Christmas comes but once a year …

… and thank heavens for that we all say! Apart from making lots of cheese lately, TB decided that it was probably time to make some Christmas cake. Of course he decided he needed to make several Christmas cakes. So he ended up with one really large mix.


Sadly the old wooden spoon just couldn’t cut it so it turned out to be a ‘hands in’ experience.


It was also really good that he had his wok ladle to hand.


5 cakes were made in all. Sadly we forgot to take a photo of them when they came out of the oven.

Inspired by the season and having had a good read of the Canberra Times Food and Wine Christmas Recipes (8 December 2010) I decided to have a go at Matthew Evan’s Panforte – from his book The Real Food Companion.

Firstly take a lot of fruit and nuts (1.5 kgs of fruit and nuts, coarsly chopped up), to which you mix in 1 tablspoon of ground cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon each of cloves, nutmeg, mace and allspice, add 75 gms of grated dark chocolate and 240 grams of plain flour (sifted). 


In a saucepan heat 250 grams of caster sugar, 2 teaspoons of golden syrup and 300 grams of honey. Whisk them together until dissolved and then simmer for a further three minutes.

While the mix is still warm add the melted sugar mix into the fruit and nuts. Start stirring, or better still find someone strong to do it for you. Once the mix has cooled you can get stuck into mixing it with your hands – it would be a good idea to oil your hands before you get stuck in – because stuck was the operative word. I have never wrestled such a sticky mixture before in my life and I can tell you it was a close run thing. (No photos were taken of this stage – I don’t want to put you off completely). Anyway this is a big mix so you will need two round 20 cm cake tins to cook the mix.

Cook in a 180 degree oven for 20 minutes. The mix only really needs to heat through and should not darken noticeably – there is no way you can get a skewer in to test the mix. Allow the ‘cakes’ to cool and set slightly before removing from the tin. This is a really rich mix and is very filling so you cut it into thin slices to serve – just don’t tell your friends that there is a second one hidden elsewhere in the house.