Christmas Cake

Here’s a classic fruit cake which I reluctantly refer to as a Christmas Cake, as it seems a shame to restrict beautiful food to a particular time of year, religion and belief :o)

Festive Cake?

Albeit an incredibly delicious cake, the joy of this is all in the making for me; the family can all get involved in the various steps of the process and feel equally proud of the results – there’s always going to be plenty to go round, and more than enough to share with friends and family. I was so chuffed at how well received it was this year.

This recipe is lifted from Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook, his latest (and potentially greatest) book to date. Developed from refinements on classic recipes and innovative twists over nearly two decades, it certainly won’t be gathering any dust on my shelf.

My 5-year-old daughter, Winter, was particularly keen to get involved with this bake and I found myself having to reel her in at times so I had a moment to pause and think before crashing ahead. #SuperKeenBean

Ingredients:

  • 75g dates
  • 75g prunes
  • 100 glace cherries
  • 400g mixed dried fruit
  • 1 apple
  • 100ml stout or porter
  • 1 clementine, zest and juice
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 200g soft light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 200ml milk
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder

Method:

  1. Find yourself a 20cm square cake tin, grease it with butter and line it with greaseproof paper.
  2. Roughly chop the dried fruit in a food processor and transfer to a mixing bowl.
  3. Grate in the apple, add the stout, clementine juice and zest, and set aside.
  4. Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy and then mix in the eggs one at a time, followed by the milk, a little at a time.
  5. Combine the two mixtures and then sift in the flour, spices, baking powder and cocoa, folding everything together.
  6. Pour the cake mixture into the lined tin and bake for 2 hours at 150°C.
  7. Allow the cake to rest in the tin for 30 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. You can finish the cake however you like – you may want to just eat it like that – but we chose to coat it in a thin layer of apricot jam followed by marzipan and finally a fairly thin layer of royal icing.

Coating with Jam

Little hands working hard to roll out the royal icing on a sprinkling of icing sugar. rolling out the icing for the Christmas cake

We used a simple Scandinavian (Ikea!) cookie cutter to stick mini sugar pearls to the cake with a dab of water.

decorating the christmas cake

The finished ‘Festive Cake’:

Christmas Cake

Enjoy!

(Note to self – steady on the royal icing).

Ambassador Of The Month

I’m really very pleased about this article; feeling honoured.

Ambassador of the month

Fri 23 Oct 2015

Story by Jamie Oliver Food Foundation
Ambassador of the Month is a feature which highlights the amazing volunteers we have around the world. Ambassadors who have been chosen show an unwavering desire for change in their communities. They are fighting for real food and food education skills and donate their time every month to make this happen.

This month we’re highlighting super ambassador Alex Hodgkinson-Last from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire in the UK. Alex is a constant inspiration to us with his positive attitude, constant enthusiasm and his brilliant pictures shared across social media, showing a real family food revolution in action.

Tell us a little about why you wanted to get involved in the Food Revolution

The Food Revolution was a no-brainer for me. With two younglings at home and a passion for good food and healthy living, it allowed me to be a part of something that I really believe in. I was really lucky as it was actually my wife that suggested it to me, so all credit goes to her. The thought that I could do something I love whilst being part of something so significant was irresistible. Above all, the path that we’re on needs to change.

How has the Ambassador Program helped you accomplish your goals?

Becoming an Ambassador was the catalyst to realising my culinary and philanthropic aspirations. The cookbook I intended to write when my son Felix was born finally materialised as a blog (www.foodfitforfelix.wordpress.com) as I needed a platform to support my Food Revolution endeavours; I’ve never looked back. I adore being able to give back to the community and I get a huge amount of satisfaction from being able to help and inspire others.

What have you been able to achieve since being an Ambassador?

The Food Revolution has enabled me to reach out to so many people and spread the word about food education. Every time I explain the movement to someone new, the conversation feels like a little win. Cumulatively, we’re all making a difference which will propagate and enrich the lives of many more in the future. I’ve also been lucky enough to become a Super-Ambassador, and together with the core team around the world, we act as the eyes and ears on the ground and help to coordinate efforts in our respective countries.

Social media coverage has gone from strength to strength, and the Food Revolution Ambassador status has galvanised my role in the community, providing the gravitas required to engage with a wider audience.

I’ve made great relationships with Whole Foods Market in Cheltenham and A.Vogel UK as likeminded companies and generous sponsors. Together we’ve managed to provide germinators for classroom demonstrations throughout the country and the most beautiful produce to enable the children to take part in Food Revolution Day cooking classes.

The work with St James’ Primary School continues with gusto, and I’ve even had the pleasure of helping to tutor a group of children for a regional junior masterchef competition (which I’m delighted to say that one of our students won!).

What real food initiative(s) are you currently working on in your community?

Right now I’m ramping up and reaching out with more vigour than ever before. I’m starting a swathe of initiatives in my day-job with a view to improving overall wellbeing in the workplace and at home. I’m building contacts in other local schools and already thinking about where we can go with Food Revolution Day 2016. I have a stand at a Community Day later this week and I’m looking forward to providing interviews to local newspaper journalists and radio presenters.

I honestly didn’t think that I’d get accepted as an Ambassador, and I’m humbled and so very pleased that I applied. It feels fantastic to be a part of such a wonderful global movement which has a sole aim of improving the lives of millions of people.

May it continue to empower and prosper. #FoodRev

Check out previous ambassadors of the month here. To register your interest in becoming a voluntary Food Revolution ambassador, visit www.foodrevolutionday.com/ambassadors.

Massive thanks to all of our amazing ambassadors for keeping the food revolution alive!

The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation
@jamiefoodfdnusa | @foodrev

– See more at: http://www.jamieoliverfoodfoundation.org/usa/news-content/ambassador-of-the-month-alex-hodgkinson