Stir up Sunday - Wikipedia tells me that the name comes from the collect in the Book of Common Prayer which is read on the last Sunday before advent, I associate it with The Archers where I first heard the term in relation to baking. It’s also the traditional day to make Christmas pudding and mincemeat, and if it doesn’t need a long time to mature it’s also a good day to make your Christmas cake.
Coincidentally I did make my first Christmas cake yesterday, but only discovered the synchronicity with the dates afterwards, it’s going in my diary for next year (just so I know). If the cake is good it’ll become a fixture and I have to admit that it’s really going to test my patience waiting another 5 weeks to see if it’s any good. I have an inkling that it will be acceptable because the top got a bit crispy and I decided to slice it off and in the process I tried a little bit. The recipe used was the Dan Lepard I’ve been sitting on for the last year and if nothing else it’s made my flat smell amazing.
I didn’t make the cake in my new toy – I wanted a bigger bowl and it’s not a recipe that calls for much mixing bar the folding in of the fruit and – well it just seemed more appropriate to do it by hand. However the Scottish one has been encouraging me to use the Kitchen Aid (part of me still thinks I should have waited but it was a part easy to ignore) and so I thought perhaps I should. So I did and made another Lepard cake – Hazelnut and Prune – there’s a link to it on the Christmas cake page. It’s pretty good but calls for quite a lot of nutmeg which I will halve next time because currently I feel it tastes a bit virtuous and a little unbalanced; which is as much a reflection on my heavy handedness as anything else – I may have erred on the side of excess.
The hazelnut and prune effort went through the mixer which was extremely satisfying, so satisfying that I felt I had to bake something else and so opted for the Gugelhupf recipe in ‘Tanta Hertha’s Viennese Kitchen’. It’s turned out well but I’m not sure it’s for me (hard to tell at the moment because I burnt my mouth on a very hot piece of lamb stew and everything tastes a bit off). This version doesn’t use alcohol which might add a bit of richness – instead its lemon and almond based and perhaps a bit subtle for someone geared up to Lebkuchen and heavier fruit cakes. I’ll keep eating it until I’m sure. I could probably have carried on baking all night but perhaps fortunately ran out of ingredients. I love my new Kitchen aid.