There are some times when it’s a bit to early to use the ‘C’ word, but when it comes to making a Christmas cake it’s good to be organised! Last year, my Mum gave me the recipe card for our family Christmas cake. It was from Family Circle back in the day and has the amounts for various sizes of square and circular tins, so it’s pretty handy. I was so excited to make it! I was pregnant at the time and having a break from my blog, which is why the recipe has only just made it here this year. Now it’s that time again when I’m starting to think about making one for this Christmas. I fed this cake with brandy 2-3 times before adding the marzipan and icing, which I made without egg whites last year. We love this recipe and I hope you will too!
(for a 15cm /6″ round cake tin)
225g (8oz) sultanas
225g (8oz) currants
225g (8oz) raisins
50g (2oz) Glace cherries, chopped
50g (2oz) candied peel, chopped
50g (2oz) chopped almonds (chop up some blanched almonds if you can’t find them ready-chopped)
225g (8oz) plain flour
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
150g (6oz) butter
150g (6oz) soft dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
To prepare the tin
Cut a double thickness strip of greaseproof paper to fit around the sides of the tin, and stand 5cm (2″) higher than the rim. Make a 2.5cm (1″) fold along the lower edge, and then snip from the edge to the fold along the lower edge at 1cm (1/2″) intervals all the way along. Grease the tin and then insert the strip around the sides, pressing the snipped pieces flat onto the bottom of the tin. Press paper agains the sides. Cut a double thickness of greaseproof paper to fit the base of the tin and grease lightly.
1. Preheat the oven to 140 (120 Fan)/Gas mark 1. Measure the dried fruit, cherries, peel and almonds and put them in a large bowl. Sift the flour and spices over the top and mix well.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy – you can use an electric mixer if you have one.
3. Beat the eggs together and add a little at a time to the creamed mixture, alternating with the fruit and flour mix. Beat well between each addition.
4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, spreading it carefully and firmly into the corners.
5. To protect the cake whilst baking, tie several thicknesses of newspaper around the outside of the cake tin with string. Stand a roasting tin of water at the bottom of the oven during cooking to keep your cake moist.
6. Bake for 3 hours, and remove from the oven when a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. It may take a little longer, depending on your oven.
7. Cool in the tin for an hour, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Store it in an air tight tin in a cool, dark place.
Finishing your Christmas cake
I usually marzipan and ice our Christmas cake a couple of weeks before the big day. This leaves chance for me to feed it some brandy beforehand! Last year I fed it in 2-week intervals, with 1 tbsp of brandy each time. You can feed it as much or as little as you prefer – I don’t like it to be overwhelmed by the alcohol. Leave your cake in the tin for 2 weeks after baking before adding the marzipan and icing. You’ll need some warmed up apricot jam to stick the marzipan to your cake.
The standard way to ice a Christmas cake is to use Royal icing – click here for a recipe. I couldn’t use that last year because Royal icing contains egg whites, so I made a very thick water icing with a splash of lemon juice. If the icing doesn’t have snowy peaks, then it isn’t a traditional Christmas cake as far as I’m concerned!
I didn’t get any good photos of the finished cake last year, so this post will be updated in a few weeks so you can see the finished Christmas cake. You may want to try out some of my other festive recipes and crafty projects below too! 🙂