In case you missed my demo at our Christmas Preview evening then here’s a little recipe blog to help you make your Christmas Cake.
I have used this recipe for about 5 or 6 years and generally make my cake during the last weekend of October (so there’s plenty of time for feeding) However it’s not too late to start now, you’ll just need to feed it a little more often.
It’s not a quick job so make sure you have plenty of time and start the night before. The good news is that you can grab all the ingredients in Village Greens (full list below)
The first part is quite easy, just cut the cherries into quarters and snip the apricots into pieces using scissors into a large bowl. Add all the dried fruits and 3 tbsps of brandy. Stir and cover with a clean tea towel. Soak overnight.
The next day pre-heat the oven to 140°/120° fan or Gas 1 and line a 20cm round tin with baking paper. Most recipe suggest that you grease the tin but I have a non-stick one and it tends to work fine without greasing.
Measure the flour, spices, butter, sugar, eggs, almonds, treacle and lemon and orange rind into a large bowl. Beat well. I used to do this by hand (you need a very big bowl for these quantities and a lot of muscle power!) but now I use my mixer and it’s much easier.
Once beaten, fold in the soaked fruits. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and spread out evenly. Cover the top loosely with a double layer of baking paper (this stops the top of the cake from burning)
Bake in a pre-heated oven for 4 ½ hours (note in my oven I generally only need 3 ½ hours – it’s a bit of trial and error) The cake is done when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Leave the cake to cool and then remove from the tin (leave the baking paper on the cake) Pierce the cake all over with a skewer (ready for feeding) Wrap in a double layer of baking paper and store in an airtight tin in a cool dry place.
Feed the cake twice a week with a tbsp of brandy (just pour it on the top and it will soak in) or more often if you are closer to Christmas when you make it.
You can decorate with marzipan and fondant icing or a selection of dried fruits.
Classic Rich Christmas Cake by Mary Berry
100g glace cherries
100g dried apricots
50g mixed peel
225g plain flour
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp mixed spice
225g softened butter
225g dark muscovado sugar
4 large eggs
50g chopped almonds
1 scant tbsp black treacle
Grated rind of 1 lemon
Grated rind of 1 orange
More brandy for feeding
Want to make a different size?