How early do you make your Christmas cake? Do you use Brandy or sherry? How often do you ‘feed’ your cake? Do you prefer royal icing or fondant icing? Do you boil your fruit, soak it, or add it straight into the mixture? There are so many variations, it can sometime be bewildering!
Here is our fail safe recipe for the most delicious Christmas fruit cake!
Christmas Fruit Cake
Makes a 23cm / 9″cake
115g Glace cherries
55g Chopped mixed peel
225g Soft Light Brown Sugar
285g Plain Flour
2 Teaspoons Ground Mixed Spice
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 Tablespoons black treacle
115g Ground Almonds
Heat the oven to 150°C Fan. Line the base and sides of a 23cm round cake tin with a double layer of bakin parchment. Wrap a thick layer of newspaper around the outside of the tin. Staple the newspaper together to make it stay in place.
Cut up the cherries and mix with the other dried fruit.
Cream the butter in a large mixing bowl until soft. Add the sugar and beat together until light and fluffy
Add the eggs gradually, beating well after each addition. Add 1 teaspoon of the flour if necessary , to prevent the mixture from curdling.
Fold in the flour, mixed spice, lemon zest, treacle and sherry, using a large metal spoon.
Stir in the ground almonds and the fruit.
Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and make a deep hollow in the centre to counteract any tendency to rise in the middle.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 2 1/2 hours or until a sharp knife or skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely in the tin before turning out.
The frequency of “feeding” is a matter of personal preference. You don’t want to swamp the cake with liquid so we suggest an initial feeding once the cake has cooled in its tin and then feeding at convenient intervals after that. If you are feeding weekly then 1-2 tablespoons alcohol per feeding should be enough. It helps to poke holes in the top of the cake with a skewer before feeding it, to encourage the liquor to soak into the cake. Make sure that you re-wrap the cake tightly after each feeding.
To finish, add a layer of marzipan and then a layer of fondant icing or royal icing depending on your preference!
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