Yep - I've made it! I'm actually on the other side of the age-hill heading down (ever so very gently :) )
I've spent the first day of my 'noughties' baking. Don't know why. Surely the nesting instinct hasn't kicked in again ... there is absolutely NO=WAY I'm pregnant ... must be a comfort thing.
Henyway - I've cooked this year's Christmas cake (plus bread, plus shortbread) and I took a photo of it before I cut the first slice. It is delicious!!!! So good, in fact, that I felt the need to share the recipe. If you're looking for a great, easy recipe that tastes divine - then this is it. Enjoy :)
Dark Rum Christmas Cake
6 c Christmas Fruit mix (or 2.5 c sultanas, 2 c raisins, 1.5 c currant/citrus peel mix)
3/4 c oil (vegetable is best)
1/2 c dark rum
1/2 c orange juice
1 c brown sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup or treacle
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 eggs - lightly beaten (I actually missed this instruction, so if you don't beat - it's still okay)
2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp mixed spice powder
'As many as you like' cherries ;)
tbsp plum jam
Combine the dried fruit, oil, rum, orange juice, sugar and golden syrup in a large saucepan and stir over medium heat for two minutes. Bring to the boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer for ten minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda (definitely use a large saucepan or the baking soda will overflow - yup, I found out the hard way). Allow to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile. Preheat oven to 150 degreesC (or 300 degreesF). Lightly grease then fully line with baking paper a 20cm (or 8inch) cake tin. Hint: the cake rises a lot so make sure the baking paper on the sides of the tin is a good inch higher than the tin (- again, the hard way).
Now that the fruit mix is cool: add the eggs, sifted flour and baking powder, and the mixed spice until completely combined.
Spread the mixture into the prepared tin. Arrange the cherries on top. Bake for 2 hours 10 minutes or until a skewer is inserted and comes out clean.
Let it cool in the tin. Heat the jam until it's runny then paint over the top of the cake with a soft pastry brush.
Store in an air tight container and it'll keep for a month if you want to tease yourself - or five minutes if you live in a house like mine - we all like the first slice while it's still warm. (It'll last three months in the freezer).