Christmas Baking with Roshelle Johnson

Thursday, December 06, 2018

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I have officially been baking... for three years. I left my job as wedding planner to open my own business, Little Miss Nancy's Cakes and Cupcakes (named after my mother, whose pet name is Nancy).

My first Christmas cake was baked... on my own with Mommy over the phone guiding me, in December 2015. My mom was the baker of the family and would usually bake Christmas cakes for my aunts and cousins. She migrated, so I wanted to take over that aspect of Christmas for my family.

I was led to baking... by my mother. For as long as I can remember she would bake cakes for different family occasions, mostly Christmas cakes (which is my favourite type of cake). Another influence I had was Cake Boss on TLC that my mom and I would watch every chance we got. It was our bonding time.

The most challenging aspect of Christmas baking is... I wouldn't say there is a challenging part to baking a Christmas cake once a recipe is followed. I've made mistakes and learnt from them. The first time I did the vale on my own I used a lot of fruit wine which made the cake very sweet. I don't use fruit wine at all anymore. I substitute it with a little bit of unsweetened sorrel and/or bulk wine.

What makes my Christmas cake special is... the use of my mom's recipe with her secret ingredient, as well as the high alcohol content. Lol.

My must have ingredient... Patience, because good fruitcakes cannot be rushed in any way, from taking the time to soaking the fruits or folding in the flour so that the batter isn't over-mixed or just waiting over an hour for the cake to be baked. Literal must-have ingredient: good ole JB rum.

Mom's favourite touch: Blend sorrel with the fruits.

Ingredients:

1 lb butter

1 lb brown sugar

8 eggs

1 lb cake flour

lb bread crumbs

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tbsp mixed spice

1 tbsp nutmeg

1 tsp salt

1 bottle browning (Eve)

1 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp vanilla

1 tbsp almond essence

Fruits (ideally soaked for 1 year; if not, at least a week before baking)

1 lb raisins

lb currants

prunes

lb cherries

2 oz mixed peel

1/8 white rum

gallon unsweetened sorrel

1 small bottle Red Label Wine

Method:

• Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and line baking tins.

• Cream butter and sugar.

• Add eggs, one at a time.

• Add vanilla and almond essence and mix thoroughly.

• Sift flour, baking powder and mixed spice.

• Fold in flour mixture, alternate with fruits.

• Mix in browning.

• Pour mixture into greased baking tins.

• Place in oven and bake for 90 minutes or until skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.

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