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Irish Christmas Cake

In keeping with Irish tradition, you may start this cake as early as November to serve on Christmas. If you are short on time and require a Christmas cake recipe with less preparation, try this alternative Irish Christmas Cake recipe.

Irish Christmas Cake IngredientsBaking an Irish Christmas Cake

  • 1 pound citron
  • 1/2 pound combined candied orange and lemon peels
  • 1/2 pound of dates
  • 1/2 pound of glace cherries
  • 3 3/4 cup of raisins
  • 2 3/4 cup currants
  • 1 pound of coarsely chopped pecans & almonds (combined)
  • 3/4 cup of brandy
  • 1 pound brown sugar
  • 1 pound of softened butter
  • 15 egg yolks - beaten until thick
  • 4 cups all purpose sifted flour
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. cloves
  • 1 tbsp. allspice
  • 1 tbsp. nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. mace
  • 15 egg whites - beaten until stiff

Preparing and Baking Your Irish Christmas Cake

Chop the peels, dates, cherries and citron. Save a few of the cherries for decoration. Add the raisins, currants, almonds, and pecans. Save a few nuts for decoration. Pour in the brandy and let the fruits marinate while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy, and then slowly add the beaten egg yolks while beating continuously. Sift 3 cups of the flour (1 cup should be set aside) with the spices. Slowly add the sifted flour and spices to the butter and sugar mixture (beat well after each addition). Carefully fold in the egg whites. Sprinkle the fruits with the remaining 1 cup of flour and mix well. Fold the fruits into the batter.

Oil a 12" Springform pan and then line with wax paper. Pour the batter into the pan and bake in a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven (with pans of hot water at bottom of oven) for 2 1/2 hours. After baking, let the cake cool and then wrap in a brandy soaked cheesecloth and store in an airtight container until ready to use. Every 3 weeks, the cheesecloth should be re-dipped in brandy.

To help the marzipan adhere to the cake sides, the top and sides of the cake should be glazed with either apricot jam (with a bit of water added for thinning), or red currant jelly before decorating.

Icing and Decorating Your Irish Christmas Cake

The Almond Paste

  • 3 (9-ounce) cans of almond paste

Use 2 cans of the almond paste to form into a ball. Place on a board (lightly sprinkled with flour or sugar) and roll into a 1/8" thick rectangle (rectangle width should match height the cake sides and the length should match the circumference). Circle the cake with the almond paste and trim the edges to fit. Roll the rest of the almond paste into a circle the size of the cake top. Put the circle on the cake, trim and allow the almond paste dry overnight. Then ice with Royal Icing.

The Royal Icing

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 pound of confectioners sugar

Beat the egg whites and the lemon juice until creamy. Add the sugar in gradually. Continue beating (occasionally scrape sides of bowl) until the icing appears smooth and shiny. The icing will be very stiff. If icing is not used immediately, use a damp cloth to cover the bowl.

With a thin layer of icing, cover the almond paste. If icing becomes hard to spread, dip your knife in hot water. Using the tip of the knife, decorate the cake with the remaining icing by forming swirls and peaks on the sides and edges of the top of the cake.

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