As you may well know Peter Vaughan & Judy Dain used to own the Healthy Life in Devizes. Now they have a thriving cookery school and an events business. We were discussing our zero-waste shopping experience and I asked them if I could have their famous Christmas Cake recipe. If you are local to Devizes you can buy all of these ingredients in exactly the quantity you need (with a couple of exceptions). If your further afield then the products can be found online here at yourhealthylifeshop.co.uk
500g mixed dried fruit
80g mixed peel
80g chopped mixed nuts
1 lemon (zest & juice)
1 orange (zest & juice)
8 tbsp brandy/whiskey/sherry
300g plain flour
2 tsp mixed spice
80g ground almonds
200g soft dark brown sugar
200g soft butter
1 tbls treacle
4 egg, beaten
1 kg almond paste
4 tbsp apricot glaze
4 tbsp vodka or any colourless spirit
1kg sugar paste icing
Pre heat the oven to 140C.
Grease and line a 23 cm/9inch round tin with greased baking paper cut to size.
- Put the mixed dried fruit into a bowl. Add the mixed peel and chopped mixed nuts.
- Cut the cherries into pieces and add to the bowl with the lemon rind.
- Pour over the lemon & orange juice + alcohol. Cover and leave to macerate overnight.
- Weigh the butter and sugar and place in a medium sized bowl. Cream together until light in texture and pale in colour.
- Gradually add the eggs beating well between each addition. Pour in the treacle.
- Sift in the flour and mixed spice into the bowl, and using a large metal spoon fold into the mixture. Then fold in the ground almonds and finally incorporate the fruit mixture.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Make a slight dip in the centre of the cake to prevent the cake from ‘peaking’ in the middle during cooking.
- Bake in the oven for about 2 hours (or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.)
- Remove and cool in the tin, on a wire rack until completely cold.
- Wrap the cake in foil and leave for a few weeks to mature, ‘feeding’ infrequently with alcohol.
- Paint the cake lightly with apricot glaze and place onto a cake board.
- Roll out the marzipan to cover the cake making sure that it adheres to the cake. Brush with vodka.
- Roll out the sugar paste and carefully drape over the marzipan. Trim off any excess and rub the surface in circular movements to make the icing smooth and glossy.
- Use remaining sugar-paste to create decorations on a Christmas theme
To discuss events CALL Vaughans Kitchen on 01380 530203