Fancy making your Christmas cake from the contents of your cupboard this year? Well here you’ll find a very useful ‘formula’ to help you weigh out what you need along with a very easy method. Give it a go and save those half used packets of dried fruit and nuts from the bin – make them feel wanted and turn them into a glorious Christmas cake.
Beca’s DIY Christmas Fruit Cake
Makes one deep 6inch round cake.
- 600g Any dried fruit
- 4-5 tbsp Any booze (Brandy, Whisky, Rum, Sherry…)
- 1 tbsp Any syrup (Golden, Treacle, Honey, Agave, Ginger…)
- Zest of Any citrus fruit (1 Orange or 1 Grapefruit, or 1 ½ Lemons, or 2 Limes)
- Juice of Any Citrus (½ Orange or Grapefruit, 1 Lemon or Lime)
- 175g Butter
- 175g Brown Sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 175g Plain Flour
- 2 tsp of Any Spice
- 70g of Any Nuts
- Up to 60-70g of additional extras (ground nuts, desiccated/flaked coconut, stem ginger, mixed peel)
Preheat oven to gas mark 2/130(fan)/150 Celsius. Grease and line your deep 6inch cake tine 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 booze, citrus juice and syrup overnight if you like, but if you forget then don’t panic! Place all the dried fruit in a bowl and add the booze, citrus juice & zest and syrup. 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 your additional extras along with the fruit and booze 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 whatever booze was used, 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 dark 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 booze!
Here’s my the other Christmas cake I made, it has Prunes, Apricots, mixed peel, stem and crystallized ginger and hazelnuts.