Saturday, 23 August 2014

My Nanna's boozey fruit cake.



A while back, with the arrival of my new kitchen toy, I decided that I would spend sometime on Saturdays doing a bit of baking. No I don't want some apron award from the 50's, I just wanted to try my hand making some stuff that I would enjoy stuffing into my pie hole, and so I started making biscuits. They have been a big hit with Steve and anyone who has come through the house.

But today was rainy and grey and not a good biscuit day at all. Now this was more than a little disappointing cos we are off on another adventure and I wanted to take some baked goods with me.

I did a little calculation of ingredients in my head, well not in my head, in the pantry, but the guessing was in my head, and I thought I might have enough stuff to make a fruit cake. I had never made one before.

I found a Christmas cake recipe and with a bit of jiggery pokery I came up with what I thought might just about cover the recipe.

It is the cardinal rule of cooking that for all things baked you must follow the recipe, but I have never been any good at that at all. I will have a little look and usually follow the method, pretty much anyway, but when it comes to ingredients, I reckon there is some leeway.

This recipe called for about 1.5KG of dried and glace fruit, but I didn't have quite enough so I threw in some walnuts and macadamia nuts and then there was the little issue with swapping scotch for brandy, and squeezing it all into a smaller cake tin that was round instead of square, and then of course the cooking time was all a bit of a case of best guess.

But bugger me, I cooked it and it is bloody marvellous!

The smell of Christmas has wafted through the house all day and I can now understand why Christmas was my Nanna's favourite time of the year. She was a pretty grim cook in general, but shit could she knock out a chrissie cake and her puddings were legendary. It would not shock me to learn that she might have tippled a little for the cook and so her ruddy cheeks were grog flamed as well as the result of all that heat from the oven and cooker, in a Queensland summer.

I reckon that as the cost per slice dawns on me I might have to limit the cake baking to special occasions but as the smell through the house took me straight back to my Nanna's kitchen, I hope there are lots of occasions which call for a boozey cake.