Christmas cakes have earned a bad reputation for being “rock hard”, chewy, boozy, and dry. The truth is a good Christmas Cake should be delicious, dense, light and rich… all at the same time. This recipe is one that we have tweaked (and perfected) over several years, and is a combination of a few recipes (plus a sprinkling of trial and error!).
Don’t be intimidated by making your own Christmas cake, it is super easy and well worth the effort! November is the prefect time of year to prepare your Christmas Cake. Traditionally you can prepare you Christmas Cake up to 3 months in advance, so as to allow it time to rest and develop the rich complex flavours of a masterful fruit cake. Take note… Christmas cake that hasn’t been allowed to mature isn’t that great, it really does need time for the ingredients and flavours to infuse.
To store a fresh Christmas cake – wrap it tightly in a layer of baking paper, and then wrap it in foil and store it in an airtight container or tin. Most people “feed” the cake occasionally by brushing the cake with a few tablespoons of brandy, whiskey or bourbon; but our secret is to soak the fruit overnight in a “lot” of brandy, this means that you very rarely have to feed the cake before Christmas, as it remains moist and yummy – this safe-guards against a strong alcohol taste in the cake – as the raw alcohol dissipates during baking. The soaking also plumps up the dried fruit so that it remains moist in the cake, and not dry and chewy!
- 400g currants
- 220g sultanas
- 220g raisins
- 70g glace cherries (rinsed, some chopped and some left whole)
- 55g candied, mixed citrus peel
- 1 – 2 cups brandy
- 225g cake flour
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. grated/ ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground allspice
- 225g unsalted butter
- 225g dark brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 Tbs. molasses/treacle
Step 1: Get the cherries, fruit and citrus peel drunk – allow the fruit to soak overnight in the brandy so that they plump up.
Step 2: Line a 20 – 25cm deep round tin with baking a double layer of baking paper. It is important that you line the tin, as the cake will cook for a long time, and the lining will prevent the sides of the cake from burning. One could also use a good quality silicone cake mould instead.
Step 3: Cream together the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy. Beat the eggs and add a little at a time to the butter mixture, beating well after each addition. In separate bowl, sieve the flour, salt and spices; fold into the butter mixture. Add the drunken fruit and treacle to the mixture; stir the ingredients until they are well combined. Spoon the mixture into the lined cake tin.
Step 4: Bake the cake on the low shelf in the oven, at 140°C for approximately 4 – 4 ½ hours. Let the cake cool in the tin for at least an hour.
Step 5: Wrap the cooled cake in baking paper and foil and place in an airtight tin. Feed the cake with additional brandy if you prefer a boozy cake, or if your cake dries out during storage.
When the cake is ready to be revealed and eaten during the Christmas season, it is traditionally decorated using almond marzipan and fondant icing. We rolled out Nicoletta Ready-to-Roll White Fondant and Nicoletta Almond Marzipan and cut out stars in order to simply, yet elegantly, decorate our magnificent Christmas cake.