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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1593

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Ingredients.—3½ lbs. of the finest flour, 3 lbs. of fresh butter, 7½ lbs. of currants, 3 lbs. of raw sugar, 2 grated nutmegs, ¼ of an oz. of mace, ¾ of an oz. of cloves, 24 eggs, 1 lb. of sweet whole blanched almonds, ½ a lb. of candied citron, ¾ of a lb. each of candied orange- and lemon-peel, 1 gill of wine, 1 gill of brandy.

Method.—Take some good strong household flour and rub it through a fine sieve on to a sheet of paper. Well wash, dry and pick the currants free from stones and sprigs, and lay them on the table ready for use. Blanch the almonds, shred the peel very fine, and mix it with the currants. Break the eggs, taking especial care to eliminate any that are bad or musty, and put them into a clean basin. Weigh the sugar and roll it on the table with a rolling-pin to break up all lumps; put it in a large pan, add the butter and all the spices in fine powder, and proceed to beat the mixture up to a light cream with the hand; add the eggs 2 at a time, allowing an interval of at least 5 minutes between each addition of eggs, beating as hard as possible all the time. When all the eggs have been put in, mix in the fruit and peel, and last of all add the flour, with the wine and spirits. When thoroughly well mixed, put it out into well papered hoops and press it down in the centre with the back of the hand, set it into a cool oven and bake for about 6 hours. This recipe will make about 24 lbs. of cake, but if a fairly large oven is not available, it would be better not to bake the whole of this quantity in one hoop, or it will not make a very satisfactory cake, as the top and sides will be burnt and dried before the cake can be properly cooked. It would therefore be preferable to divide it into 2 or more smaller cakes. To ascertain if the cake is properly cooked, test it with a clean skewer or larding needle, taking care that the skewer is perfectly clean and dry; plunge it lightly into the centre of the cake, and if done the skewer will come out perfectly clean. On the other hand, according to the quantity and condition of the paste which adheres to the skewer the identical state of its rawness can be estimated, and individual judgment must determine how much longer it will require in the oven. As these cakes are better for keeping, it is advisable to make and bake them at least 3 months before they are required. If this is done, the best way to keep them is to strip off all the paper they were baked in, and then to wrap up each cake in a large sheet of rice parchment or wax paper, then wrap it up in several thicknesses of clean newspaper, pack away in a tin or airtight box, and stow away in a dry cool place.

Wedding or Bride's Cakes are thickly encrusted with almond icing (No. 3459), and then iced over with icing No. 3463, and when dry are decorated with piping, silver leaves, artificial flowers and gum paste ornaments. Where something special is desired, natural flowers are used for decoration.

Time.—To bake, 5 to 6 hours. Average Cost, 2s. per pound.