I’ve said it many times but I’ll say it again…Christmas cake is not for me. Icing belongs in my food hell. I just can’t bear it. And the cake is just too rich for me, I’ll have a token slice every year but really and truly I’m only in for the marzipan.
This cake (or is it a bread, I’m not really sure?) is much more my sort of thing, still full of festive flavours but not nearly as heavy. It has a lovely brioche like texture and isn’t too sweet, it makes a lovely change to traditional Christmas cake.
If you really feel like spoiling yourself (it is Christmas after all), this makes absolutely glorious French toast.
2 tbsp hot water
big pinch of saffron
7g yeast (1 sachet)
240ml warm milk
90g butter (+ 1 tbsp for greasing)
500g plain flour
1 tsp salt
zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
Steep the saffron in the hot water for 10 minutes. Combine the yeast and half of the warm milk in a large mixing bowl and leave it to stand whilst the saffron steeps. It should develop a nice frothy head and then you can stir the saffron and water into it.
Mix in the flour, salt and zests. Melt the butter with the sugar and stir it into the remaining warm milk. Beat this into the dough and follow it with the eggs, one at a time. Beat the mixture really well.
Brush your bundt tin really well with melted butter. Put about 1/3 of the cake dough into the base of the tin and then spread on half of the mincemeat (it’s easier to spread if you warm it a bit). Spread another 1/3 of the dough on top and then follow it with the rest of the mincemeat before finishing off with the last of the dough. Cover the tin with cling-film and put it somewhere warm for about 2 hours, by which time it should have risen to more or less fill the tin.
Pre-heat your oven to 200°c and bake the cake for 15 minutes. After this time cover the cake with foil (to stop it from browning too much) and bake it for a further 20 minutes. Once the cake is done leave it to cool in the tin for about five minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.