Christmas is a time of tradition where we gather as families and celebrate. But it is also perhaps one of the moments that loss is highlighted most intensely and although happy memories of the past can help fill the gap the death of a loved one leaves behind, personally I find that grief is embedded in the daily celebrations and the fairly recent loss of both my parents is profound. However it is my mother that I miss the most at this time as year, as Christmas along with all its' preparations, from decorations, present wrapping, shopping to the provision of food was very much her domaine.
After my mothers death four years ago we found an old recipe for a Christmas cake that had been hand written by her in December 1960 and used the following two years. The 1961 bake was exactly one month before my birth and was the moment my parents moved into the house where I was born, the house that for the next twenty years was the family home. What struck me most about this handwritten recipe is not only the fact that mum was attempting a bake a cake whilst moving into a dilapidated victorian house and eight months pregnant, but also the incredibly methodical way in which it had been recorded. Beside each ingredient, she wrote the exact cost in old shillings and pence. It cost exactly £1! A fine example of good house keeping from a bygone age.
I was thrilled to find this souvenir from over fifty years ago and decided it would be a wonderful way to remember my mum by baking the same cake at the same time of year .
It was a really cathartic experience and one I shared with my twenty five year old daughter who also found the baking healing and great way to remember her grandmother. It is now the second year on the run that we've made this cake together and I wanted to share both the idea and recipe with you. It has definitely helped me cope with the grief of missing my mother in a positive way and provides a wonderful cake into the bargain. The only down side is when you calculate the cost of the same ingredients in 2017!
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