Christmas Cake

christmas cake recipe fruit cake nuts Xmas

This is my mum’s Christmas cake recipe, and it makes the best Christmas cake you’ve ever tried, even if you don’t like fruit cake (which is something lots of people say, and I will never understand why). I know lots of people ‘feed’ their fruit cakes and let them mature in the weeks coming up to Christmas, this isn’t one of those cakes. I fully advise you make this cake a few weeks before Christmas (now basically), because it definitely tastes better that way, but there’s no need to add any booze to it, just wrap it in foil and store it in a cool dark place until you’re ready to decorate it. Although, that isn’t to say this cake is short of booze. The fruit is soaked in brandy over night, my family tradition is to use a bottle of Mataxa 7 that my parents bought well over a decade ago….possibly two (my parents aren’t brandy drinkers, in fact I’m pretty sure  we only use brandy for making fruit cakes and setting light to Christmas puddings). Because this cake isn’t fed, it’s texture isn’t too crumbly, you get a nice firm slice of fruit cake, and whilst dark and full of flavour, it isn’t too rich, you can still taste the fruit and the spices. Usually my mum marzipans the cake and ices it a few weeks later,  the cake pictured was last year’s, when I managed to convinced her to go for a more Victorian approach, with toasted and glazed mixed nuts instead of icing. I have to say it’s great both ways, and the nuts are a great alternative for those who aren’t fussed on marzipan and royal icing. This really is a taste of Christmas at home for me.

Ingredients

  • 350g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 500g currants
  • 500g sultanas
  • 500g seeded raisins
  • 100g dates / figs / prunes (pitted and chopped)
  • 50g glacé cherries
  • 50g chopped mixed candied peel
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
  • 5 tablespoons brandy
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 225g soft brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black treacle
  • 5 large eggs, beaten

THE DAY BEFORE: Soak all of the dried fruit (excluding the peel and the cherries) in the brandy overnight. If you don’t want to use brandy you can substitute with sherry, or if you want to go the non-alcoholic rout, you can use tea or fruit juice (e.g. cranberry or apple juice).

PREHEAT OVEN TO 16O˚C & GREASE AND LINE A 9INCH ROUND DEEP CAKE TIN

  1. Sift the flour with the dried spices
  2. Add the brandy-soaked fruit, the fruity-brandy-liquid, the cherries and the mixed peel to the dry ingredients
  3. Add the milk
  4. In a separate bowl cream together the butter and sugar, beat in the treacle, and then gradually add the eggs, mixing throughout
  5. Fold in the flour and fruit mixture
  6. Transfer the cake mixture into the lined tin (if you want to use a square tin this recipe will make an 8inch square cake)
  7. Bake the cake for 1 hour at 160˚C, then reduce the oven to 140˚C and bake for a further 2-3 hours, until a metal skewer comes out clean
  8. Allow to cool on a wire rack, once cooled wrap well in foil and keep in a sealed container. If going for marzipan and icing, marzipan the cake a week before christmas, leave to harden overnight and then ice with royal icing the next day. If you prefer the more Victorian look, a few days before christmas, toast a selection of nuts in the oven for a few minutes. Simultaneously heat few tablespoons of apricot jam in a saucepan on low heat. Coat the cake with the jam before arranging the toasted nuts on top of the cake and glazing with a little more jam. Allow to set.

 

 

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