Scarily, Christmas is 8 weeks away and I’m late making my Christmas Cake this year! I normally make a very traditional fruit cake which I also use in Wedding cakes. It’s one of those recipes that I can rely on every time and tastes better the longer you leave it to mature. The longest I’ve left one was around 14 months! It was the top tier of our Wedding cake, and I kept it so that I could decorate it for our first Wedding anniversary….well I then found out I was pregnant, so kept the cake and decorated it for my daughter’s first birthday! So long as you wrap it well you can keep it in a cool, dark place or you can of course freeze it.
Here is the recipe for my traditional fruit cake. If you fancy something a little alternative, then take a look at my Alternative Christmas Cake post on the blog.
Beca’s Traditional Christmas Fruit Cake
Makes one deep 6inch round cake.
- 150g each of dried Cranberries, Currants, Sultanas and Raisins
- 45g Candied or Mixed Peel
- 75g Glace/Candied Cherries
- 4-5 tbsp Brandy, Rum, Sherry – whatever you fancy!
- 1 tbsp Treacle
- Zest of a Lemon and an Orange
- Juice of ½ an Orange
- 175g Unsalted Butter
- 175g Dark Soft Brown Sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 175g Plain Flour
- ¾ tsp Mixed Spice
- ½ tsp Ground Nutmeg
- ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 25g Ground Almonds
- 40g Flaked Almonds
Preheat oven to gas mark 2/130(fan)/150 Celsius. Grease and line your deep 6inch cake tin with two layers of greaseproof, making sure that the paper comes up higher than the height of the tin by at least an inch. I don’t tend to wrap this size tin in newspaper on the outside as it’s only in the oven for 3 ½ hours and shouldn’t burn. Put the tin to one side whilst you make the mixture.
You can soak the dried fruit in the brandy and orange juice overnight if you like, but if you forget then don’t panic! Place all the dried fruit in a bowl and add the brandy, orange juice, zest and treacle. Give it a good stir and put to one side until you need it. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light in colour. Gradually add the eggs with the flour and spices until thoroughly combined. Add the ground and slivered almonds along with the fruit and brandy mixture. Give the whole mixture a good stir. We tend to get everyone in the house to stir the cake at this point and then pack the whole mixture into the cake tin. It may look like it won’t fit, but have faith – it will! Make sure you press the mixture down as you’re filling the tin, ensuring there are no air holes. Smooth the top and then lightly cover the cake with a round of greased greaseproof paper with a small hole in the middle for you to test late with a skewer.
Put in the oven on the middle shelf and bake for 3-3 ½ hours, depending on how good your oven is! The cake is ready when an inserted skewer comes out clean. Once baked, remove the cake and leave to rest on a cooling rack. I tend to bake the cake in the afternoon and leave it to cool under a tea towel over night. Once completely cool, gently remove from the tin and give it a feed of brandy, around 1-2 tbsp should do the trick. Wrap the cake in double greaseproof paper and then double foil and place in a tin, the cake will ‘sweat’ in a plastic Tupperware box. Keep somewhere cool and feed it regularly. I tend make the cake at least 3 months ahead of the big day, just so that it has longer to mature and take on more brandy!
Decorate the cake to suit your style and age group. I always marzipan and ice the cake ahead of adding any decorations.
Here’s my cake from Christmas 2013, a sweet little Christmas fireplace scene.