Christmas cakes are kind of a British tradition. Growing up we knew the season was upon us, because the scents of spices, fruit, and brandy would fill up the house as my mother slow baked our christmas cake for a good 4+ hours. They would continue to linger around for the whole day, clinging to the air and sashaying in and out of each room.
Truth be known, this would be anytime from mid to late October. Christmas used to start early in our house. It would have started the beginning of October if my youngest brother could of had his way.
When he died, the Christmas cake went with it. Along with the music. The majority of the decorations. The Joy. It was too painful for my mum to take a whole day out to bake a cake that only three of us would now eat. I don't think we even would have been able to eat it.
The dense fruit base, force fed a diet of straight up brandy for at least a month, covered in layers of sweet marzipan and thick crunchy frosting hasn't graced our homes in the last 5 years. Until today.
Today I baked my very first Christmas Cake. I soaked the currants, raisins, sultanas, and cherries in brandy for 14 hours. Mixed up all the ingredients, and baked it for a good 4+ hours. The scents danced around the kitchen, whisking up the stairs, filling up the rooms with the memory of 21 years worth of Christmases. They are hanging around, hitting you in the face as you enter the house, whispering their words of comfort, and sympathy, and gratitude.
My cake is the 'second' cake. A cake of After, of a new kind of Christmas.
It's not bad for a first 'second' cake. It all went pretty well. Other than that bit where it came out of the tin in two parts. But the real test will come December 25th when my dad tastes it. He's the biggest Christmas cake lover in the family now.