I made this Christmas cake last year for the first time and it worked so well I made it again for my dad’s birthday in February. The recipe is adapted slightly from one on the BBC Good Food site. It makes a really nice rich fruit cake which isn’t overly dense. It’s best to make it 3 weeks before Christmas so you can ‘feed’ it a few times before you eat it. However it can be made just a few days before but it won’t be as boozy!
So what do you need?
- 800g dried fruit (sultanas and raisins)
- 3 tbsp. thick cut marmalade
- 3tbsp. whiskey
- 200ml strong hot tea
- 200g brown sugar
- 225 g soft unsalted butter
- 4 eggs
- 250g (sifted) plain flour
- 3tsp spice (2 cinnamon, 1 cloves 1/2 nutmeg a few black peppercorns)
- a pinch of sea salt
- 100g flaked almonds
- 30g naked / crystalized ginger
So what do you do?
Put the items in the first section of ingredients in a bowl and leave to soak overnight.
The following morning pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees C / 310 F. Then cream together the sugar and the butter until fluffy and then add the eggs one at a time and beat them in. Next add the flour and spices (I grind my spices fresh for extra flavor) and salt and mix together next add the soaked fruit, almonds and chopped ginger (naked ginger is an uncrystalised form which isn’t quite as sugary). Grease and line a 20 cm round cake tin (or divide in two as I did into two square tins 15cm & 11 cm which gives me a smaller cake to give away as a gift). Put in the oven and bake for an hour then turn the temperature down to 150 degrees c / 300 F, cover the cake(s) withy foil if they are browning too fast, and bake for another 90 mins. for smaller cakes and 2 hours for a single cake, until a cake skewer comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the tin and then, while still warm, prick the top of the cake all over with a skewer and then feed it with a mixture of tea and whiskey. Don’t feed it too much each time just 2 or 3 tbsp. You can then feed the cake another couple of times at weekly intervals. In between keep it wrapped in the baking parchment in an airtight container in a cool dry place. A few days after the last feed you can ice it if you like either with regular icing or royal icing which sets hard, depending on your preference.