Christmas cake recipe

Here is the recipe I use for Christmas cake. It was originally given to me by my not-yet-mother-in-law-to-be (I took as a good sign that she shared it with me, as her son is very protective of family recipes!). I have had to make some alterations due to the availability of certain things over here, and the cooking time was, for some reason, significantly less in my oven. It is an English recipe, so it uses Imperial weights and measurements rather than cups.

Disclaimer: This works for me, but I make no promises! Please let me know if it looks like I have missed anything.

10 oz self raising flour (made using the ratio of 1 cup plain flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt)

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 tsp mixed spice (allspice)

6 oz butter

6 oz brown sugar

3 large eggs

1 tbsp warmed golden syrup (ie Tate & Lyle)

2 tbsp milk

1 tbsp brandy (and then some!)

1 3/4 lb mixed dried fruit *

grated rind of an orange

* any combination you prefer: my husband doesn’t like peel, so I make the mix up using cranberries (Craisins), dried cherries, apricots, prunes, raisins, sultanas, currants, dates etc.

I use my Kitchen Aid mixer and an 8″ square cake pan. I also soak the fruit in a little bit of brandy a day or two before baking the cake. I have also soaked the fruit in warm water for an hour, drained it and then added the brandy. This makes for very moist, juicy fruit.

Cut up the butter and beat it in the mixer to soften it. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light in colour and fluffy in texture.

Sieve the flour, salt and spices together.

Add the eggs one at a time with a little of the dry mix. Stir, then beat thoroughly. Stir in the milk, syrup and a little more flour. Beat again. Add fruit, flavouring etc and the rest of the sieved flour mixture. Stir in thoroughly, but do not beat.

Put the mixture into a parchment paper lined cake pan and smooth level with a palette or table knife.

Bake for the first hour in a moderate oven, then reduce the heat to low for the remainder of the baking time. Cover the cake with parchment paper when the top is sufficiently brown.

1st hour at 180 C / 350 F

2nd hour at 140 C / 290 F

Test with a cake tester or a skewer. It is ready when the tester comes out cleanly. The original recipe called for 3 hours total cooking time, but mine always seem to be done much quicker than that.

Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack before wrapping in parchment paper and storing in an airtight box. I poke holes in the cake with the tester so that when I later add the brandy, it seeps into the cake rather than just wetting the top. I add about a tablespoon every few days, to a total of perhaps 6 tablespoons. Add more or less as you wish.

When it is time to decorate the cake, I usually cut it into 4 pieces, so that I have 4 small cakes to share. I know not everyone is fond of Christmas cake and this way very little gets wasted. When we lived in England, rollable fondant icing was readily available, as was marzipan, so decorating was a breeze. Warm a little sieved apricot jam and glaze the top and sides of the cake. Roll out the marzipan or almond paste and drape it over the cake, smoothing it over the surface and down the sides. Roll out the fondant, if you can get it, and repeat the process. I used to cover it with plastic wrap and smooth it with my hands to get a nice, even surface. Before we had children I also used to colour and cut out shapes to decorate the top of the cake, but no more!

I do not like hard icing, but if you do, by all means make up a batch of royal icing and use that on top of the marzipan.

Happy baking!

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~ by Pip 'n' Milly Creations on November 21, 2008.

2 Responses to “Christmas cake recipe”

  1. This looks like a great recipe. How nice of your not-yet-mother-in-law-to-be 😉

    We have to eat gluten-free in our house, so I was thinking of trying this with a GF flour mix instead. I will more than likely turn out like a pound cake, but I’m sure the flavors will be delicious.

  2. I have never baked with GF flour, so don’t know how it will turn out, but wish you luck. I have never had a problem with the fruit settling, but you may want to try dusting the fruit with flour before adding it to the mix. Somehow this helps to keep it suspended in the batter.
    I would love to hear how it turns out.
    Just in case you were wondering, she is my mother in law now and is just as lovely now as she was before we married! I am a very lucky woman!

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