I know plenty of people get frustrated by the fact that Christmas seems to start earlier and earlier each year – I saw my first Christmas puddings sitting on a store shelf in September! For me, it can’t come soon enough and my Christmas starts with this cake! You can make it up to 6 weeks before you’re intending to eat it, so I always make it 6 weeks before Christmas Day! I’ve made it half a dozen times now, but I always still get a charge of excitement when I’m putting all the ingredients together!
This is a completely selfish Christmas Cake recipe. It might be a strange quirk, but I’m not a fan of glace cherries and I prefer my fruit cake without nuts. So this recipe is my own perfect version, tried and tested. If you’re like me and like a fruit dense cake, then you’ll love this. This is the un-iced version (and it’s a suitably moist and sweet that it’s delicious without icing) but if you want the traditional version then feel free to ice it (and I’ll add that recipe at a later date!)
- 10½ ounces / 300g raisins
- 3½ ounces / 100g sultanas
- 3½ ounces / 100g currants
- 2½ ounces / 75g dried cranberries
- 2½ ounces / 75g dried cherries
- 1¾ ounces / 50g dried chopped dates
- 8¾ fluid ounces / 250ml brandy plus 2 tablespoons of brandy
- 5¼ ounces / 150g butter, softened
- 3½ ounces / 100g dark brown muscovado
- zest of 2 lemons
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon of black treacle
- ¼ teaspoon of almond paste
- 5¼ ounces / 150g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon of ginger
- ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
- 3½ ounces / 100g ground almonds
Place all the dried fruit and brandy into a medium sized pan and heat until it’s just starting to bubble. Then remove from the heat, give a good stir and leave to cool.
Once cooled, give another good stir, cover and leave for 24 hours (giving a stir every few hours to make sure all the fruit gets a good dose of brandy).
When you’re ready to make the cake, preheat the oven to 150°C / 302°F (130°C / 266°F fan) and double line a 7 inch / 17-18cm round tin with baking parchment (making sure the paper comes up at least 3 inches / 7.5cm above the sides of the tin).
In a freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar before beating in the lemon zest.
Add the eggs, treacle and almond and combine well.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and ground almonds (I give them a good whisk).
Then, add a 1/3 of the brandy soaked fruit to the creamed butter and combine, followed by a 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Keep alternating and mixing until you’ve used up all of the fruit and dry ingredients.
Transfer to your cake tin, smooth the top with a spatula and cook in the oven for 1 hour and 55 minutes to 2 hours 15 minutes (dependent upon your oven) using a cake tester to check when it’s done.
Immediately after removing from the oven, make holes in the top using your cake tester and brush with a tablespoon of brandy.
Wrap (still in its tin) with tin foil and leave until completely cooled.
Once cool, brush with the final tablespoon of brandy, double wrap with foil and place in an airtight container.
Eat within 6 weeks.