This recipe is so easy and makes a large, delicious, moist Christmas cake – perfect for sharing with family or when guests come over.
This is a simple recipe, the most time consuming parts are soaking the fruits and baking the cake.
Even these parts can be reflective exercises in kitchen zen.
The rest, the actual mixing of the cake, is super easy.
Trust me! Making a Christmas cake is fun, satisfying and oh so worth it!
A homemade Christmas cake also makes a heartfelt, loving gift.
I make quite a few smaller cakes as gifts every year so always make lots of my luscious soaked fruit mixture.
“Gift wrap” your cakes in a tea towel that suits the recipient: festive, shabby, vintage. There are so many available, often in economical multi packs.
I usually soak the dried fruits in a mixture of port and brandy for a week or so but you can get away with an overnight soak.
This year I have made a very special spiced brandy to add to my cake. You can find the recipe HERE
If you prefer a rich fruit cake made without alcohol, you can soak your fruit in cold tea or fruit juice; prune, cranberry and/or orange work well or why not try my recipe for boiled fruit cake? You can find the recipe HERE and I guarantee you’ll be pleased with the results.
First some tips
- Soak the fruits in your choice of alcohol or tea/juice.
Soaking the dried fruits ensure a moist, rich, delicious cake. Your soaking liquid will infuse flavour right into each and every piece of fruit.
I usually use about 2 cups of alcohol in total, and this year will use my spiced brandy as well as some port.
You might choose rum, muscat, spiced rum, Cointreau, Grand marnier, Lochan Ora. Whatever your tastes and budget run to.
- Use butter for this recipe: margarine just won’t cut it this time.
- Brown sugar, preferably dark brown sugar, adds colour and flavour, but white can be used.
- Cocoa, just a bit, adds colour and flavour.
- Buy fresh spices for your lovely cake.
Ground spices lose most of their flavour within 3-6 months, those old bottle at the back of the cupboard will just taste a bit “dusty” and will lack the zing of fresh spice.
Nutmeg is easy to buy as the whole “nut” and grind on the fine side of the grater as you need it – you won’t believe the difference!
Before you make your cake, spend a little time preparing your cake tin. This cake needs to cook for a long time at a low temperature. Preparing the tin will work with this and prevent the cake from burning and/or drying out during the long cooking time.
Line a 21cm square tin with 3 layers of baking paper. I usually give the tin and each layer a little spray with the cooking spray so it sticks and doesn’t slide about.
Now put a double thickness collar of brown (craft/wrapping) paper around the outside of the tin. I staple it together but you can use string.
The brown paper doesn’t need to go on the base of the tin, just on the sides.
I just cut a long strip from the roll and folded it in half to make my double thickness.
Some other tips that I have found useful over the years.
This is the recipe for Your Perfect Christmas Cake
- 1kg mixed dried fruit of your choice. I used sultanas, currants, raisins, figs, dates,dried apricots, prunes, glace cherries.
You could add some glace fruit if you like, and mixed peel if you like it (I don’t)
I guess sultanas makes up about a quarter of the mix with the rest making up the weight.
- 150g chopped and toasted nuts. I used almonds (skins left on) and macadamia nuts.
You might choose walnuts, pecan, hazelnuts, brazil nuts. Peanuts don’t work for this cake.
- 250g butter
- 250g dark brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons of treacle (preferred) or golden syrup
- 2 tablespoons of good quality cocoa.
Do not use drinking chocolate mix.
You want a rich, quality cocoa powder. Cadbury is fine.
- 150g self-raising flour
- 150g plain flour
- the finely grated rind of 1 orange
- 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoons of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Pre-heat your oven to 150C / 250F – oven temps vary from oven to oven it seems.
Mine is not fan -forced and it’s also pretty old… 10 degrees either side of what I’ve recommended may be required.
This cake down require a low temp though so err on the side of caution.
- Using a stand mixer, (I used my Kenwood Chef with the K beater) cream the butter and sugar, along with the orange rind until it changes colour and becomes pale and fluffy
- Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs one at a time.
Don’t worry if the mixture goes a bit curdled looking – doesn’t matter, but do scrape down the bowl from time to time.
- Now add the soaked fruit, the treacle/golden syrup and the nuts and gently mix it all together on low speed.
- Sift the two flours together, along with the cocoa,spices and salt and fold them into the mix.
I just did this in the mixer on very low speed, some people prefer to do it by hand.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin.
Wet your hands and use them to smooth the top of the cake. It works perfectly every time.
- Here’s the fun bit!Squat on the floor and (carefully) drop the tin from a height of about 12 inches onto the ground.
It knocks out the air bubbles in the mix so there are no big holes in your cake. Of course, you can do this on the bench but it makes all my bench things and dishes move about and shake so I go to the floor
- To get the cake ready for the oven there is just one more step to complete.
Get a piece of baking paper to fit the top of the cake and cut a hole in the middle about the size of a rice cracker or very small cookie.
Put this over the cake mix for added protection.
It doesn’t matter if it sits on top of the actual cake mix.
- Put into your pre-heated oven and bake for approximately 3 hours.
Check after 2 1/2 hours to see how it’s going.
You can use a skewer or satay stick to test if it’s done. Poke the stick into the middle of the cake and if it comes out without wet mix on it it’s done.
- Cool the cake in the tin. Cover with a clean teatowel to trap in the steam and keep the cake moist.li>
- Turn out of the tin when cool.
Store by securely wrapping in baking paper and then foil
- This beautiful cake keeps for ages! We are usually still enjoying our cake in February
- You can “feed” your cake with alcohol if you fancy- just poke little holes in it with a toothpick and brush over your choice of alcohol.
Some people would make their cake in October and do this every week before Christmas!
Of course, if you use alcohol after the cake is cooked, the cake is no longer child friendly.
Most dedicated Christmas cooks would make their cakes in October or November so their cakes have time to develop their rich, complex flavour.
Like a fine wine, this cake improves with age.
As usual I’m late…
Never mind – this will still be a beautiful, scrumptious cake.
The sweetrosie Christmas cake tradition lives on! blockquote>
Till next time,