Sunday Afternoon Tease
At the beginning of October I made my first ever Christmas Cake; this momentous event took place at the second meeting of our new local Womens' Institute (WI). On 'Stir-it-up-Tuesday', around 50 women congregated with their mixing bowls, dried fruit and wooden spoons to mix up their Christmas cakes. It was an incredible sight to see so many ladies gossiping, laughing, stirring and getting to know each other.
I really do feel like a proper grown up now that I am a member of the WI. It's something that I have wanted to do for ages, but as there wasn't an active group in the small market town where I live, I've had to bide my time. Now, don't go thinking that you have to be 83 years old to qualify joining your local Women's Institute; certainly not! Our large group is in its infancy, but I am delighted to report that there are gals in their twenties and every decade upwards who have been keen to join. Oh, and it's not all cake baking and flower arranging either! There will be 'swishing' and speed-dating in the new year; not quite as scandalous as it sounds, simply a way to recycle unwanted gifts and make new friends.
The recipe that many of us followed for our Christmas cakes can be found here on the WI website. I deviated from the recipe by not adding the mixed peel (gruesome stuff!) and currants. Instead, I added some dried cranberries and of course I soaked my dried fruit in copious amounts of alcohol for a couple of days before adding it to the cake.
To be honest, Christmas cake has never been a big favourite with my family and I've felt deprived that I never got to make one before. This year however, I have rebelled and I don't care if I have to eat it all! Luckily, I have been 'feeding' my cake with Marsala (an Italian fortified wine) and Brandy, so it should be divinely fruity, moist and totally sozzled by the time it gets eaten on Christmas day. I shall leave you to your own innuendos, you naughty people!