I love to bake, I think I love baking more than I do cooking. There is something special about having the smell of baked goods wafting around your home. I love the end product and I have a number of friends and family who are my unofficial baked-goods-sampling -and- feedback team.
Most people love cake for all kinds of celebrations. At this time of year many people like to try out their cooking and baking skills for the festive season. Christmas cakes are widely available but I have yet to see any Jamaican Christmas cakes on sale in any of the major supermarkets. In addition if they were available I’m not sure if it would be suitable to a wide range of dietary requirements. Well it doesn’t matter any way because here is my recipe that you can use to impress your friends and family, with the fact that you have baked it yourself .
2 cups/250g/9oz plain flour
Pinch of salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp mixed spice
⅓ cup/75g/2½oz soya or sunflower non-dairy spread
1 cup/256g/9oz muscovado sugar
1¼ cups/170g/6oz dates, finely chopped
1 cup/200g/7oz sultanas
1 cup/200g/7oz raisins
¼ cup/56g/2oz glacé cherries, chopped
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 cup/250ml/½ pint soya milk (alternatively you can use oat, rice or coconut milk)
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
2. Sift flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice into a large mixing bowl.
3. Rub in the non-dairy spread.
4. Stir in the sugar, dates, sultanas, raisins, cherries and cloves.
5. Add the lemon zest and stir well.
6. Add all but two tablespoons of the soya milk and stir lightly.
7. Heat the remaining two tablespoons of soya milk in a pan or microwave so it’s warm but not boiling. You should be able to touch it without burning your fingers.
8. Pour the heated soya milk onto the bicarbonate soda and then stir it thoroughly into the mixture, without actually beating.
9. Spoon the mixture into a 7 or 8 inch cake tin, greased and lined with baking paper or greaseproof paper.
10. Smooth and slightly hollow out the centre.
11. Bake for an hour, then turn the oven down to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3 and bake for a further 45 minutes.
12. It’s ready when a skewer or cocktail stick comes out clean.