Our Lady’s Birthday and Christmas Cake.

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A beautiful friend, whom I love dearly, reminded me the other day that if I didn’t make my Christmas cake FROM SCRATCH at least 4 months in advance of the big day, then I might as well just stamp a big FAIL sign across my head as a wife and mother.

I’m only kidding! There is of course absolutely nothing wrong with buying your Christmas cake – which is exactly what I have done every year since I got married. But this year I have found myself rather more organised than I have ever been, and so decided to follow my friends advice and have a bash at making my own Christmas cake – from scratch!

Lets face it, it is MUCH more expensive to make your own cake, but I am promised wholeheartedly that there is no comparison to a shop bought one.

Today is 8th September: the day Catholics celebrate the Virgin Mary’s birthday. The readings at mass this morning were all about the birth of Christ. It got me thinking that today was the perfect day to begin soaking the dried fruit to make the Christmas cake. I hope I can remember to be this organised every year from now on. (Ha! I seriously doubt it!).

I am loosely following a recipe from The Pink Whisk but changed it a little to incorporate pretty much all the dried fruit in the entire world. In my cake there will be Sultanas, Currants, Raisins, Cranberries, Cherries, Dates, Figs, Prunes, Mixed peel, Apricots, juice and rind from an orange and lemon, Rum, Brandy and brown sugar. I also used Cinnamon, Allspice, Mixed Spice and ground Cloves.

Of course having failed weights and measures at school I was extremely grateful to have the help of my mathematical genius 9 year old who sorted out all the quantities for me 🙂

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All you do at this stage is to chop up all the fruit, mix it in with the liquid and stick it in a big airtight container until “stir up Sunday” (Christ the King) at the end of November. But you know what? It was great to start the new school term doing something really fun in preparation for Christmas – even if it is a long way off.

I think anticipation is a lost thrill in our modern world. People don’t have to wait for anything nowadays which is a shame really. Sometimes the anticipation can be as exciting as the main event itself, and certainly adds to the glory at the end of the waiting time. It also strikes me that waiting in anticipation creates the right mood for contemplating the feast of Christmas.

During any pregnancy there is the feeling of anticipation, but how much more was there for the birth of the Messiah?! The Jews had been anticipating His arrival for almost 2000 years! “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” – Isaiah 7:14

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Each night for a week we will stir the fruit to make sure it all gets a good soaking. Then we will stir it once a week until Stir up Sunday. By that time it will have soaked up enough Rum and Brandy to warrant living in it’s own drinks cabinet.

I love Christmas!