The best ever Christmas Cake recipe.
Christmas isn’t Christmas without a proper traditional Christmas Cake. People often feel they can’t make them as they are complicated but they are actually one of the easiest cakes to make and something you can get the whole family involved in. Below is my recipe for the perfect Christmas Cake and a few frequently asked questions answered to help you along.
This Christmas cake recipe is one I have used for years and I’ve yet to try a recipe that is so delicious, and gives a moist cake, it is the best Christmas cake you will try, I only put in it good delicious ingredients so out with the tough mixed peel piled into shop bought cakes to bring down the price and fill them out and in comes fresh ingredients, brandy soaked fruits and fresh citrus zests.
This recipe makes a deep 6″ round cake or shallower 8″ round cake, i’m a big fan of the deep cake as I tend to go a little over the top with decoration up and around the sides. Christmas is the time to humour my little habits and the one time you can pile on the decoration and bling or in my husband’s opinion get tacky!
- 450g currants
- 175g sultanas
- 175g raisins
- 50g glace cherries
- 3 or more tablespoons of brandy (I like to go boozy to 4-5 plus one for the cook)
- 225g plain flour
- quarter teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- half teaspoon of mixed spice
- 225g salted butter
- 225g soft brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 50g ground almonds
- 1 level dessertspoon of black treacle
- zest of a lemon
- zest of an orange
Method – The key to this cake being moist, boozy and delicious is to prepare and soak your dried fruit in brandy at least 24 hours before baking, as the fruit absorbs the brandy it becomes juicy and plump.
- 24 hours or more before soak the sultanas, currants, raisins and cherries (halved) in the brandy, cover and stir occasionally
- The next day pre-heat your oven to 140c
- Line the base and sides of your tin with baking paper and wrap some around the outside of the tin secured with string, this will stop it burning during a long cooking process, you can also place a newspaper on the oven shelf then place your cake to bake on top to give the bottom extra protection.
- Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
- Add the beaten eggs a little at a time and beat, the mixture will split but as soon as you add the flour it all works out, don’t panic.
- Fold in the flour and spices.
- Add the black treacle and mix thoroughly.
- Grate the lemon & orange zest into the bowl containing the dried fruit.
- Add the ground almonds to the dried fruit and stir, this will coat the fruit and stop it sinking to the bottom.
- Add the fruit to the rest of the cake mixture and stir.
- Pour into your tin, it will look a lot of mixture but a fruitcake doesn’t rise much so the height it goes in the oven is pretty similar to end result.
- Half way through baking place a disc of baking paper on top to stop it burning.
- Cook for between 3.5-4 hours but is highly dependant on your oven.
- Once cool wrap in baking paper then in a double layer of foil and store in a dark cool place.
I usually make my Christmas cakes a couple of months before so that every 3-4 weeks I can give it a wee feed of Brandy and just check the quality of the Brandy myself, its a tough job but someone has to do it.
Over the weekend on my step by step tutorial I received several questions, so i’ll answer a few below.
Q – Can I use other types of alcohol to soak my fruit?
A – Yes of course, Rum and Sherry work just as well and if you don’t want a boozy cake, soak your fruit in Earl Grey Tea.
Q – Do you line your tin with a double layer of baking paper?
A – Yes I do, I put 2 circles of baking paper on the bottom of the tin, a folded sheet around the edges inside the tin and brown paper or newspaper around the outside of the tin and tie with string.
Q – Can you make a gluten free option?
A – I simply substitute the plain flour for a gluten free flour.
Q – My Christmas cakes are often dry, I feed it a good 4 or 5 times?
A – First of all soak your fruits for 24 hours before baking, then I only ever feed a maximum of twice, it’s true adding alcohol and feeding the cake makes it moist but adding too much has the opposite effect and dries it out.