The Christmas cake is in the oven!
Yes, this year I remembered well in advance. Well, I remembered on Friday to ask my mother when I should start, and she said "As soon as possible", so the next day I bought the ingredients.
Christmas cake takes a long time to make, and it is hard to buy the exact amount of ingredients, for the measurements are in imperial but the packages of almonds, raisins, etc., are in metric. This year I remembered to look at my baking supplies BEFORE I bought way too many raisins.
Day 1: Buy ingredients. Wash and dry the two different kinds of raisins (1/2 lb each) and the dried currants (1/2 lb). Soak overnight in brandy. Boil-wash special cheesecloth which is ONLY for Christmas cake but your husband has used for something else.
Day 2. Mix up the wet ingredients, beginning with the 1/2 lb butter. Chop dates, Chop candied cherries in half. Mix all fruit and nuts in the dry ingredients. Add wet and dry together and mix well WITH HANDS in biggest bowl in the kitchen. Bake three-and-a-half hours at 275 F. Leave on the stove to cool.
My tube pan is smaller than my mother's tube pan, so I always have two cakes: the official big one and the small one. This year I used a loaf tin for the small one.
Day Three. Soak clean dry cheesecloth in brandy and wrap round and round Big Christmas Cake and Little Christmas Cake. Put each wrapped cake in its respective cookie tin and press down lid firmly.
Day 4-December 22ish. Take out cakes and unwrap. Breathe in the glorious brandy fumes. Roll marzipan into two circles and top each cake. Then make thin icing out of icing sugar and hot water and pour all over marzipan-topped cakes, so that it drips down like icicles. Decorate with candied cherries and almonds.
This year I also cleaned the oven floor before baking the cakes. My parents and youngest brother are coming for Christmas; the cakes must be perfect and not taste of burnt grease.