Ohh my! It is December… where has 2015 gone? I mean am I the only one who thinks this year has gone so fast? I love Christmas it is probably the best holiday ever. Sitting down with the family munching on juicy turkey crispy potatoes, buttery parsnips and chatting with all the family! All the food around Christmas is AMAZING. Mince pies, chocolate, cake… I could go on!
Traditionally Christmas cake is made on the last Sunday of November and then fed with alcohol. But… last Sunday I didn’t have time. I mean I am a busy person; so I threw tradition in the bin and made my great grandmothers Christmas cake recipe. I mean talk about old recipes… this recipe has been passed down threw so many generations and now I am sharing it with you. I mean, it’s good to share (that’s what Christmas is about!).
After you bake the cake you may want to feed it- up until you ice it with marzipan, fondant or royal icing. To do this prick the cake with a skewer. Then evenly pour over 1-2 tbsp brandy or sherry! If you don’t want to use alcohol use orange juice instead! Feed every week to ten days. Wrap in two layers of foil and store in an airtight container.
In this recipe, I didn’t use any fruit peel because I really don’t like it. I think it tastes gross! Instead I substituted it with raisins- but if you like if feel free to add it (use four ounces and take away four ounces of raisins- you should be left with about 1/2 a pound of raisins ( 8 ounces). Yes. I am using ounces because the recipe is old and I wanted to stick with old measurements! When you mix up your fruit… feel free to add the zest of an orange, lemon or any citrus fruit you like because that would enhance the flavour of the cake. Also, with the glace cherries that you use make sure to rinse them and once cut COAT IN FLOUR otherwise they will stick together!
The size of the cake… You can do a christmas cake any size you want- I made three 7 inch cakes. Make sure you have a DEEP cake pan because this recipe is very big. USE YOUR LARGEST BOWL!! I mean there is sooo much batter. If you want one big cake I would suggest you use either a deep 8 inch cake pan (for a thicker cake) or a 9 inch cake pan. Baking time may vary- to judge if a cake is baked enough; insert a skewer into the center and if batter is on it then pop it back in for 5-10 minutes intervals. It should feel springy when pressed lightly! For the three 7 inch cakes they took about 1hr and 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Skill Level: Beginner
Preparation: 10-20 minutes – excluding baking time
- 1lb/ 16 ounces Sultanas
- 1lb/ 16 ounces Currants
- 12 ounces Raisins
- 4 ounces Glace Cherries
- 2 ounce Ground Almonds
- 12 ounces Self Raising Flour
- 12 ounces Caster Sugar
- 10 ounces Softened Unsalted Butter
- 6 Large Eggs
- 1 tsp Mixed Spice, 1/2 tsp Cinnamon and 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 100-150ml Sweet Sherry
- Preheat your oven to 150°
- Wash the cherries using a sieve and then dry them in a clean tea towel. Once dried half or quarter them (depending on how big you want the cherries to be)- sprinkle them in flour to stop them sticking to each other.
- Into a large bowl add all the fruit (including the cherries), the spices and the ground almonds. Mix to combine- set aside.
- To make the cake batter into the LARGEST bowl you own add the softened butter. Beat with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until lighter in colour – takes about 5 minutes.
- Then add the sugar and cream until light and fluffy.
- Add one egg at a time with a spoonful of flour. Whisk until combined. Keep adding the eggs like this- the flour stops it from curdling.
- If you have any flour left over- you may not have (this is totally okay!). Add it and fold it into the mixture- making sure not to knock all the air out!
- Fold in the fruit gradually. Then add the lemon and the sherry.
- Grease (with extra butter) your chosen cake tin and line the bottom with greaseproof paper- NOTE: if you are using a deep 8 inch line with extra greaseproof paper (so the paper is a few inches over the top).
- Pour in the cake batter. Smooth with a spoon; make sure the center is slightly dipped for a flatter looking cake.
- Bang the tin on the table a few time to get rid of the air bubbles.
- Bake in the oven for 1hr and 30 minutes- DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR. The reduce the temperature to 140° and bake for another 3 hours and 30 mins. Check the cake after the 4th hour of baking- this is for an 8-9 inch cake.
- Leave to cool in it’s tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack until completely cold.
- Wrap in two layers of foil and store in an airtight container. Feed every week (see paragraph 3)