Nov 29th, 2015
I started my Christmas preparations yesterday by making my cake. I’ve a rather temperamental oven which I inherited from the former owner of the house (unfortunately it is one of those ‘too good to bin’ things as I think it would have been very expensive) and it tends to run very hot. In my previous years here I’ve made Delia Smith’s Christmas cake, and it always seems to end up overcooked and dry – because of the oven I think. So this year I am trying Mary Berry’s, after the big success of her black forest gateau.
Recipe is on the BBC site. I followed it exactly with the only difference being that I lowered the amount of cherries and correspondingly upped the raisins as I am not fond of cherries. I also added a couple of extra tablespoons of brandy to the fruit on the second day of soaking as it looked a bit dry.
So it was supposed to cook for 4 to 4.5 hours at 140C. I checked mine after two hours and it was getting ready way too fast, so I covered the top with a double piece of greaseproof with a 50p sized hole in the middle to let out the steam, and reduced the heat to 120C. At 3.5 hours it looked cooked, but a skewer in the middle was still coming away with cake on it – so I gave it another 20 minutes. In the end I took it out after 3 hours 50 minutes and I was pretty happy with it, but now it has cooled I still think the edges are over cooked. Sigh…
So we will see what it is like, but I am starting to think that the thermostat on the oven has gone. When I combine this with the crappy grill (so many hot and cold spots that trying to cook toast you have to turn it round about six times) I am starting to contemplate buying a new cooker next year – and making it gas as part of a general drive to reduce electricity consumption (looking towards solar at some point)….
I’ll post further on icing the cake and what it ends up tasting like!