As the winter nights draw in, we start thinking of Christmas. And if your thinking of making your own Christmas cake we have an easy but delicious recipe for you. It doesn’t need feeding (never understood why its called feeding when all you’re doing is plying it with booze), but it doesn’t hurt if you want to add a bit more Christmas spirit in the run up to the dig day.
For the cake
- 250g softened butter
- 250g light soft brown sugar
- 250g sultanas
- 250g seedless raisins
- 250g currants
- 60g ground almonds
- 125g diced mixed peel
- 125g glace cherries
- 3 large eggs
- 50ml sherry (or apple juice if you want to make this alcohol free)
- 1 very heaped tablespoon golden syrup
- 250g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
For the icing (optional)
But you wont need this until closer to Christmas and after youve finished feeding the cake.
- 100g of shredless marmalade or smooth (no chunks) apricot jam
- Pack of ready rolled marzipan
- Pack of ready rolled fondant icing
- Any decorations you want to add
- A large mixing bowl
- Two smaller mixing bowls and a little bowl for the cherries and the Marmalade/jam
- A jug
- A 20cm / 8 inch cake tin
- Greaseproof paper
- Thick brown paper, cut into 4 pieces about 2 inches bigger than the base of your cake tin.
- Baking sheet
- A skewer
- A cooling rack
- Pastry brush
- Syitably sized cake board
- Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale.
- In a separate bowl mix together the flour, ground almonds and spices.
- Wash the sultanas, raisins and currants and place in a third bowl together with the chopped mixed peel.
- Rinse and dry the cherries. Place in a small bowl and dust with a little flour (to stop them sinking in the cake).
- In a jug, mix the eggs, golden syrup and sherry (or apple juice).
- Line the base and sides of a 20cm / 8inch cake tin with a double layer of greased greaseproof paper, having greased the tin first. Make sure the paper which lines the sides stands 7cm above the rim of the tin.
- To ensure the cake does not have a hard base, line a baking sheet with 4 layers of thick brown paper.
- Preheat your oven to 165C / 145C fan / gas mark 3 / 325F.
- Add a handful (or large spoonful) of the flour to the creamed butter and sugar. Then add a small amount of the egg mixture and a handful of the fruit mixture and work together well, ideally with your hands (but you could do it with a wooden spoon if you don’t fancy the idea of getting your hands messy).
- Repeat this process until all the ingredients are well mixed, then finally add the cherries and mix again.
- Put the mixture in the prepared tin and flatten down evenly.
- Place the cake tin on the prepared baking sheet and put into your preheated oven for 1 hour.
- Reduce the heat to 150C / 130 fan / gas mark 2 / 300F and cook for a second hour.
- Cover with a little hat of greaseproof paper and bake for a third hour.
- Remove from the oven and check it is cooked properly by inserting a skewer – the skewer should be clean when removed.
- Trim the greaseproof paper back to the level of the tin’s rim and place on a cooling wire upside down still in its tin.
- Leave until completely cold (ideally the next day).
- Slide the cake out, wrap securely with foil and store in a cake tin until Christmas.
This great tutorial shows you step by step how to apply marzipan and icing to a fruit cake.
- Put the marmalade or apricot jam into a small bowl and blast in the microwave for a few seconds until it is runny and can be brushed over the cake.
- Cover the top and sides of the cake in warmed shredless marmalade or apricot jam.
- Place the ready-rolled marzipan onto the cake and gently smooth down the sides. Trim off any excess. Lightly cover and leave for 1-2 days, ideally.
- Lightly brush the marzipan with water and place the ready-rolled icing on top of the cake. Gently smooth down the sides and trim off any excess.
- Decorate if desired.