My Greek Christmas: Part I. Inspiration; getting started. The Christmas Cake.

Getting into the spirit of things
Getting into the spirit of things

Christmas cake is just yummy, but not according to my family, they hate it, funny lot aren’t they?

There is a possibility that my daughter may like it, but how would she know?
 It’s one of the many things she hates without ever having tasted; she discovered she liked mayonnaise at the ripe old age of twenty five!

My son picks off all the marzipan and icing, the only part he likes, leaving it to look like a plucked chicken.

MGG (My Greek God) will eat anything when he has enough of the Christmas spirit down him!

MGG's Christmas spirit
MGG's Christmas spirit

So, because of my families little quirks and the knowledge that if I make a Christmas cake, it will be devoured only by me, I haven’t made one for about ten years.

For the last few Christmases we've made do with a small rectangle bought in a supermarket, some, I must admit, are not bad, but they do have that “Shop-bought” after-taste.

Christmas cake
When you can't be bothered to bake your own Christmas cake.

This year was to be no different, until I heard that my good friend Jan was baking a Christmas cake, and saw a picture of her having a jolly good time in the process!

I was inspired, this year, I shall bake a Christmas cake, who cares if I eat it all myself?

My pal Jan
My good pal Jan, just having a quick slurp while waiting for her Christmas cake to come out of the oven.
 Thanks for the inspiration Jan, thanks to you, the Athanasakos clan will be eating real, homemade Christmas cake this year! At least I will be!
Yamas,  have the merriest of Christmases.
By the way, Jan, are you wearing a Christmas jumper?

Out came the recipe books, by sheer coincidence, I decided on the recipe that Jan later suggested to me.

 My collection of cake tins leaves much to be desired, I never seem to have the correct size or shape for the recipe. This could very well account for many of my disasters.

This year things were going to be done by the book, which meant buying a cake tin, I decided on square, much easier to cut a square Christmas cake.

Why is nothing ever easy?

Did they have the cake tin I wanted in my local supermarket?
Well yes, they did, one with an extortionate price tag, which immediately set me off on the “I’m not paying that” rant.

Izzy cake tin
The "I'm not paying that" extortionately-priced cake tin that I now own

Now, I must mention here that I don’t like super markets, never go in them if I can help it, even worse, is IKEA, not set foot in there for all of ten years or so.

A place called Jumbo, though, the Greek version of “Toys are us” which, strangely enough sells cake tins, takes the biscuit, and, because of various needs of my daughter, I had already been there twice this year. Looks like there was going to be a third time.

This is the sacrifice I made for my Christmas cake.

Of course, they didn’t have a cake tin that fit my requirements, but I did buy a sweet little cupcake Christmas tree decoration for my granddaughter, whose only aim in life is for me to bake cupcakes with her, not any other cake you understand, only cupcakes.

Cupcake xmas  trimming
Cupcake for Mel

I’m sure at some point in the future we shall suffer the effects of the lurid, toxic-looking food colourings that she demands we use.

Whilst mooching around Jumbo, I spotted some sensibly sized paper bun cases, up until now, we had been using some humongous ones that said granddaughter chose herself, and I, not wanting to risk a tantrum in the middle of the supermarket, bought for her.

Mel and her cupcakes
Mel and her cupcakes

I cannot convey to you the amount of butter cream needed to decorate the giant cupcakes that emerge from these bun cases.

bun cases
Just look at the difference in size!
 We had been baking cupcakes fit for giants!

Also bought was an advent calendar, her first, depicting, surprise, surprise, Disney’s "Frozen."
It will be rather interesting to see what we will have to bribe her with, to ensure she opens only one little window a day.
Best bet is probably to tell her that Santa won’t visit if she opens more than one window a day!

advent calender
Let's see how much self-restraint a three and a half year old can muster up.

Back to the cake, or rather, back to the supermarket to buy extortionately priced cake tin, I won’t tell you the price, MGG won’t like it!

Home, finally, I can get started, but no, wait, isn’t there something about soaking the fruit in brandy for three days?

Yes, after checking the internet, this is recommended, but was not mentioned in my recipe.

Christmas cake
Fruit soaking in brandy.
To be left for three days, stirring occasionally.

Fruit now soaking in brandy for three days, I am so pleased about this three day soaking palaver, I will tell you why in “Christmas: Part II”

By the way, just look at this beauty, Jan’s Christmas cake, hope mine turns out as well as this.

Jan's Christmas Cake
Jan's amazing looking Christmas cake....inspiring!

 This morning Jan said to me she was a bit worried that she might have put too much brandy in the fruit, Jan darling, you can never have too much brandy, and thanks so much for inspiring me, this Christmas, thanks to you, we are to have a proper home-made Christmas cake.

To be continued.

See Christmas  Part II HERE

See Christmas Part III HERE

See Christmas Part IV, the finale HERE

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