Christmas cake recipe

Christmas cake

The making of the Christmas Cake

So the Christmas flood gate was opened when I made the Christmas Apple & Cranberry Chutney a couple of weeks ago, amazingly I have managed to hold on until November (only just!) to make our cake. With Halloween now out of the way nothing is stopping me from getting into the festive sprit :-)

I can honestly say making the Christmas cake is one of my favourite activities of the year; you have a little prep, a lot of family stirring followed by a most wonderful smell throughout the house. Then of course you have the wait while you drip-feed it brandy, allowing the flavours to mature. On the run up to Christmas it’s time for its final spruce up with a few decorations before you are finally able to cut a slice and take your first bite.

It can be hard to choose a Christmas cake recipe as there are so many available, all with variations on approach, for example, do you boil or soak your fruit, what do you soak it in? sherry, brandy, tea or maybe orange juice? The list goes on…

Hopefully I can help you to take away some of the mystery with this recipe. I know I have made our cake very early but you can still make this up to a couple of weeks before Christmas. Just give a couple of weeks of feeding to help the flavours and texture along…

Christmas cake ingredients:

  • 500g mixed fruit, I used large raisins, sultanas, golden raisins and cranberries
  • 150ml brandy or orange juice. Alternatively use a mix of the two.
  • 125g softened butter
  • 125g soft brown sugar (dark or light is fine)
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 2 tablespoons treacle
  • 170g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 100g ground almonds
  • Zest of a lemon and orange
  • 2 tablespoons of brandy or orange juice

A few special requirements

  • 20 cm round cake tin. Spring loaded tins are the easiest.
  • Greaseproof paper
  • String

A day or two before hand:

It’s important to soak your fruit in advance; this will help to keep the cake moist after baking. Place all your dried fruit in a bowl and add the 150ml of brandy or orange juice. As the kids will eat the cake I use a 50:50 combination of the two. Cover and set aside at least overnight. My plans did change so it sat for a couple of days before I managed to make the cake but this really doesn’t matter, what’s important is that all the liquid has been absorbed.

 

Making your Christmas cake

1. Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees.

2. Lining your tin.
It’s really important to give your cake an extra bit of protection when in the oven.
I recommend cutting 2 circles of greaseproof paper the same size of your tin. One to cover the bottom of the tin and a spare to place on top of the cake after about an hour of cooking.
Cut a strip of paper the same depth as your tin to line the inside edges. Then a deeper strip of paper to tie round the outside of your tin with some string.

3. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. You can use either a free standing or hand-held whisk.

4. Lightly whisk your eggs together and slowly mix into the creamed butter mixture.

5. Add your flour, ground almonds, treacle, zest, spices and baking powder and stir until all combined and smooth. This is our favourite step as everyone gets involved to stir in their christmas wish.

6. Finally gently stir in your plump fruit.

7. Place the mixture into the tin. To try and keep a flat top when cooked, place a slight dip into the middle of the cake mixture before cooking.

8. Wrap the extra layer of paper round the outside of the tin and secure with string.

9. Place on a baking sheet and cook for an hour, cover the top with the second circle of greaseproof just to stop the top catching.

10. Continue to bake for another half hour (1h30m total) or until the skewer comes out clean.  It’s tradition in our household to watch our first festive film of the season whilst cooking, Love Actually being my favourite but the kids normally overrule me with The Grinch or something similar.

11. Loosen the tin and let is cool; enjoy the amazing smell in your kitchen.  I wish I could bottle it!

12. Once cooled, pour the 2 tablespoons of brandy or orange juice over the top of the cake and allow to soak in. Then wrap tightly and store in an air tight container.

13. Your cake will get hungry so feed it!  Every 7 to 10 days unwrap your lovely cake and feed it with 2 tablespoons of brandy or orange juice. Let it soak in and carefully wrap the cake back up for storing.

Now your final decision will be now to decorate it, you could opt for the traditional marzipan and icing or layer on nuts and fruit glazed with warm apricot jam? But we will save that discussion for another day…

The baker. Some may say a jumping bean…. definitely never short on energy. Gemma loves to cook and can normally be found whipping up a culinary delight in the kitchen or deep in the veg patch.

3 Comments

  1. Matt 3 years ago

    Gems has just fed the Christmas cake…it smells so good I don’t think it will make it until Christmas!!!

    • Author
      Gemma 3 years ago

      Mitts off Chapple!!

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