Australian Women's Weekly Christmas Cake
This was the first Christmas Lynette Gibson ever baked. She and Alan were married in 1964 and until the early 70's always celebrated Christmas with their families in Wingham NSW. She still has the original (somewhat tattered) page from the magazine, which was then in broadsheet form. The original recipe came from the Leila Howard Test Kitchen on the 17th November 1974.
750 grams sultanas
250 grams raisins
125 grams each of currents, mixed peel and glacé cherries
75 grams dates
½ cup Pfeiffer Classic Rutherglen Tawny (Lynette usually doubles this)
225 grams butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon each of grated orange and lemon rind
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons oragne marmalade
1 teaspoon parisian essence (gives the fruit cake a lovely warm brown colour)
2 ½ cups plain flour + ½ teaspoon each of salt, cinnamon and nutmeg
2 tablespoons extra Pfeiffer Classic Rutherglen Tawny
Prepare fruit, cut cherries and dates to size of raisins. Combine all fruits with Pfeiffer Classic Rutherglen Tawny, cover and leave overnight or longer if desired.
Cream butter and sugar till smooth, add vanilla and rinds. Beat until mixture is just combined. Do not overcream, this could cause the cake to crumble when cut. Add eggs one at a time, beach in each egg well before adding the next. Add marmalade and parisian essence (essence gives a good rich colour). Mix well. Add creamed mixture to fruit mixture, mix thoroughly, using a wooden spoon.
Sift dry ingredients, add in two lots to fruit mixture. Mix thoroughly. Using a deep 19cm square cake tin, put mixture into the cake tin lined with 2 layers of brown paper and two layers of baking paper. Gently bang the cake tin on a hard surface to settle the mixture.
Bake in a low oven (135°C) for 3 to 3½ hours. To test if cake is cooked, insert skewer into centre of cake. When it comes out clean, remove cake from oven. Brush cake top evenly with extra Tawny, cover immediately, while still in the tin, with foil or thick towels. This traps the steam, giving a moister cake with a soft top. When cake is cold (about 12 hours) remove from tin and wrap securely in foil to keep completely airtight. Wrapped this way, the cake will keep for months.
Enjoy with a glass of Pfeiffer Classic Rutherglen Tawny.