, but first you have one very important step left….. adding the brandy.
Put your cake in its tin and punch a series of tiny holes in the top using a cocktail stick (I used a corn on the cob holder but the effect is much the same).
Pour a dessertspoonful of brandy over the top of the cake and let it sink in.
You will need to repeat the brandy process 2-3 more times between now and Christmas, making sure the cake soaks up the brandy but stays dry. Marzipan and icing come the week before Christmas.