I tended to my friend Shelagh's Christmas cake as best I could for the month left to me after I'd neglected it for three weeks.
(Read about that in my Field Notes column of November 26, http://www.fieldnotescumberland.blogspot.ca/2014/11/how-to-kill-christmas-cake.html )
The grand unveiling was Christmas Eve and I am pleased (and relieved) to say the cake turned out: dark and moist and fruitfully strong in taste. Not having Shelagh's grandmother's fruitcake -- the original amazing creation -- to compare it to, we think Shelagh's, with a little help from me (and I mean a little), is quite delicious.
"The more you eat, the better it tastes," my husband declared as he noshed piece number three. After the first few slices, I realized I was cutting it wrong and it looked a lot better after I figured out what Shelagh meant by 'fingers'. Not having sprinkled it with brandy for long enough (I know, I know), it was likely a bit more crumbly than Shelagh would like but the crumbs were delicious too.
A few hours later, I presented my in-laws, who grew up eating Christmas cake made by my husband's grandmother,with a plateful of slices and they declared it delicious and familiar. Nothing like living up to the example set by both Nan and Gran. I suspect my father-in-law had a few pieces for breakfast.
So, Shelagh, dearest, I declare myself redeemed and delighted and hopefully will be on the receiving end of another small chunk of your Nan's Christmas cake next year. After all, I still have most of the sherry leftover.