It’s that wonderful time of the year again – Christmas cake making time. I love the weekend I choose to make the annual Christmas cake. I allow time to slow down for one day and take my time baking, putting care and attention into this very special cake. For me, this marks the start of the festive season.
I’ve made it super before, as late as the 18th December, but this year I got in early as, you know, 2020! I always know it will not disappoint. The drizzle technique and soaked fruits will ensure a moist cake, that doesn’t need weeks of feeding! It is delicious, moist and so easy.
This is a recipe I have adapted from the Nigella Christmas book.
The Best Christmas Cake Recipe – Ingredients
- 350g Raisins
- 150g juicy sultanas
- 100g sour dried cherries
- 150ml brandy
- 50ml Amaretto
- 90g dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp satsuma zest
- 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 1 tbsp black treacle
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 1/2 tsp orange essence
- 150g butter (at room temperature)
- 150g plain flour
- 75g ground almonds
- 100g roughly chopped pecans
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 70ml brandy
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Juice of 1 satsuma
Prep >20mins cook> 1 1/2 – 2 hours
The night before. In a saucepan place the dried fruits, brandy and amaretto, bring to the boil, let cool, covering so the fruits can soak up all the alcohol overnight.
The next day line your cake tin (18cm) with two layers of greaseproof paper; make sure they are high enough to wrap the cake up in after it is baked. Preheat the oven to 150°C /130°C for fan ovens.
Cream the butter and sugar along with the satsuma until light and fluffy, I use an electric whisk for this bit. Add the eggs in gradually, making sure they don’t curdle, also add in the treacle, nuts and vanilla essence at this point.
Sift the dry ingredients; lift them high to get lots of air. Add the soaked fruit to the creamed butter mixture, when fully mixed fold the flour in carefully and spoon into the tin. Bake in the oven for 1hr 30min – 2hrs 15mins or until a skewer comes out fairly clean.
As soon as the cake is out of the oven and still hot use a skewer to prick lots of holes in it, spoon over the brandy and immediately wrap it, tin and all, in the paper. Wrap this parcel in two layers of tin foil to keep it hot so it steams it, making it moist. I found also wrapping it in a tea towel then into an airtight tin relieved my worries of a dry cake but that’s just me!
Leave for at least 2 weeks (mine was actually 1 and was still very moist) then decorate as you wish. I chose marzipan then traditional icing, using a diluted cherry jam as a kind of glue between layers.
I always use the best ingredients I can afford, opting for high end dried fruit and brandy, my feeling is the overall result will be better, which I find it always is.
To see my other experiments in cooking see here… Recipes