Today is stir up Sunday which means its time to dust off your pudding basins and hunt out your dried fruit as today is the traditional day to make your Christmas pudding and Christmas Cake. It’s called ‘stir up’ for the obvious reasons that you stir together your fruit mixes and it’s always held on the last Sunday before the start of Advent (next week) to acknowledge the start of the festive food preparations. This then gives your cakes and puddings four weeks to mature, develop in flavour and be ‘fed’ with Brandy or other spirits to give them that characteristic richness, moistness and boozy flavour.
Every year I bake the same Christmas cake recipe that I have tailored to suit my families tastes, but this year I felt like doing something a bit different and by simply changing some of the fruits included and the tray of soaking liqueur I’m hoping to end up with a different twist on my much loved classic. Below is the fruit base for the Christmas cake I’m baking this year but click here to see last years more traditional cake mix. The baking of the cake is to come!
I prepared and soaked the fruit for my Christmas cake yesterday, in readiness for baking today and I will be preparing my Christmas pudding mix today. It’s a fun festive tradition and I just love the colours and festive aromas you encounter along the way. Baking your own is so satisfying and rewarding that I encourage everyone to start up and stir up!
Festive Fruit Cake Mix
100g dried cranberries
75g glace cherries
85g dried apricots
175g dried figs
½ Bramley apple
40g glace stem ginger
Zest of an orange
Zest of a lemon
2 tbsp Cointreau (orange liqueur)
In a large mixing bowl place the cranberries and raisins. Quarter the cherries and add to the bowl.
Use a pair of scissors to chop the figs, apricots and dates into small pieces, similar in size to the quartered cherries.
Peel, core and dice the apple into ½ cm cubes. Finely chop the glace stem ginger.
Grate over the zest of the orange and lemon and drizzle over the Cointreau.
Give everything a good stir before covering with cling film and leaving to soak, plump up and macerate overnight.
Makes enough for an 8inch circular Christmas cake